As usual, Midi and Mini Minxes disturbed my sleep a few times last night, so I struggled to get up this morning. Not even a cup of coffee waggled under my nose in bed from The Boss worked. I finally got up after 9.30 (shocker!) and spent about an hour stumbling around, trying to wake up and be able to coherently string a sentence together.
It looked like it was going to be a wasted day: The Boss finally got around to hoovering out the car and spent best part of 2 hours on it. Either the car was filthy or he was dodging looking after the girls. Probably both. Especially as he’d heroically let all 3 paint that morning with watercolour and poster paints. After moping around a bit like Eeyore, he made noises about going outside. I think I was with the kids on this one: it was grey, cold, drizzly, I was tired, I just wanted to curl up and hibernate with my knitting, pausing only to shove another bit of chocolate in my mouth. So I don’t know why I ended up siding with him, but I did.
It took nearly an hour from, “Right, let’s go! Let’s definitely go! Everyone go do a pee and get your shoes on!” to us actually opening the front door. Midi was adamant that she wasn’t going. But I know that my little whirlwind is too much like me: keen to mope around doing nothing, but a wee sniff of fresh air soon changes everything.
We drove over to Hopeman with 3 sulking daughters in the back seat. I’m not sure why I decided to go there, to walk from the beach huts up towards the quarry; probably because we’d not got past Daisy Rock in a few years of walking the minxes along the coastal path. So: off we bimbled, looking for Signs of Spring. At her own request, Midi was In Charge of looking for bumble-bees (ever the optimist…), Maxi was In Charge of finding birds carrying twigs or worms in their beaks, and Mini was In Charge of not falling into anything too wet or sticky.
I was right about Midi: before we’d even hit the first little hill summit at the end of Hopeman East Beach, she’d had a burst of energy and had started smiling again. Maxi was giggling and chatting and happily skipping about. Mini merrily raced to each sister, trying to tickle them. I think me and The Boss even managed to crack a smile apiece.
As we curved around the headland, where you get your first glimpse of Clashach Cove, I remembered a sunny early summer’s day 4 years earlier, with a baby Midi on my back and a toddler Maxi scurrying around, declaring to The Boss that actually I honestly, really wanted to finally settle down. And settle down somewhere near here, in fact. (So we did!) My favourite part of the whole Moray Firth coastline is from that point, all the way around to the caves on the east of Clashach Cove. I love the way that each turn of the path shows you something fresh and new: jagged orange rocks, blocks of black rocks that look like a cobbled street, waves and curves in bright yellow sandstone that look like fossilised wet sand,
the lighthouse, tiny wild strawberries, a hollowed-out overhanging boulder, the smell of ozone from the crashing green and white waves, and the way that one minute all you can hear is the hum of bees and the next you’re assaulted by the rumble of angry thunder as the big rounded rocks tumble over each other back into the surf.
We shepherded the minxes down the path onto the beach itself. I’m not sure of what it’s called: I’ve seen it referred to as Primrose Bay as well as Clashach Cove, but it’s about here: 57° 42′ 46.97″ N 3° 24′ 43.11″ W. We call it The Secret Beach because you’ve no idea that it’s there until you’re standing above it. I proudly let the way over to the caves. Now, I know it was around 2 years ago since we were last here, but you’d think I’d remember which cave led the way onto the mussel-beds, and which led to a dead-end (hint: the one you can see daylight through leads to the coast…) No wonder the people in the cave were so keen to show Maxi and Mini their torches (we’d blundered in without torches because I was so sure that there was an exit at the end…) Doh! Parent Fail! I’m glad Midi had stayed at the entrance, refusing to come in – it would have blown her fear gaskets. (Though I’ve tucked her strange declarations of “I’m frightened of the dark! I’m frightened of heights!” into my head for now – she’s my fearless little daredevil, so I’m wondering where this has come from. I’ll maybe ask her in more detail in the week, because it’s not like her).
We went through the (correct. Ahem!) arch to see that the mussel beds were entirely covered by the tide. Maxi had a lucky escape: an unusually high wave came crashing up the stones, hung briefly in the air almost over her head, and before I could shout, “Run!”, she nipped back in the cave, with a whip of her ponytail. She missed being drenched by around 12 inches.
After sitting around under the nesting seagulls to eat chocolate for a bit, and bask in a sudden 10 minutes of sun, we set off back to the car. As the light slowly started to dim, I idly wondered if the dolphins would be around. The Boss spotted them first: a lazy pod arcing gently out the water. Maybe it’s the Glaswegian in me that will always be in awe of ‘exotic’ creatures, but seeing the dolphins lifted my spirits to ‘euphoria’ levels. I think it may have affected The Boss the same way: when I suggested that we slope past the Hopeman Chinese Takeaway on the way home, he didn’t need his arm twisted… 😀
Hopefully tonight now I can settle down to finishing writing a knitting course instead of spending my evening creating negative pressure on a blocked toilet by filling and emptying a sink. Yep, we all had lots of fun (!) last night trying to flush toilets synchronously with emptying sinks to try and wash a blockage from the bathroom to the downstairs toilet, to the manhole, to past the pipe altogether. After gurgling and a lot of ominous bubbling, we (ok, I!) managed it. Hmph. After having to spend a snifter under £100 to get the drain from the washing machine and utility sink cleared last week, I could really do without this… I don’t know what’s going on – I’m the kind of person who is very particular about what gets flushed, puts soda crystals down every plughole once a month, and the drain that got blocked only gets the outflow from the washing machine and a sink that has a cover to collect ‘bits’. Hopefully I don’t have to start rationing the girls’ toilet roll usage now?!