Oh to be three again, marching down to the beach with a sense of purpose, and nothing in my mind bar the triple threat of sun, sand and sea.
On Monday the four of us, (me, Em, C & baby G), headed in the car to Putsborough Beach, an extension of Woolacombe Beach, which is less surfers, and more beach cricket and sandcastles.
We barrelled along the narrow, winding North Devon lanes for about twenty five minutes, from Mortehoe down to Putsborough, with elusive flashes of sea appearing above the hedges as we rounded the corners.
The access to the beach, with its grassy meadow parking is privately owned, so prepare for the hefty £7 daily parking fee. But it’s worth it for this glorious, quintessentially English beach.
The weather forecast was frightful: rain all day, so to be rewarded instead with clear blue skies and 30C heat felt like a summer holiday miracle. We had been caught totally on the hop: it was overcast when we left the house, seeking fresh air and diversion, and having paid a little too much attention to the weather forecast, we hadn’t packed any beach kit at all: not even a bucket and spade for C, or bathing costumes for E and me. (We did have sunblock: I never leave the house without it, and I had packed my iPad, just in case I got a chance to read)
Still we are English: we are Stoic, and we can improvise. Handily I was wearing plain black underwear, so I just wrapped my fine cotton printed scarf around me in an imitation pareo, and Emma wore her T over her knickers. Job done, and no offended onlookers. All in the fine tradition of the English seaside.
There’s a little café and shop built into the side of the cliff, selling beach essentials, so we were able to buy C a new bucket and spade, and a rubber ring just because.
We lunched wisely and well on Devon crab sandwiches, chips and that local speciality, nachos.
Handily Emma had a pop up tent in the boot of the car, so we had somewhere to shelter from the sun.
Then we spent a blissful unexpected afternoon camped out on the sands.
C and I had a lot of fun playing through the rippling waves, and then puddle jumping back to our camp through the pools of water left by the receding tide.
And then home again for hot baths, and early bed. And a glorious sunset over the houses.