Posts Tagged ‘beach’


January 18, 2014
Babess & Fainjin are impressed by the "sea storm"

Babess & Fainjin are impressed by the “sea storm”

The sea is rough, and full of shredded kelp. The sand is covered in kelp too. Where the seawall is storm-damaged from earlier this year, debris has washed across the road – just a little, not dangerous. The sea is roaring rhythmically, crashing on rocks & sucking at the sand. The wind is chill, but the sun is fierce too, I can feel it burn. I don’t think we can stay here as long as I’d like.

But it’s rather like finding yourself unexpectedly in the middle of a poem.

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

Snippets and quotes

October 28, 2013

We’re just home from visiting the grandparents in Australia. It was a lovely family occasion, with all of The Dad’s side of the family gathering at once, lots of cousins to run around with and plenty of happy meals together.

A few things the kids said and did during the week stuck with me…

Fainjin, to Babess, as they ran towards the water at the beach to paddle and play race-the-waves: “Remember, don’t drown!”

Babess, looking at the in-flight magazine with its glossy, expensive jewellery ads: “[Bulgari necklace] That’s pretty… [diamond watch] that’s very cool… [more glamorous necklaces & rings] those are lovely… [magnificent and huge Tiffany solitaire diamond ring] [in very hushed tones] That’s awesome!”

Pearl, headphones still on, eyes glued to the back-of-the-seat screen, on our third plane of the day, as everyone around her was standing up to leave: “Are we getting off this plane, Mum?”

Babess, stepping thoughtlessly off the side of the swimming pool and plunging in right over her head – right in front of The Dad, which was why he was in with the kids in the first place… she was shocked and unimpressed, but no worse the wear.

Building a sand edifice and decorating it with shells… “It’s not a sand castle, Mum, it’s a sand kingdom!”  Babess gathered the shells, proclaiming it “the perfect beach!”  Fainjin dug a dungeon then went to get water to fill it – I thought he was going to pour the water into the sand, but he told me “That would be ridICKAlous!” and he dug a hole for the water container (half a plastic milk bottle which we’d improvised into a bucket for beach purposes) and semi-buried it.  “Now the water will stay there, see?”

© UpsideBackwards 2013.


January 26, 2013

It was a glorious day today – one of a long string, we are promised.  I feel for our friends in the US, shivering in snow, and family in Queensland, drenched in heavy rains and flooding.

We decided to take the kids for a scoot/walk along a popular beachfront.  There were lots of things going on: beach sports, market stalls, buskers, people swimming out to pontoons and diving off jetties.  Everyone was revelling in a “real summer” day.  We walked the length of the beach and back again, meandering through stalls, pausing for performances, and stopping for ice-creams – of course! – before heading back to the car.

We had been lucky, on such a busy day, to get a park quite easily.  There was a two-hour time limit.  We made it back right on the two-hour mark.  The car in front of us when we parked was still there… and so was a parking warden, giving it a ticket!

We bundled kids, scooters and helmets into the car without unseemly haste – we weren’t going to get a ticket, although if we’d been much longer obviously we would have been at risk – and as we drove off Babess asked about the parking warden and the ticket.

She thought the other car was lucky to get a ticket.  That puzzled us for a while, until The Dad understood her misunderstanding, and said, “It’s not a ticket for a show or anything!”

“Oh!” she said.  “What is it a ticket for, then?”

“It’s a naughty ticket,” I said.

“What’s a naughty ticket?  Why do you get a naughty ticket if you park for more than two minutes?”

“It’s two hours,” I corrected.  “You have to leave the car park within two hours, to give other people a turn.”

“But why?”

I reminded her that at daycare sometimes the teachers use a timer to make sure everyone gets a fair turn at a popular toy.  I said the parking limit is like that, because everyone wants to go to the beach but we can’t all fit so we have to take turns.  If you’re still there when your turn ends, the parking wardens are there to give you a “naughty ticket”.

She seemed satisfied.  I hope she doesn’t start handing out “naughty tickets” at daycare if she feels like she’s not getting a fair go!

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Best holiday ever

January 16, 2013

What could be better than wading into the sea to catch a glimpse of a dead whale?

That’s what Fainjin did today.  We had heard there was a sperm whale washed up on a beach not outrageously far away, and The Dad had the day off (because I was working), so he took Fainjin and Pearl out to see it.

It was a 15m-long mature whale which had apparently died of natural causes, and there were large crowds on the beach to see it.  The tide was coming in, so The Dad and Fainjin went up to knee-deep to get a better view.  Pearl was not in the least bit interested in walking through “dead whale water” for the privilege, so she stayed dry.

You can see a news story & video about the whale here:

Then they went to the planetarium and saw a film about aliens.  Then to their favourite cafe for pikelets and a milkshake.

It doesn’t get much better than that!

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Drop snakes and other remarkable sights

April 17, 2012

Most of my readers are Australian, and will know all about drop bears and hoop snakes.  For the other two of you (grin!), drop bears are unusually large, vicious, carnivorous marsupials (similar to oversized koalas, but of course koalas are not bears).  They drop on unsuspecting prey and devour them.  No-one has ever seen one and lived to tell the tale.

Hoop snakes, I believe, are also found in the US and Canada.  They can put their tails in their mouths and roll like a hoop, chasing their prey at great speed.  Fearsome creatures, especially to New Zealanders who, not having any snakes at all in our homeland, tend to be rather nervous of serpents.

