The Youngest of the Darling Daughters and I are building a sandcastle on lovely Littlehampton beach.
I have somehow
manoeuvred / plonked myself onto the sand (it was not a pretty sight but I don’t think anyone was watching) all the better for serious sandcastle building. I do think that in order to build the finest of sandcastles, it is necessary to get down
as close to ground (or sand) level as possible. I have, however, positioned myself as near as possible to the groynes because I reckon that when I have to pull myself into a standing position, given my arthritic wrists, dodgy hips and Problem Shoulder,
I will need all the help I can get.
We are feeling somewhat challenged, my daughter and I, on account of the sheer number of photographs of quite fantastic
sandcastles built by the Trio of Rampaging Rascals (or, more likely, their proud papa) winging our way from Sunny Spain. The photographs, not the sandcastles, don’t be silly. We need to prove that we are perfectly capable of executing a passably respectable
We set to with a bucket, two spades, and two moulds (one star-shaped, one jelly-shaped) and are doing pretty well when it occurs to us that
we may look a little strange, two grown women (one grown more than the other to be strictly honest) building a sandcastle with nary a child in sight. We decide, as one, that it might be a good idea to invent a couple of imaginary children....
“Don’t go too far out!” my daughter calls, gazing out to sea at where our Imaginary Children are jumping the waves.
“No further than the end of the pier!” I cackle, hysterically. The pier, to give you the whole picture, is a good 100 yards out.
“You’ll soon be swimming without arm bands!” contributes my daughter. By this time we are in fits of helpless laughter, inviting many more puzzled looks from other beach lovers than our sandcastle building ever attracted.
It is our “Big Kids Afternoon” when the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and I visit the seaside and enjoy all the traditional activities we would have undertaken
had we had children (real, rather than imaginary) in tow. We finish our sandcastle which looks rather splendid though I say so myself as shouldn’t, then watch the incoming tide demolish it. We buy - and scoff - hot doughnuts and coffee, strictly for
refreshment after our sandy labours you understand, then stroll along the riverbank to the Look and Sea Centre, remembering all the seaside days when grandkids Jack and Hazel were littlu’uns, scooting along as their mother and I ambled along companionably.
Much as now with our Imaginary Children keeping determinedly ahead of us on their (imaginary) scooters.
On our return it is time for a ride along the Prom, Prom,
Prom on the Boat Train. We sit at the very back and warn our imaginary children sitting in the next carriage that they are to stay seated at all times, as per the notices on the side of the train and to wave at every passer-by, even - indeed, especially -
at those who don’t wave back. “We are wavers!” we tell them. They don’t answer us - but then perhaps they are still sore about having to be rescued from the waves by the RNLI lifeguards who patrol the beach.
We finish off with a round of Crazy Golf where we seem to spend an inordinate amount of time queuing behind large families trying to negotiate the perils of the Pirates’ Cove.
We are Patience Personified, knowing, as we do, that our imaginary children are not that expert with a putter and a ball and will hold everyone up big time.
a splendid afternoon we had! If you, too, would like to return to your childhood, just for the afternoon, then I can thoroughly recommend a Big Kids Day. Ours was at the seaside, but yours could be wherever you feel the greatest pull to past pleasures. I was
lucky, indeed, to have a Darling Daughter prepared to indulge me - hopefully you will be just as fortunate.
An Imaginary Child or two helps as well...