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.
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.
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.
Days like this are absolutely what the summer holidays are made for.
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.
I wore my beautiful new boots.
Elliot enjoyed picking up enormous rocks and bits of concrete and lobbing them into the sea.
Someone put a stick in the sand and I liked it.
A dinky shell. Perfect.
There is a WW2 anti aircraft emplacement on the beach
The sky turned a dark grey and the sun shone through the clouds. Snap, snap.
If you’re not from round these parts (said in true Hampshire Hog accent), then you probably wouldn’t have heard of Whiteley. It’s a little place just off junction 9 of the M27, between Southampton and Portsmouth, that consists of a housing development, a leisure centre, a business park, and a brand new shopping centre.
I was invited to check it out a couple of days before it officially opened to the public. Go and look round a shopping centre, without hoards of other people, AND get lunch thrown in for good measure? Don’t mind if I do, thanks.
I’d never been to Whiteley before, but the first Good Thing I discovered is that the shopping centre is really easy to find. Even for someone like me, who gets somewhat panicky about directions.
Honestly! Getting lost in Farnborough whilst trying to pick up Roo’s birthday present put me right on edge. I had to stop in at Mummy Barrow’s house for a cuppa and a natter to get me back on track. But anyway, I digress.
So here’s a nice thing to do on a Sunday.
Today we celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday by being outdoorsy. We drove to St Catherine’s Hill in Winchester, climbed up to the top, and flew a kite.
Incidentally, we picked this kite up from Aldi a few weeks ago. Best random find ever! We bought two – this one and a stunt kite.
It was good and windy at the top of the hill. Both the kids had fun running around, and in Elliot’s case, jumping in cow pats. Charming boy. I think, however, Ross and I were more enamoured with our kite than the kids were.
There is a labyrinth at the top of the hill as well, which the kids enjoyed.
After we’d had enough of flying kites and gazing down at the M3, we walked down the hill, along part of the Itchen Navigation path, back to the car and to a pub in Twyford for lunch.
Lovely Sunday was lovely. Back to school for my girl tomorrow. Hello, 6:30am starts, how I have missed you*
*this may not be true.
Some of our friends were camping in the New Forest at the weekend, and invited us along for laughs and chatter around a fire on Saturday night. We decided this would be an amazing adventure for the children, so, after dinner, we bundled them into the car, made a quick pitstop for marshmallows and beer and headed off to the woods.
Even though it was well past their usual bedtimes when we arrived, it was still light and the children were both raring to go. The campfire was lit, and lots of attention was lavished upon them, giving Ross and I a chance to chat and relax a little.
Today we drove out to Winchester for a yomp with our friend Chix, and the kids, at Farley Mount. I had never been before and Ross kept harping on about a horse that fell into a chalk pit, so I didn’t really know what to expect. But it turns out Farley Mount is a GREAT place to take adventurous children.