Sunday, 23 September 2012
The Beach Boys
Some experiences are just never meant to be repeated. When I was pregnant with the twins, about five or six months along and just before we returned to South Africa to pack up all of our worldly possessions to move halfway around the world, we went to a beach nearby on a lovely October day. The sun was shining, and it was (relatively) hot, but the thing that struck us the most was that the beach was covered in plants, and that those plants were blossoming with flowers with the most potent aroma I have ever been privileged to smell. It was as though the very essence of life itself, all of the most beautiful moments and heart-rending instants had been distilled into a perfume, and these plants were exuding it there, on a beach in the middle of nowhere, with no other people to witness it. Now I am not saying that the fact of my pregnancy and the joy I was feeling at carrying the boys had nothing to do with the way I perceived that beach and those flowers, but I do know that the Sweetpea was just as impressed and awestruck.
Every year since then, we have returned to Flower Beach (as we dubbed it then), faithfully, at the same time of the year, like pilgrims making their way to a shrine. And not once have we seen those flowers again. Today was no exception. After telling our lot that we were off to see Flower Beach, we took them to a beach which had, unfortunately, not only no flowers, but a large amount of sheep droppings instead (Flower Beach is part of a farm, although the farmer is kind enough to let the public have access to the sea).
One of the main attractions of the beach is that it is so isolated, yet today when we were there, a surprising amount of people were on the beach (at least eight other people). Isolation means no facilities, if you get my drift. With kids, almost every opportunity to be in the open is an opportunity to wee on a different bush or patch of ground of some sort, so of course it was not long before all of our three needed to go. On a beach that had as it's major feature heaps of sheep droppings and no cover for about 500m in all directions. Once again, I cursed the lack of forethought that had made me leave the potty at home (even I have been known to use this precious item in dire circumstances). I elected to stay with all the goods on the beach - I didn't want to walk all that way over the sand to see little boys trying to write their names in the dry bits - and Sweetpea got to drag all three superstitiously over to the closest available cover. It was performed with the utmost discretion, with the Sweetpea pretending to point out the interesting fauna and flora to the little ones and moving them in the direction of what we fondly called "the wee hole".
Little Miss Snoopy unfortunately missed the need for secrecy. "I go wee, I go wee, I go wee," she sang in a piercing voice the whole way back over the sand dunes.
We missed the flowers again, but I think the antics of the kids more than made up for the lack.