Grandpa Webb's blog

Thursday, 02 May 2013

We would have stayed longer if we hadn’t run out of trousers

Find out more about Grandpa WebbWe are at the beach.

So far it has been a pretty good day. Despite being confined to their child-seats in the back of the car, the grandsons have been in good humour on the journey.

A great start then. It’s early spring, the temperature is around nine degrees, there’s a chilly easterly breeze blowing across the beach, but the sun is shining and we are not downhearted.

It’s much too cold for swimming in the sea, so instead we have brought a football, a spare pair of trousers and socks per grandson and we have brought our wellies too.

Does a paper cup hold water? Yes it does!The two year-old loves football. Downwind on a gently sloping sandy beach even he can hoof the ball to the water’s edge, and follow it into the water kicking and splashing and having great fun.

There are a few added complications when the ball is kicked back up the beach, in the form of large dogs that are also out to have fun. “Bruce! NO Bruce! Leave it!” Luckily, thanks to the vigilance of the dog walkers, the ball escapes unscathed from the attentions of Bruce, Roger, Rover and others.

Meanwhile his six year-old brother has been on a wild animal hunt and has actually found one. On a streaming wet part of the sand he picked up a small conical shell and noticed something inside – a tiny hermit crab.

Now you can’t walk round with a hermit crab, no matter how small, without providing it with its own environment. What he needed – and didn’t have – was an open-topped container to hold a little sea water, a handful of sand, and – if some can be found – a strand or two of seaweed. A bucket would have done nicely but we forgot to bring one.

Look carefully: there’s a hermit crab in there - honestly Grandma, ever practical, visited the environmental waste bin next to the café, which happened to contain a few discarded paper coffee cups. There followed a lively discussion with the six year-old who had doubts about whether a cup made out of just paper is capable of holding water. He is eventually convinced when we scoop up some sea water and it stays in the cup. In goes a grateful hermit crab.

While we are scouring the beach for the right sort of sand, a pebble of the appropriate size, shape, weight and colour and a suitable strand of seaweed, his brother has turned what was a football game into something resembling water-polo. His boots are full of water and he appears to have waded into the freezing water almost up to his waist. Cue a towel, the spare pair of trousers, socks and a dry pair of trainers.

The young one gives up football (or to be more accurate the ball is put out of sight in our beach bag to save it from being ripped to shreds by a pack of hounds). He is now playing very nicely with two small girls who are collecting water from a little pond that has appeared in the sand.

In helping his two new playmates, the young one accidentally falls into the little pond. A second pair of trousers socks, shoes etc is needed. Alas, the only trousers we have are his brother’s which are miles too big, but warmer than the wet ones. We’ve run out of spare shoes, but have found a pair of dry socks. Time to go home.

By now his brother has found a second hermit crab, which is much admired by the little girls before we begin a longish search for a suitable place to release them. We’ve been on the sand for three hours – a fair time in the conditions.

With another couple of pairs of trousers, it could have been longer…

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