There’s nothing quite like spontaneous trips away from home. The excitement, the anticipation, the lack of time to actually pack the things you need… I did quite well really; I remembered drinks, I packed wellies and waterproofs, sun cream and sandwiches. I even brought the camera.
We had an incredible day. The sort of day you can’t stop talking about. The sort of day you remember always as That Great Day Out. We visited the Oceanarium and we frittered our change away in the arcades, with children zigzagging through in search of their friends. We rode up and down on golden horses with flowing manes and girls’ names. We walked to the end of the pier and leant over the edge, spotting jellyfish and scaring ourselves with shark stories. The children went on the helter-skelter, the dodgems and the (little) big wheel, and we watched their waving figures silhouetted against the sun.
So I’d packed for every eventuality. Except one. It simply hadn’t occurred to me that on a rather blustery day, this
Would lead to this
and ultimately to this
and it simply hadn’t occurred to me to pack a towel. No matter, I thought, as I retrieved three dripping children from the icy water, one of these sea-front shops is bound to sell towels.
But of course they don’t. They sell buckets and spades and over-priced tat. They sell William and Kate mugs, red London buses and plastic glitter balls that sparkle when you shake them. They don’t sell towels.
Finally I found one which did. At least, they sold A towel. A souvenir St George’s day towel priced at a mind-blowing £11.99. I grabbed it and ran. Well, I paid for it first, choking slightly as I did so.
Back at the beach my husband was mortified as I unfurled my souvenir splendour. I think he was concerned I expected him to strip to the waist and march through Bournemouth with it draped around his shoulders. Don’t misunderstand me – we’re very proud to be English – it’s just that in recent years this marvellous flag has come to be associated with beer guts, bigotry and bulldog tattoos, none of which are traits of mine.
Children warm and dry (eventually – it turns out expensive souvenir towels are actually made from a material which actually repels water, rather than absorbing it) we piled into Harry Ramsden’s finest cafe for a fish supper before heading home. A perfect day.