We hauled everyone off to flat beach yesterday - flat beach being easier to negotiate for the two hobbling ex-gym-bunnies amongst us. I'm one of the limping ones, but friend has gout of all hideous things, poor lamb, so we decided that any of our usual off-piste, major rock climbing, mud slithering, tick-infested walks were probably off-menu. So off we went in tandem to flat beach. Two minutes out of the cars, small person who-will-only-eat-crap fell full-length into cow pat with mud puddle involvement. Much wailing, understandably, ( adults as well) and back to the cars to mop, wipe, change, comfort, read riot act and then begin again.
Beach was indeed flat. Every time I find something flattish and big, I automatically assess it for running-on potential. Then the realization kicks in that for me, running is still a long way off. Usually this thought is followed by a desire for fags and alcohol, only one of which I will countenance. Amidst the popping of champagne corks and frothing into cups, smallest daughter's ball flew into the sea and, horror, off-shore winds instantly carried it way out of her reach. I was on my feet and hobbling pitifully to the water's edge before I worked out that I was too slow to be able to reach the ball. It bobbed off-shore, in deep, freezing water. Flat beach is tantalizingly easy to swim from due to slowly shelving sands, but it's always too cold to swim in, even in the height of summer. Couldn't do it, much as I love smallest daughter. Ball bobbed away. Daughter wept. Bloody, bloody hell.
Good and long-suffering partner hauled off on retrieval mission with small daughter in one hand and just-poured champagne in other. The ball now halfway to Ayr, but no matter. The rest of us watched, drank champagne, and the small finicky-eater guest ate major quantities of chocolate and grew steadily more sticky.
Half an hour later, two far-off dots on the distant shore materialized into daughter and her Dad, triumphant. Ball safe in arms of daughter. Drama over.