Sunny Sands

Today was the second of 2 School In-Service days and the troops were getting restless…  Although my stitches are only sore to the touch and otherwise I’m pretty much back to normal, I’m still a bit leery of carrying Mini Minx on my back in the sling, or hoiking about rucksacks with changes of clothes or picnic food. So ok, long walks were out, but there’s no way we were being confined to barracks!

Well, except that we hung around a bit for a phonecall that never came and I washed the downstairs windows and hung out 3 mountains of clean washing in defiance of the circling seagulls (I had 2 secret weapons: Killer and Foster Cats. Who had a fight last week and really hate each other, except when ganging up on seagulls, when suddenly they look like a loving partnership). I thought I’d hear whether the mole I had cut out was a melanoma or not within a week. Today was Day 8. I did phone the number I’d been given if I ever needed to talk to someone, and the dermatology staff nurse I spoke to was wonderfully understanding, but really didn’t know how long it would take to hear, just that it was normally 6 weeks for standard biopsies. I guess I must have misheard the surgeon, then, and it’ll be sometime next week. Damn: I’d hoped to have the weekend off from my surreptitious fretting. And on that topic, The Boss changed the waterproof dressing for me earlier in the week. The scar is a lovely neat 2″ line on a very jaunty angle, with 4 stitches and 4 steristrips. It’ll be a very interesting scar, so I think I’ll like it a lot.

Back to the mutinous monsters… They wanted to sit around watching DVDs and CITV. I wanted them out, out, out in the fresh air, getting physically tired enough to sleep properly. But with me lacking stamina and enough moral fibre to cart around everything we’d need, we compromised and went to the beach.

Big WIDE open space!

Big WIDE open space!

For the hour we were there at low tide, it was gloriously sunny and virtually empty. I let the minxes wear whatever the hell they wanted, so long as their wee scalps were covered with hats, and Little Miss Fiery RedHead especially had her face and neck in the shade. Well, the sight of them gallumping around in wellies, fluffy ballet tutus and paper-flower-bedecked bonnets stopped 2 ladies in their tracks, who exclaimed how pretty they all looked. I guess ‘pretty’ translates as ‘downright weird’, sometimes. The minxes shyly stumbled along forlornly for a bit, till I started skipping about on a pretend horse. Oh aye: full reins, whinnying, clopping noises, horse-dung-dropping, the lot. That’s all it took for them to join in. Mini insisted on being a Princess in need of rescuing from the top of a 3″ rock, and roughly pushed Midi away, even though Midi was doing fantastic impressions of dragons and dragon-slaying. Maxi found a stick and half-heartedly waggled it about as a sword for a few minutes, then, token-effort made, happily set about her normal beach business of drawing things in the sand.

Inspired, me and the youngest 2 started shuffling names in the sand, with letters 10 feet tall. I did all 3 of their names and a huge love-heart. Midi shuffled a seriously neat ‘Mumma’ and a circle for a hug. It was exactly what we’d done in the snow on the way to school in March. But bigger. And even more fun. We were like a mother duck with 2 ducklings following along, as we shuffled and jumped between letters.

I’d picked up some bits and bobs for half-lunch in the Post Office on our way down and hidden them in Midi and Mini’s little rucksacks. Maxi decided when we could stop and eat them. Only then did they discover what I’d bought. So after troughing 3 little cocktail sausage rolls each and half a bag of sherbet lemons (a nutritious, wholesome lunch that any stay-at-home mother could be proud of (!)), we started the serious beach work of splashing through puddles and turning over rocks. Until my welly sprung a leak. I guess I’d hidden one piece of broken glass deep in the sand too many. I don’t mind having soggy feet, but can’t bear one wet and one dry, so we slowly ambled off towards home.

That was probably the best part of the day, just bimbling along, hand in hand with various minxes, blethering about nonsense, no rush to be anywhere, no-one else around, nothing to be super-alert about, enjoying them racing over in turn for a hand-squeeze then zooming off freely for a wee explore before coming back to show me more of their found treasures.

We were almost back at the car when 2 young black labradors came excitedly bounding down the ramp towards the kids. It wasn’t a lollop; it was a proper I’m-Making-A-Beeline-Right-For-You. Mini hid behind me and clung on, and Midi screamed as they both came up to her, jumped and then dashed off. I called over to Midi just before they reached her that it was ok, they were just being a bit too boisterous, she’d be just fine, to keep on walking, not to worry. The owner gave it the usual “Oh, ha-ha, they’re really friendly, they’re great with kids, honestly, they’ll do no harm, they’re around kids all the time”. What kind of special kind of stupid do you have to be to see that making a child scream in terror isn’t being harmless? I mean, call me old-fashioned and reactionary, but either those dogs were out of control and she couldn’t stop them as they ran to Midi OR she thought that them doing that was entirely ok. I had a Bad Mother 10 minutes: I blanked the stupid woman, who was swinging her enormous bag of dog-shit about like a trophy, comforted Midi, distracted her with a sweetie and got her back to the car. What I *should* have done was ask the woman which was true: she couldn’t control her dogs or she thought it was ok to let them frighten my daughter? Then ranted appropriately. But d’you, I was just too bloody *tired*. It’s such a shame, too, because the vast majority of dog-walkers on that beach are stellar – they either keep their dogs well away from playing kids, or put them briefly on a leash as they pass, or keep them obviously under a tight voice command (jeepers, some of them are so good that I’d love to ask them to teach me how to do that with my own daughters). I need to make sure that the girls don’t see the (lack of) actions of one fool as being indicative of how all dog-owners act. Sometimes I think they do, even though I try to downplay when it happens, and keep my thoughts to myself (or till The Boss comes home and the kids are in bed).

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