Growing up on the coast we spent a lot of our summers at the beach. There were the quick trips down to the shingle strip nearest our house for an afternoon bathe, or the summer when we borrowed a Topper (small dinghy, fits on a roof rack) and sailed out from the beach along the bay with at least one passenger perched on the foredeck cuddled up to the mast trying not to lean back too far and turn us into a temporary submarine.
And then there were the trips to the beaches with a capital B. Not big beaches in the way that Bournemouth would be a big beach, mile after mile of sand and suncreamed people on every spare inch, but Beaches because they were somewhere to go for the whole day. Lannacombe, Gara Rock, Black Cove, Bantham, they all required a little planning (is it a day for surfboard? or buckets and spades? or both? Should we take the boules or the cricket?) and a lot of pack lunch.
We had our favourite spots to pitch camp on each depending on tide and height of sand and the routine was always fairly similar; mark out our ‘spot’, then peel off into bathers and go for a swim or a surf as soon as possible, followed by a little running around to warm up again and then lunch.
It was a pattern followed more or less but just about every family up and down the beach and as the remnants of packed lunches were gathered up again and the parents settled down to read the paper or a book or have a snooze with the strict instruction that no one was to go back in the sea for an hour while their lunches settled, we children started to drift together, and, in the way that only truly works when you’re under 10, within five minutes we’d all be new best friends, all working together to dam the stream, or make a really big ball castle that someone’s Daddy would be encouraged to join in with to do the all important tunnel through the middle.
We were inseparable, right up until the end of the day, when we’d all go our separate ways soon to forget names and faces, only the enjoyment lingering in our memories.
If it all sounds like we spent the summer straight out of an Enid Blyton book, well (a) perhaps, and (b) no ginger beer – but it was awesome!
And it’s those memories that came to mind when I picked up My Mummy Says because it’s the story of a trip to the seaside for two little ones and their Mummies.
There’s all the planning and packing and travelling that I remember, the excitement of arriving, and the feel of the sand under your toes, the friendships made, and the sleepy journey home, and while I knew Elma would love it (because it has pages, which is her primary, and frequently sole requirement in a book at the moment), it’s Kitty who’s claimed it as bedtime story this week.
It’s a great bedtime story, it ends at a bedtime, with sleepy little ones tucked up dreaming of sandy toes and buckets and spades, and the words, and pacing are all the gentle lullaby of the sea, combined with softly coloured illustrations, and perhaps just a little bit of that retro feel.
After all, if I can’t get the girls to the beach, the least I can do is have them longing for it!
If you missed out last week then do go and take a peek at Anne-Marie’s review of Blast Off, a tortoise and hare for the space race age perhaps! And Vickie shared the brilliant tale of a frog-collector turned dog fancier who decided that in fact, a duck was his perfect new best friend in Wanted: The perfect pet!
If you have a favourite, please do share it with us; each linky stays open for a week so there’s plenty of time to join in. And so, without further ado, it’s over to you!