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Are We There
by Ian Curtress

Making sure buckets and spades ready to pack. Dad said, that’s the third time. Well it’s important, don’t want to waste time having to buy them.
It’s no good saying go to sleep, early start in the morning. We are thinking of all those lovely rock pools.
All those castles to build. Some good ideas this year. Will look great, if they stand up! It’s the knocking them down that we really like anyway.
Dad pretends he’s annoyed, all part of the fun.
Can see Mum now. Under the sunshade doing her crossword.
We notice how relaxed she is and it makes us feel good. Sis’ and I can be hard work sometimes. .
Our bedrooms could be tidier and we could put our clothes away properly. We do know. Will try harder.

But for now thinking of that breakwater where we collect mussels at low tide ready to tie on our lengths of string and go crabbing by the harbour wall.
So anxious to see the crab we pull up too quickly and he drops off. Great challenges who is first, who caught the biggest.
How am I expected to sleep!

Mum checking the house is all locked properly.
Dad’s already done it but “peace of mind” as she says.
Journey is strange really. We love the drive, we love the anticipation.
But we just want to smell the magic of the sea, to hear the waves and seagulls. The laughter of other children in their own magic world.

Why is it such fun to sleep in strange rooms and strange beds.
Why is breakfast now a favourite meal. Why does bacon not smell like that at home. Here we are. Settled on the beach ready in swimwear and our first dip.
Dads goes in first. We think that is how it has to be.
As if checking it’s ok for us to have our funny five minutes before really trying to swim. Look back. Mum is watching and smiling. We call it her seaside smile.
It’s as if someone else has taken all her chores and cares in order for her to be herself. Even if it is for just two weeks.
Wish we appreciated it more.
Take too much for granted and will understand more when we go home. Am I growing up?!
Today it’s rock pools. Dads favourite. We learn a lot rock pooling.
The excitement of not not knowing what we will find as we gently move a large stone. Shrimps dart about, small fish everywhere. Always crabs. Pick them up carefully have a good look then put them back. Found a small lobster one year
Why does time go much quicker rock-pooling. We feel the clock is cheating us. But leave with a smile. There’ll be tomorrow.
Mum and Dad have a very poor opinion of Amusement Arcades but understand we should at least see the attraction and understand the possible dangers of gambling.

We were allowed one hours visit each week.
Given two pounds each which we could spend on any machine. If by any chance we won any money it had to be kept. Not reinvested!
Sis’ is bright, she went in the Arcades with me but just watched, which meant she had four pounds to add to her pocket money when we were home
Dad says she’ll make a good accountant! I should have charged her for watching.
Mum said I’d make a good entrepreneur. We have great parents.
The sand castles we made were well thought out this year and in fact produced a young audience who sat watching. One little boy wanted to know when we were going to knock it down.
We let him have first kick. Made his holiday.

So we are home. Was very hard to leave our magic world but Dad said if we had that all the while we would take it for granted.
Dad is nearly always right. But not too sure on this occasion!

I feel sorry for my friend next door. Every year they go to Spain or similar.
Doesn’t understand what people are saying. Can’t go out most of the time because it’s dangerously hot.
When you do go on the vast beaches he says it’s like looking at rows of chickens roasting!
If there is any activity its young men with a beach ball obviously showing off.
They are taken on boat trips he said. But hot and noisy and to see more of the same. I feel uncomfortable telling him what we have been doing.

There is no substitute for a child for an English seaside holiday.
It is every child’s right to enjoy once a year the magic, the shared experience, the undistllled happiness and shear joy of such a unique family occasion.
Memories are made which stay with them for life. You will hear them when they are older, relating unforgettable moments to their children when planning their family seaside holidays.
We have a wonderful, varied coastline with conditions to suit all tastes, ready to provide a backdrop for out Childrens memories and possible talents.
Don’t make our weather an excuse. We experience very few bad days during the holiday months. Make the most of them.
I remember having paints and a paint book to paint the the sea on a day when it was too rough to go out.
The result was so many laughs never forgotten and also a talent discovered. Use your imagination and think positively.
It’s when difficulties arise one is forced to find answers, that’s how discoveries are made. Think as a child. Can be the most wonderful time and it passes all to quickly.
Give them their right.