After a grey week spent to-ing and fro-ing from one event to another, I awoke on Sunday to glorious sunshine and the first day off in two weeks. With ‘Hardy’ like weather matching the joy of the weekend, a seaside February picnic beckoned. Little did we know how dramatic our trip would be as an RAF rescue helicopter gave a stunning show of mastery, dipping low over the shoreline and practicing air and sea rescue. After much excitement and a sandblasting from the eroding cliff, the airmen waved a final goodbye and looped out to sea, leaving my six year old occupied for the duration of our picnic, spotting which speck on the horizon was the helicopter!

With tingling fingers, wind slapped cheeks and a panting puppy, tired from barking at the waves, we stepped onto the smooth sandy beach, peppered with shells and stones. For us no trip to the seaside is complete without foraging for fossils and shells and so an argument ensued between my six and nine year old about one particular find. ‘I want the poo’. ‘No, it’s mine’, ‘Give me the horse poo!’ The subject of their battle was a heavy rounded object with smooth nodules, bearing a remarkable similarity to a fossilised hose poo! With careful negotiation, the nine year old secured this as a trophy in return for trading a large, complete whelk shell with pearlescent inside. The day was rounded off by a trip to a play area and brisk walk along the pier. I was intrigued to overhear a father playfully explaining to his children how they were going to walk along the beach to the cafe for a nice cup of tea. A suggestion met with disdain as his four (?) year old exclaimed ‘Oh, a boring walk then.’ I may be rose-tinting my childhood but can’t quite believe that the announcement of a trip to the seaside would have been greeted with anything other than excitement and joy. Reflecting upon our own trip, that nearly never was – neither child had been keen to leave the comfort of the house, they recounted their many favourite bits of the day and how they didn’t want to leave. If only I could bottle that feeling to avoid future battles!

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