As this is supposed to be the sunniest day of the week we've designated it 'beach day'. D had the foresight to pack beach towels (whereas I would never have believed they’d be necessary!), we grab sunglasses, hats and reading material and head forth for Hunstanton. This is the first time I've been to 'sunny Hunny' and it hasn't rained but that thought doesn't seem to jinx the day and a veritable stream of sun worshippers snake down the short sandy descent to the beach beneath the dunes and cliffs. It is certainly a popular spot, everywhere we look families are eagerly erecting all manner of constructions designed to enhance their beach experience. As I said previously we didn't really do English seaside 'en famille' whilst I was growing up but I do remember white sands on a Greek island, golden sands and possible shark spotting in Perth, Australia and brief bursts of baking on Pensacola sands but what I don't recall is this vast batterie of accoutrements accompanying us on these forays. I'm sure there was a bucket and spade occasionally and I know for sure we had a polystyrene board for 'pretend' surfing in Perth but definitely not all this paraphernalia. I will concede that the most popular item is pretty useful, a windbreak. From every unclaimed patch on the beach you can hear the tap, tap, tap of generally frustrated fathers trying to hammer the windbreaker supports in the stony sand with mallets, hammer and more desperately shoes. Though I am beginning to understand the necessity it would be better if there were quieter, once they’ve been erected you would think they’ll just their job protecting you from the wind whipping down the beach but whereas a canvas breaker would probably just do that sadly the majority are gaudily striped plastic that flap, flap, flap in the persistent breezes which makes it sound like they’re huddled beneath a giant crisp packet. And then next to these windbreaks little tents were mushrooming up everywhere, more tapping and banging in of tent pegs. I certainly don’t remember tents when I was last on a beach but I was assured that this was another device to both shelter and aid sun enjoyment.
Maybe to be fair as our rare seaside excursions were very far from home so such excessive accessorising wasn't entirely possible even if we'd been so inclined. I guess that pesky little wind on this beach does require a little curtailing and I guess the only good thing about this excessive territory bordering is that we are protected marginally from the wind's unbroken path even, I suppose, with all the noise it was worth it.
MC was valiant enough, or crazy enough, to brave the sea. Being much wiser about sea temperature in England even in August I opted to corral the abundant pebbles into more pleasing shapes instead. As rare as this uninterrupted sun-worshipping is we are now feeling the urge to abandon our plot and go foraging.
There's an awful moment whilst we hear a mother has lost her little 5-year old girl on this now very crowded beach. It's a heart-stopping time, the anguish on the mother's face as she yells herself hoarse crying desperately for her daughter drives all thought of food from our minds as we wonder what we can possibly do to help. The best we can do is hold our collective breath and join the many others is scanning the beach, dunes and beyond for the purple swim suited escapee. After what seems like and eternity a cry of joy is issued across the sands and an ecstatic and tearful mother appears clutching her daughter close to her possibly for ever more. We are all hugely relieved the drama is over and we can vanquish the dreadful fear of those stark front page headlines tomorrow and go back to thinking of crab sandwiches. At least all we have to do is shake off the sand from our towels and grab our bags, another reason I am glad we didn’t come fully loaded!