Now, on with today’s tale:

We were at an estuarine lake, enjoying the cool sea breeze and shady trees.  I saw a fish jump right out of the water, at least 45cm or so.  I pointed and exclaimed, and we all went down to the water’s edge to see if it would happen again.  As we discussed the event, we heard a splash and glimpsed some movement just a few metres to our right.  But it wasn’t a fish.  It was a snake!  It had jumped (can snakes jump? this one did) from an overhanging tree branch, and was now swimming remarkably rapidly across the lake, its head sticking up out of the water so it could see where it was going.

Now I am worried about the infernal offspring of drop bears and hoop snakes: the drop snake!  (Hoop bears might also be a worry).

Some other cool things we saw today:

– more fish jumping right out of the water

– a kookaburra sitting, not in an old gum tree, but on a handrail

Kookaburra sits on the old... hand-rail

– an eagle’s nest on top of a light pole

Quite the place for an eyrie

– three children playing together happily at the beach

Three happy children at a beach

The beach was a long one, and Fainjin was a bit worried we wouldn’t find our way back again, so he marked a trail.  With spirals.  As you do.

Bless his wee heart

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

It’s not like we never go to the beach…

April 9, 2012

We went to a different beach today, just for a change.  Beautiful soft, golden sand, lovely and warm.

Babess and I walked along the grass next to the sand.  “Can I play in the sandpit?” she asked.

“Yes of course, sweetie – but it’s not a sandpit, it’s a beach!”

She looked at me in confusion.  “I mean in there, between here and the water…”

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


October 18, 2011

We are in Sydney (Australia) at the moment, visiting family and having a great time.

Today we took a ferry over to Watson’s Bay, where we went for a walk along the cliff-tops of The Gap to look at the surprisingly small entrance to Sydney Harbour, enjoyed the playground (away from the cliff-top!), then had lunch at a delightful cafe in the local library.

While climbing up to the cliff-top, Fainjin noticed the sandstone boulders adjacent to the path, and enthused, “Hey Dad! I can do some rock-climbing!”

He chose a boulder of about his own height, and attempted to scale it, but found it was a bit too smooth at first attempt.  He stood back, regarded it carefully, then tutted.  “Dat’s the wrong rock.”

Luckily, The Dad was more than happy to lend a hand, and the pair of them scaled the “wrong” rock and then the one above it, only to re-join us a few minutes later flushed with their success.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


A Spring Sunday

October 9, 2011

We all had a much-needed sleep-in this morning, no-one stirring much before about 7:45am.  The Dad got up to feed Fainjin and Babess (Pearl is having a couple of nights with her cousin at their grandparents’ place), and brought me a cup of tea in bed.

Fainjin was well-rested and full of beans.  He finished his breakfast in short order and went to play outside in the sunshine.  It was a gorgeous day today.

A little while later, he appeared next to me, red hair desperately in need of a cut and sticking up through the holes in his bike helmet.  “Mummy, can we scooter ’round the bay?”  He paused uncertainly, looked at me sitting up in bed.  “Um, after you finish your sleep?”

I had to laugh.  Then I felt obliged to get up, of course.  We didn’t scooter around the bay as he wanted to, but we did walk around a different bay and “look for sharks” as well as picking up a scrumptious lunch at the local market.  Hooray for spring!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

After the storm

August 21, 2011

This weekend we have had calm, sunny days, and the temperature has crept back into double digits – a marked contrast to earlier in the week with the snow and gales!

It would have been a great shame to waste such glorious winter weather, so this afternoon we took the kids and their scooters (and Babess on a parent-pushable trike) for a good long walk.  We were out for about 4 hours, exploring rock pools, clambering over things, rocketing along the straight bits, and sitting staring out to sea while eating chocolate.  We walked all the way around to the next village, where we got icecreams (and sat staring out to sea eating those) and played at the playground for a while.

Eventually we caught busses home, where the kids proceeding to hoon around the yard on their bikes and scooters, whooping and hollering.   Funny, I had thought they might be tired…

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


February 20, 2011

We went down to the Summer Festival’s closing ceremony and prizegiving this afternoon.  Certificates were given out for a few categories in the Teddy Bear’s picnic (most loved, scariest, biggest, smallest, etc); first, second, and third places in the sand-castle building competition, and then a large pile of certificates for participants in the “Art Prize Exhibition”.

But when they’d finished giving out the 25 or 30 art certificates, Pearl didn’t have one.  She sat very still, and blinked back tears.  I waited until one of the volunteers was free, and asked whether we had missed hearing Pearl’s name.  Surely, with so many certificates given out, all the children had got one?

The volunteer didn’t know, and directed me to the art show coordinator. “No,” he said, “not all the children get a certificate, I just picked some of them.   I hope she’s not too disappointed.”

“She is shattered,” I told him.

Poor kid.  She was desperately trying to be a good sport and put a brave face on, but tears were running down her face.  Of sixteen exhibitors from her school, fourteen got a certificate.  I don’t know the numbers from the other schools, but it was a small exhibition, and there were a lot of certificates.  It wasn’t even mentioned that there were other artists who didn’t get a certificate.

I could understand it better, and I think she could too, if there had been a smaller number of “prizes” -first, second, third, perhaps a few “highly distinguished” – and she had missed out then.  But to be one of only a few who didn’t get recognition, that really hurts.

The Dad and I have promised her that there will be an Art Prize, we will get her one because we’re so proud of her.  We’re also proud of how she handled her disappointment.  She was upset, but she didn’t let it ruin her afternoon.  She had a hug with me, then went off to play by herself for a little while before coming back to us and cheerfully playing with Fainjin and Babess.

Now we have to think of a prize – any suggestions?

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

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