Jaqui's Daily Blog

The Tale of Family Beach Day 2016

The Duracell Bunny, aka Young Morgan, informs me that he won't be able to go to bed without Terry.

I am sympathetic; what is Terry? I ask. Is he, perhaps, a teddybear or maybe a toy puppy dog? Morgan gives me a look of patient forbearance, as befits a Nanna With No Idea. Terry, he informs me, is a pterodactyl. But of course, surely I should have guessed that, knowing as I do, the way Morgan and his older brothers choose the most obvious names for their toys.

Terry the Pterodactyl is something of a surprise, being a soft toy with flappy wings, so ideally huggable at bedtime. He was discovered, the Darling Daughter in Law tells me, on a stall at the School Fair. BNWT - which, if you follow e-bay transactions, you will know stands for Brand New With Tags. Nobody else has ever loved him, hugged him, tucked him under the bedclothes. Until rescued by the smallest of my (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys, he was an Orphan. Without even a name. Terry or whatever.

We decide not to take Terry to the beach with us on Family Beach Day as Young Faris, who is Mad on Dinosaurs, might well take a fancy to him. Instead Morgan is in charge of Saurus, the roaring dinosaur which Faris left behind in a restaurant where he had to be retrieved from an umbrella stand by my friend Pat. I want my two littlest grandsons to form a firm friendship which will last them through all their lives - I am hoping that the return of Saurus will mark a shift in their relationship which at the moment can best be described as "wary."

It's a record Family Beach Day with around thirty of us assembling on Littlehampton Beach armed with chairs, rugs, picnic baskets, cool boxes, flasks of coffee, beach towels and a small tent (for shelter and / or storage purposes.) You could say we are Extremely Well Equipped.

Mr B and I have to park a little further out where I unload the mobility scooter from the back of our car and fasten the Jolly Roger flag to the back. Scooting along the prom (prom, prom) to meet up with the rest of the Family Gang, we spot grandson Sam coming to meet us - an act of kindness which earns him the first of many rides on his granddad's scooter.

The Jolly Roger flag attracts plenty of attention. One small boy, not of our party, approaches Mr B with an expression of awe on his face. "Are you REALLY a pirate?" he wants to know. Mr B is not about to disappoint him. All he needs, I ponder, is a parrot on his shoulder and some pieces of eight in his pocket. As it is, he has easily attained Cool Grandad Status among the small fry.

Family Beach Day is a tradition going back over ever so many years. This year every one of my four children and ten grandchildren are All Present And Correct. How very special is that? Everyone agrees that this year is one of the most relaxed ever - though the Middle of the Darling Daughters, mother of Faris and The Twinkles, may well agree with the sentiment while disagreeing with the actuality...

My sister has bought one of those sandcastle moulds which comes with a castle and a turreted wall. She nearly bought four - but that's another story. The resultant castle is splendid indeed and can be seen from far off, at least until the tide comes in. Morgan and I concentrate on drawing letters in the sand - he is off to school in September so being able to spell his name will be a good start. He probably won't need to be able to spell Nanna - not immediately, anyway - but I write my name alongside his anyway. We jump from letter to letter. At least, Morgan jumps while I follow somewhat more sedately.

We gather the children together for a Team Photo. Considering how many of them there are, our gathering efforts are pretty successful. Nearby four very elderly people are sitting on the wall eating ice-creams - they look as if they have stepped out of an advertising poster boasting the attractions of the seaside for young and old alike. With their permission, we take a photo of them too. One day, several Family Beach Days from now, we will look through our 2016 photos and wonder who on earth they are.

My Boy has the brilliant idea of phoning up the local chippie to order our fish and chips, rather than have to stand in a long queue for ages as in past years. Somehow I find myself charged with the task of coordinating everybody's food requests. I don't have any paper on me so I have to use the back of the envelope containing Katie's birthday banner which her Mum has just returned to me. My older grandchildren look on askance at my failure to employ the new technology which is literally at my fingertips (or thumb tips - why does noone ever talk about thumb tips?) had I only thought about it and which would have made my talk so much easier. The Middle of the Darling Daughters finds herself in charge of placing the order - and attempting to negotiate a good price, given our Great Number - over the phone. I think I had the easier job, all things considered.

We leave the beach at the end of the day with lots of hugs, kisses and promises to share photographs of our Happy Day. That's when we remember that we failed to capture a photo of all of us together on the beach. It's too late, we wail, because some of us have already headed home.

There's only one thing for it - we will all have to come back for another Family Beach Day next year...


That's a date, then.

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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