A beautiful bank holiday weekend, my brother and his 2 children were down visiting, so a perfect excuse for a visit to one of our favourite places the beach, picnic in tow of course, an adventure without anything to eat is not a proper adventure!!! If you have read Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer by Jane Brocket or have as a child read any famous five adventure, THAT was our plan for the day. Homemade fat and fluffy sausage rolls,slightly overcooked sausages so they were caramelly and crispy on the outside, crispy, spicy and peppery fried chicken, chunky garlicky houmous, with cucumber, carrot and crunchy bread sticks for dipping,chocolate covered flap jacks, crisps, sticky jammy doughnuts and slices of juicy melon the type that drips down your chin as you eat it, all packed up with a flask of milky coffee and a bottle of juice and we were off on our adventure. Oh what an adventure we had, the beach we love is part of the south west coastline, a craggy beach full of places to explore, rock pools hosting crabs, shrimp little fish and anemones, the prehistoric rock formation means that a hunt for fossils is always successful, ammonites of varying sizes from the tiny to the enormous can be found as we climb, hop and jump following the coastline from just past the car park to some steel steps which bring you out on the top of the ragged cliffs that edge the beach. ( I have no idea how far the steps are it can take anywhere between an hour I guess and all day, depending on the adventures we have.) With green lush farmland and copses of trees on your right and the steep fall to the spectacular rocks, the Bristol Channel and on a clear day the Welsh coastline can be seen on your left, maybe wreckers enticed ships in on these rocks with their lamps so as to to steal the treasures in their holds, or smugglers hid their cache away from prying eyes. A leisurely stroll will bring you back to the car park, starving hungry ready to wolf down a hearty picnic lunch.
Today's adventure started with hunting for dinosaur footprints and fossils, finding huge dinosaur tails curving in the rocks for us to follow, a short detour towards the sea led the children to "quick sand" that sticky, sucky mud and of course someone had to get stuck right in the middle. Boy cousin who is 7 and wearing child 2's wellies which were too big had to be lifted out of the mud by child 1, of course leaving wellies behind having to be rescued by child 2. None of us adults were wearing wellies so we had to navigate a rescue path via the rocks leading to hilarity when we slipped on the green seaweed (always beware the green seaweed ) or stepped onto what initially looked like rock but turned out to be sucky mud. Girl cousin, took charge as lead expedionist leading us over the rocks back to the safety of the rock pools where we hunted for more fossils and crabs, none of which were big enough for tea. It was then we noticed that the dog had not been around tripping us up or flying past, splashing through the pools sending up a chorus of voices every time he splashed someone or nearly pushed them into a pool. We climbed to higher rocks and still couldn't see him, calling for him our voices no doubt picked up by the wind and carried off in the wrong direction, at first it was amusing but then we began to worry and the tenor of that must have shown in our song because of course he then danced across the rocks, his fur plastered to his body flying towards us. He screeched to a stop sitting beautifully as if to say "what's wrong, what do you want can I have a biscuit?" Wherever he had been it must have been exciting and dangerous because he had lost his collar! Eventually our exploits brought us to the steps and we made our way back to our lunch. There truly is nothing better than a picnic lunch in the English sun. Lunch was followed by a stop at a pool of water, created by streams of water pouring off the surrounding fields and hills, where the older children taught the younger ones to skim stones and throw rocks to see who could make the biggest splash. It was only the bribery of ice creams at the nearby tea room that dragged them away to change out of filthy wet clothes, climb into cars and start our journey home. Tonights dreams I am sure will be filled of smugglers, pirates, dinosaurs, picnics and ice cream. That to me is what child hood is all about!!