Beach Days at Calshot


Calshot beach hampshire

I like to go to the beach when it’s sunny. Who doesn’t, though? Even when the tide is in and the waves are crashing loudly against the shore, it’s peaceful. I can happily spend an entire day at the beach, and I think possibly my favourite thing about living on the coast is that it’s pretty easy to do just that. 

Calshot beach hampshire

This week, my sister-in-law and I took my children, and her puppy, to Calshot. It’s not necessarily the prettiest part of the local coastline – in fact, Lepe, just down the road, is prettier and sandier. Calshot is a spit, and it’s stony and narrow. It gets a lot of wind from the Solent. But it’s charming, with its multi-coloured beach huts, bright and cheerful in the sunshine, and I am very fond of it. 

We ate ham baguettes on a blanket I pilfered from a Virgin Atlantic flight I took years ago (it makes a great picnic blanket!). The kids jumped off the groynes and lobbed stones into the sea. The dog barked at people passing by, and then curled up in the sun. Kathryn and I caught Pokemon and chewed the fat for a couple of hours. 

Calshot beach hampshire

Calshot beach hampshire

Later on, we ambled up to the end of the spit. Watched a few ships sail down the inlet, caught a lot more Pokemon, and made headway on my son’s summer holiday homework. Extreme reading. 

Calshot beach hampshire

Calshot beach hampshire

Days like this are absolutely what the summer holidays are made for. 


hamble white dms

Today was a beach day. We went to Hamble, and I took my camera. I’m going to go back at twilight one day and take photographs of the refinery at Fawley, across the water, all lit up.

hamble white dms

I wore my beautiful new boots. 

hamble waves

hamble stone shell

Elliot enjoyed picking up enormous rocks and bits of concrete and lobbing them into the sea. 

hamble elliot

hamble shell 1

hamble shell 3

hamble stick

Someone put a stick in the sand and I liked it. 

hamble shell 2

A dinky shell. Perfect. 

hamble gun

There is a WW2 anti aircraft emplacement on the beach

hamble to fawley

The sky turned a dark grey and the sun shone through the clouds. Snap, snap. 


ukulele love

Here is something not a lot of people know about little me. 

I like to play the ukulele. And by like, I mean, I bloody love it. And by like, I mean, out of all the stringed instruments out there in all the world, I think I have found the one I like the best. This is a fairly new hobby, and I reckon my friends thought it would be a passing phase, as so many of my hobbies turn out to be. So I can’t really blame them for that.

I am flighty. I pick things up, and if I can’t do it easily I give up pretty quickly. Take, for instance, knitting. That was a pretty short-lived hobby. Hand me a crochet hook and I’ll crochet you up something pretty (in basic crochet stitches, natch, hard ones are too tricky) but hand me a pair of knitting needles, and I’ll maybe poke you with one of them. 

Or, here’s another example: a regular, six stringed guitar. I just couldn’t do it. God knows, I tried. I really tried, for a couple of weeks. I even managed to learn how to play that Metro Station song.  Badly. When I played it to my sister, whose guitar it is, she looked very confused. Maybe even baffled. 

“Megan” I said, “It’s Metro Station! It’s bloody Metro Station! Shake it! Can’t you hear it? Look, like this.” And I played it again. I’m playing fast and loose with the word ‘played’ here. 

In my head I looked like Courtney Love (complete with big hair and smudged eye makeup). My sister looked blank. I called it a day. As it turns out, even Metro Station can’t play Metro Station songs well, so I don’t feel so bad about that. It’s the extra two strings, they blew my mind. 

I did, once, try to play bass guitar. Just once. I went into a shop in Denmark Street in London and pretended I knew what I was doing because basses are cool aren’t they? They are such a “I don’t give a fuck” instrument with everything they have going on, and I was about fifteen. The staff straight up knew I was an impostor, my friend looked at her feet, and I haven’t picked one up since.

See? Flighty. It’s okay, I am aware of my faults.

So, I surprised myself when I picked up the ukulele. I only did it because there’s a ukulele in my novel, which I wrote in on a whim. There’s also a bass guitar (or two) and I wanted something pretty much opposite sounding to that. So I picked one up and had a go and haven’t really put it down since. It’s fun to play. It makes a nice sound. It’s not at all scary, and it really isn’t at all hard. I think I’m all right, in any case. I can play a few songs now without even having to look at tabs. Including Post Break Up Sex by the Vaccines. Oh yeah, and Shake It, by Metro Station, because I wasn’t going to be defeated by Miley Cyrus’ brother, no sir. Today I taught myself how to play a Maximo Park song, and now I feel badass.

