“We should be there by 9.30 a.m.” the message from the Youngest of the Darling Daughters read. “Join us at the Sea Lane Café when you can!”
Bearing in mind that it was already 9 a.m. and I was still in my dressing gown this might have appeared a somewhat Tall Order. However, had we not agreed to try turning our usual timetable on its head? And was I not Always
Up For a Challenge?
The thing is that the two Darling Daughters, with the Trio of Rampaging Rascals in tow, generally arrive at ours around midday or just after,
with their leave for home planned for around six o’clock. At their end, because the Trio are always up with the lark, that meant waiting around all morning till it was time to clamber into the car, battling through the midday traffic, then arriving home
in time for a fairly chaotic bedtime routine leaving their poor mother shattered. At our end, I would spend the morning busily preparing (as in, dressing the Giant Penguin for his outing on the doorstep, you know the kind of thing), a lovely but full-on rampage
either at home, in the park or on the beach, followed by a rushed dinner - and, after departure, trying to bring down the blood pressure with a rather large glass of wine. Wonderful - but a trifle wearying.
So, the Trio’s mother suggested, why not adopt a different plan - arrive early and leave early? Every bit as much fun but a less stressful journey both ways for the visitors and a whole afternoon and evening for Mr B
and I to “recover”? That was why I was heading down to lovely Sea Lane Café this morning at a little after 9.30 a.m. (Yes, I was showered and dressed - even I can be quite compliant with the niceties of civilised life when I choose to be.)
Sea Lane Café was far less crowded at that time of the morning so we were able to commandeer a window booth overlooking the beach. Next time, we all agreed, as we
drank our coffee and shared a couple of rock buns (while Tala and Lilia studied the wine list with rapt attention), we will have breakfast there. Already, you can see, we were talking about the “next time.” As the tables around us started to fill
up, we decided to make an exit recognising that our fellow customers had undoubtedly come out for a quiet breakfast while the Trio were all Ready to Rampage.
Youngest of the Darling Daughters (who likes to walk) suggested we make our way along the seafront to the park on the beach where the Trio could play. So off they ran (the Trio, that is) along the pebbled beach stopping to “gentle” a couple of
passing dogs (one named Jack, the other named Dylan according to their owners, both of whom avowed that their pets loved children. Just as well, given the passionate attentions of the Trio...) The two Darling Daughters and I ambled behind, contentedly, chatting
and commenting on the fact that this was a surprisingly unstressful seaside visit. The sea was too far out to be a danger, the greensward was wide and green and ideal for running and rolling, the pebbled beach made fascinatingly scrunchy noises underfoot and
the beach huts were ideal for diving behind and dancing around.
Later in the day, we knew, the park on the beach would become much, much busier - but mid-morning
there was room on even the most popular swings and slides. In the neighbouring Waterside garden we persuaded the Trio to pose for photographs re-enacting pictures of their older cousins over the years. We possibly stayed a little too long as we were
caught in a short, sharp shower on the way back to the cars - but we sang “Rain, rain, we don’t care!” at the top of our voices and, surprisingly, it made all the difference. Possibly the thought of fish finger sandwiches and cake when we
arrived back at our house helped...
In a seafront shelter along our way, some Incurable Romantic had decorated the shelves above the seats with heart-shaped stones
from the beach. I wonder who that was? Whoever you are, I salute you...
Who were they thinking of as they wandered along the beach, searching for just the right
shaped stones? Me, I would have been thinking of my Tremendous Ten grandchildren - watching my Trio of Rampaging Rascals on the beach this morning; looking forward to my Nanna Visit next weekend to see my (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys; remembering last weekend’s
birthday celebrations with Katie and Eleanor. Not forgetting the Distant Ones: Hazel Bagel, sending Instagram photographs of her trip Down Under, and her brother Jack in his last year at University, toiling over his Finals - both far away but always
in my thoughts.
So many heart-shaped stones.
So much love...