Jaqui's Daily Blog

A Family Beach Day - and a Sandcastle - to Remember

I notice, as I clamber clumsily into my car to drive to church, that there is a generous layer of sand on the passenger seat. I should, of course, have fetched a dustpan and brush to sweep it up - but I really can’t. It’s such a sweet, sandy memory of yesterday’s Family Beach Day…


Similarly, upstairs on the landing, there is a large, elaborately constructed and colourful tower which the younger two of the (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys built on the last morning of their recent stay. They are both rather too big for mega blocks, to be honest, but they always build me a tower - it’s tradition.


Family Beach Day is one of the longest standing of our Tribal Traditions. It is twenty-one years since the first event. We didn’t have any idea, back then, when we gathered on Littlehampton beach - two Darling Daughters, two small grandchildren, Mr B and me - that we had started a tradition. We were simply having a lovely day at the seaside.


Over the following years, attendance at Family Beach Day swelled. Exponentially (see, I’ve managed it again!) Six more grandchildren were born, for starters; the remaining two members of Our Foursome joined us. Our lovely niece with her own Trio became a regular, sometime joined by her brothers. When my Little Sister retired from work, she came too with her fella. Occasionally we opted for a day at West Wittering, with its sea and sand stretching out forever - but mostly it was lovely Littlehampton, known in the past as “The Children’s Paradise” which drew us back. There was never a Three Line Whip imposed for Family Beach Day; it has always been a case of “come if you can.” Children and grown-ups alike, we continued to come…


There were eleven of us gathered on the beach yesterday. Two Darling Daughters, three granddaughters, two grandsons, one niece, and two great nephews (both of whom have turned into young men since I saw them last) had already set up camp by the time I arrived. I had had to wait for the Delightful Donna to arrive to keep Mr B company before I could drive to meet the family but the Youngest of the Darling Daughters had made my lunch for me (I can be very lazy sometimes) so I hadn’t kept anyone (apart from the ever-attendant sea-gulls) waiting for too long to start the beach picnic. 


The weather forecast hadn’t been too promising for the afternoon but amazingly it turned out to be a beautiful day. Many a beach day has been colder and wetter. A large and threatening black cloud arrived at one point but we managed to move it along through sheer positive thinking - assisted, possibly, by the sea breeze. Young Faris gloried in being “one of the boys”, adding my niece’s young men to his small group of heroes. With Hero Number One (his cousin Jack, one of the original Beach Day party 21 years ago and now all grown up) in charge, they headed to the amusement arcade, while the braver ones took to the sea and the rest of us chatted, took photographs and searched in rock pools.


The Twins, Tala and Lilia, left the sea-gulls to their own devices and joined me in making a sandcastle. It wasn’t the largest sandcastle we have ever made, or the most elegant - but it was extremely intricate in terms of external decoration. Its sandy walls were covered in star shapes, each one embellished with a tiny shell; sea-weed lent a watery look to the moat; the tower was a collection of large whelk shells, beautifully arranged with artistic pride by Lilia, (the younger of the Twins by one important minute.) In accordance with tradition, we adorned the sand in front of our creation with 2021 written in stones (mostly gathered by me as the Twins were fully occupied with the more creative elements of our task.)


Tala surveyed our finished work with great pride and a sparkle in her eyes. “I think,” she said, seriously, “that everyone who sees our castle will say it’s the best sandcastle in the world!” 


I had to leave first but later, when most of the party arrived back at our house to see Mr B and (for the small fry) a meal of fish fingers and chips, Tala told me, sorrowfully, that the incoming sea had finally overwhelmed the best sandcastle in the world. It’s the way of the seaside world, I explained, but it didn’t stop our castle being, for one short but precious hour, the best sandcastle in the world. 


In my memories of our lovely Family Beach Day 2021, it will always remain so.

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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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