Last night I went along to Southampton Ukulele Jam, which obviously means I am well serious about ukuleles, doesn’t it? It was great. Hilarious. A lot of fun, and we played some cool songs. Everyone was friendly, and I didn’t even get picked on for being new. I’ll go back, for sure. Plus there was beer. My friend Liv and I walked home in the rain, puffing away on fags and generally enjoying life. It was a good evening.

ukulele love

And look! They come in pretty colours! 



Namaste, bitches (Hot Yoga)

I’ve just done hot yoga and I’ve never known sweat like it.  Holy Mary.  

If sweat is fat, crying, well mine wasn’t just having a little weep, it was bawling big, ugly tears all over the place.

Literally.  I was in downward dog and the sweat was dripping off the end of my nose, on to the yoga mat my friend lent me.  Sorry Priya, it’s well manky now.  I’ll give it a wipe down before I give it back.  It was running down inside my ears.  My leggings were saturated.  You could wring out my vest. 


Ross did not say this to me when I got home and showed him my sweat. 

There was a point at the beginning, straight after the chanting I couldn’t keep a straight face through, and after all the omms, where I did wonder what the hell I was doing.  When I’d done so many sun salutations I couldn’t remember where I was and my muscles were screaming in abject agony.  Where I couldn’t get the breathing right and I could already see beads of the relentless sweat (oh god, the relentless sweat) appearing on the tops of my arms.  At that point I thought, sod this, the person in front of me just almost poked my eye out with her big toe.  But then the yogi came and stood on my thighs to ease me into a posture and it felt amazing.  

Lately, I’ve had quite a lot to drink in the evenings.  It’s getting into the red wine months, isn’t it?  The novelty of a nice shiraz hasn’t yet worn off.  I’ve been enjoying a bottle in the evenings, and it’s been pleasant.  We’ve been watching Breaking Bad on Netflix and kicking back with a glass of wine and it’s been great.  Last night I went to the pub with Dee and we had a couple of pints.  It was loud and everything was funny.  I was hyperbolising all over the place because thats what I do when I’ve had a bit to drink.  I told her all the funny shit my six year old says.  She’s intelligent, is my Ruby, and the things she says sound funny coming from the mouth of such a tiny child.  She tells intellectual jokes about NASA where many kids are content with a knock knock joke, and she educates her friends about the Hubble telescope and can’t get her head around the fact that a lot of her peers haven’t even heard of it, let alone know what it is.  Anyway, I digress wildly.  Lately I’ve been drinking probably more than the recommended 2-3 units a day, and I feel sluggish.  I went to hot yoga knowing I’d sweat it all out and on the way home I felt cleaner somehow.  Lighter, maybe.  Less gross, definitely.  

So that was my experience of hot yoga, and I thought I’d share it all with you.  Hot.  Mainly sweaty.  A bit amusing with all the chanting.  Give it a try.  Why not, eh? 

Inhale, arms up.  Exhale, hands to prayer.  Namaste, bitches. 

Siblings in May, Bursledon Windmill

bursledon windmill

Ross took our two to Bursledon Windmill this afternoon whilst I stayed at home to make dinner, ensure school uniforms were clean, and get some work done.  Oh the life of a freelancer. 

The windmill is going through some restoration work at the moment, and its sails had been removed.  Despite this, they returned having had a great time.  It looks like they had fun, doesn’t it?  

R and E Bursledon1 

bursledon windmill

bursledon windmill


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“Have you seen my OTHER Timepiece?”

Do you wear a watch?

Its one of those things I always mean to put on, but then never remember to.  Unlike my sunglasses, which are an accessory I pretty  much always have to hand.  About a year ago I found a watch my parents gave me for Christmas years ago, I love it.  It has a pink perspex strap, and the face is blank, and I love it.  Anyway, it had been in a drawer for god knows how many years and the battery had died, so I took it to be repaired, as I’d got it into my head that I simply MUST start wearing my watch again.  

I had no idea that a lot of places can only change watch batteries for brands they stock.  It didn’t occur to me that a watch battery might not be completely generic.  

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