Saturday 20 August 2011

Party in the sand

"Thank you Alex! This is the best birthday pawty ever!" So proclaimed Rowan loudly, clad in his towel and trunks, piece of battered fish in hand as he wandered into the middle of the throng sitting on Seacliffe beach happily tucking into their fish suppers. His eyes were twinkling and his dimples deep as he beamed at everyone. It was completely unprompted and showed once again that Rowan knows exactly what he is feeling and how confident he is in expressing himself in a group. He goes beyond his older brothers in that regard and I hope he keeps that faith in himself.

He was right too. As far as birthday parties went, Saturday at the secret beach was probably as good as the kids would want to have it. Sharon was working in Livingston so I arrived with the four lads after a morning of packing and preparing for the beach. The forecast was set fair and we set up on the beach next to the MacLeods, Pattersons, Fishers, Barrs and Valentines. A couple of other families arrived too and soon the kids were off to the waters' edge, hunting starfish and crabs and digging channels and organising and chasing and yelling. Rowan was the second youngest but threw himself into the fray with more abandon than he usually does at the beach and less wailing!

Angus took his time to get settled then he too started to make the most of the freedom; digging, finding shells and stones and throwing himself about the sand. After the barbecue, the children headed for the north end of the beach to dam a river and revolt at the sight of a dead seal. Angus stayed closer, going for a paddle, jumping over waves and running in and out of the sea with much joyous shrieking. He tired eventually and I took him back to the car for a change and a doze (me rather than him, as it turned out!) before we rejoined the fray. Rounders, kicking a ball about, playing catch then more paddling as the tide came in and flooded the "aquarium" built earlier in the day. Everyone was having a blast, forming splinter groups and running around doing whatever they wanted. I stuck to Angus as he flirted with the waves once more, falling on his face in the water after a comedy slip on a rock and then trying to wade out too far in pursuit of his brothers and finding it a tad chilly in the nappy!

As the sun dipped there was a mercy dash to North Berwick for fish and chips which were delivered back to the beach in reasonably quick time, given how busy NB usually is on a sunny day. Iain V said the look when he ordered 13 fish suppers was priceless - I'm glad I wasn't next in the queue! With the children looking pink and, finally, running out of energy, we packed up the gear and trudged back to the car as the sun slipped behind some cloud and a few spots of rain spattered the sand. All but Sean fell asleep on the late drive home which resulted in mayhem back at the house. Sharon had been for a brisk walk up Allermuir and was faced with Angus, Rowan and Finn girning the house down as they got showered, creamed up and sent off to bed.

Despite all that, it was a splendid day at the beach.

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