Family Travel

“Hey!” says the sea, “come and PLAY!”

27 August, 2015

It’s pouring down with rain… Guess where we are… Last week’s blog post is a clue… YES you betcha baby, we are on the south coast of England camping in the rain again!!  If it wasn’t so ridonkulous we’d cry! 

We are here with the whole fandamiliy for my mama’s birthday, it’s been planned for many a month, otherwise we’d have all sacked it off once they started issuing weather warnings y’know? But here we are! Making the most of it! 

As we walked through the town today, I was composing a blog post in my head called “Things to do on a rainy summer holiday in Britain” featuring things like “Go to the pet shop and stare at the gerbils” and then we turned the corner to the sea and everything changed. 

It was like the whole earth went TADDDAAAA! PRESENTING: Vast Magnificent Sea and Thunderous Make-Your-Problems-Seem-Tiny Clouds.

And there were kids swimming! HA! It is not just rainy, my friends, but freezing, three-jumper-freezing, and there, so determinedly on summer hols, were loads and loads of kids swimming. 

The waves leapt in, towards the concrete promenade, rambunctious and teasing. All the grown ups stood under bright brollies, miserable about the weather, but all the children had answered the call and had stripped off and followed the foaming water in, larking about together. 

 Our five started with their be-wellied feet, then shook those off. Then got their leggings soaked so legs were unwrapped, and then dresses wet, so they were untangled from them too. (Strip poker without the booze and cards.) Then that was it, they crashed right on in and jumped and splashed and swam. 

There was a fizzy energy on the shore, a catching happiness, an almost-giggle that spread from person to person like it did in a stern school assembly when somebody did a fart.  

 It was a giddiness, frankly. I think it was bought on by just watching so many children be utterly delighted in the sea. (It could also have been because for a few seconds we could spy where the sun was in the sky… a faint glow over to the west, behind a few less layers of cloud. The rain became just a faint mist for a few magical moments there.)  

 But I think it was the children taking up the invitation from the sea. The waves had drawn them into a complete ability to be In. This. Moment. Only this one, now, right here. And by watching it, we caught a bit of it, that presence, that being here with every bit of ourselves. It was joy combusted all over the beach like a busted open glow stick that has shaken its neon around. 

Nature is powerful like that. 

And I reckon children are still sensitive to this call of the wild. They can hear it and attend to it, without the inner voice grown-ups have, we’ll be warmer and comfier if we just stay sitting down in our cagoules, checking out other people’s holidays on Facebook. 

Yeah, we will. But we won’t be happier. 

Our kids seasided today like Bosses. There were quite inevitable tears when there wasn’t enough dry clothing to get on to their red, clammy bodies, but they’d had this huge happy connection with earth, each other, themselves- it was so worth it and they  would do it all over again tomorrow, no regrets. 

*checks weather forecast* Ah, yep, we will be doing it all over again tomorrow.

So that’s good! *smiles brightly*   

   PS I have just finished my book! All about this ancient, broken connection with nature, and the invitation extended to us to restore it, and to come alive through it. They are short chapters for busy parents who want to help their family begin a life long love affair with the wild. It’s out on Monday, hooray! Keep your eyes peeled: Thirty Days of Rewilding (or #30DaysOfRewilding because something doesn’t exist unless it has a hashtag right?) 

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  • Cathy 27 August, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Aww, love this. We went for a day out in a forest yesterday with friends and our children were similarly drenched but exhilarated, tearing around, riding bikes, could not have cared less. Not a moan or a whinge among them (wish I could say the same for the adults!) xx

  • Laurenne Hopkins 27 August, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Sounds fab, look forward to the book! L x

  • Carie 28 August, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    yay for the rainy seaside! It’s a totally different place to the seaside in the sunshine and just as much fun, and as my parents used to say while throwing us out of the door to go swimming in the rain, it doesn’t matter which direction the water’s coming from if you’re already wet!

  • cass 28 August, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    We like the beach better in bad weather than we do when it’s Sunny – so much more fun and much less crowded!

  • Boo Roo and Tigger Too 29 August, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    I love how children have the ability to find excitement and fun in whatever they do, rain doesn’t stop play

  • Amy Harris 29 August, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    yaaas! cold water swimming is soo good for us! As well as releasing endorphins it reduces blood pressure, improves quality of blood and immune system, fertility AND stimulates libido 😉 I am loving swimming outdoors a lot more here in Copenhagen in the sea and the harbour and canals. Anyways, I’m reading a book atm called ‘Waterlog’ by Roger Deakin and I think you’d really enjoy it. He was an environmentalist/writer and it’s about his swimming journey through Britain. Maybe you’ve already read it actually…

  • Charis 1 September, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    My other half has “fond” memories of going in the sea during arctic conditions (slight exaggeration) he said his father cheerfully encouraged it each year!