When I was a child I spent every school summer holiday at the beach house. I realise I am extremely lucky to have had that house in my life, my brother and I experienced an amount of freedom that most children these days could only dream about. From a young age (8/9) my parents left me and my older brother on our own as they went to work. We weren't entirely on our own, we had family and friends all around us and we would get ourselves up in the morning and have our cereal before heading down to my nan's beach house for a second breakfast! At lunchtime we would go to our other nan's for lunch and in between we would be out on the cliff playing with our friends and cousins. We were allowed on the beach, unlifeguarded in those days, and our only rule was, that we were only allowed in the sea if an adult was with us! We could spot an adult a mile off! It was usually my aunty or dad's cousin, and I can remember being in very rough seas jumping waves and being pulled under and out but constantly going back for more.
We were always taught to respect the sea, and I would never fight it, it always wins. But we had great times. Now I have my three I am slightly more cautious, but want them to have the same respect as well as being able to look after themselves. Beanie has had swimming lessons since he was 3, and is still going every week, is currently on stage 6 and has got his 1000m badge. He is no natural, more a sinker that a swimmer, but tries so hard and is making progress. Monkey started his first lesson on Saturday. He will probably achieve more, more quickly, and has a lot more confidence in the water than Beanie ever did. They both love the beach, both body board well, and love spending time at the beach house with their grandparents and their cousins. Beanie has spent most of the summer there. His wet suit tan lines, a tell tale sign!
This year we have done something different for the children, a first for them, but something we always used to do when we were children.
The end of summer bonfire and BBQ on the beach.