I used to hate the beach. Not all of it and not all the time. I only hated 1. the sand 2. swimming in the sea and 3. when it's hot. I like walking along the beach in the early morning before it gets hot and no-one expects you to strip off or swim. I like the beach in the evening watching the sunset. At night cooking and singing around a bonfire. I like it from a nearby balcony whilst sipping a cool drink and watching the world go by. But that's not really doing the beach is it?
The Sand gets everywhere. You bring copious amounts home with you and it gets everywhere at home too. Even though you shower and wash your hair thoroughly, for days afterwards you find sand in places you didn't even know you had places.
Once about 30 years ago I got caught up in a wave. It came at me from behind just as I'd lifted my feet off the ground and I was turned over in somersault. For probably 5 seconds at the most I didn't know which way was up and which way was down. It was terrifying and then it was all over. I was left sitting in about two inches of water. I did not go back into the sea deeper than up to my knees for 30 years!
The heat and I are life long enemies and sitting on a sandy beach with minimum shade when you're too scared to go in the water and cool off makes the heat a clear winner in this context.
And DD has refused to go on the beach a number of times in the past because she too doesn't like the sand and is a bit nervous of the water.
However, this year everything changed. Back in June we were staying at a kibbutz only 20 minutes drive from the beach and were invited to go there with friends for a couple of hours. Well I would just as happily have stayed at home and read my book but 5yos need a bit of activity - they're peculiar like that. I wrote about it in this post but here's the beach bit:
"The sea was rough and no one was allowed in past their knees but knee height is perfect for 5yos. DD (and all the other children) sat just shy of the water and were catapulted up the beach as the waves came in. A row of lifeguards stood as a buffer in case any little ones got carried too far out (and also to stop the older kids from going in despite the warnings) but actually they were all beached each time and had to come running back to sit on the sand and wait for the next wave. Honestly, it was better than any ride at a theme park."
So when I knew we were going camping at the beach it wasn't the beach bit I was dreading. I'd already made a shift towards loving the beach. Only this time I went in the water proper. It was amazing. I can't believe I've been so scared of it for 30 years. This is what I wrote:
"We spent a fantastic afternoon on the beach it has to be said. The water was just rolling enough to ride the swells and thrill the children. The sand was perfect for building forts and castles with moats and canals."
Thus when my friend Yael suggested we drive to the beach (well she drives and I pay for the car park) on Friday afternoon when the children finish school at midday, and spend the afternoon there, it took me about half a second to say yes. An added bonus is that Yael is a serious photographer. If I told you she took 500 photos in three hours and then edited them down to 47 the next day, you'll understand what I mean about being serious. All the photos from the beach are by Yael Katz.
Another benefit of a trip to the beach is the follow up activity of washing and drying the shells you collected. ( My photos this time - can you tell the difference? :P )