Sand in the Sandwiches – An evocative memory of a past summer by Kay Willcocks who took part in the Making Memoirs Memorable workshop.

Sand in the Sandwiches

There at last my cousins and I were eager to get to the beach, the cries of the gulls seemed to be encouraging us on, but we had to wait.  Laden car boots were opened and the windbreaks, bags of food etc were given out – heavier items for the grown-ups and items that were lighter and not so likely to break if accidentally dropped for us children. It was always special to get together for a family day out. We all helped, shared the food we brought, travelled with various relations in their cars and enjoyed being together.

There were quite a few of us trundling along the beach to find a ‘good place’ and then we set up camp. I wanted to change into my shorts and top. I had to find the bag they were in along with a large towel. My Mum held the towel securely around me as I struggled out of my dress and into my shorts and top without falling over or dislodging the towel, then she applied lots of suncream, and I was able to go and play with my cousins.

My girl cousin and I looked for shells and mermaid purses along the beach, when we moved the seaweed, we uncovered small insects (I still do not know what they were) and even then there was litter, pieces of plastic and other items that had no place being on any beach. The boys were into activities such as rock pooling and building sandcastles.

We were called back to have lunch, our hands were wiped with wet flannels that had been brought from home – we did not have wet wipes then. We settled down to have our meal (everyone knows the sea air makes you hungry). We watched the surfers trying not to fall off their boards, swimmers braving the cold sea and people having fun.

Although the tide was a long way out, we children decided to have a paddle. My Mum went with us, and the walk seemed endless but eventually we got there shouting as the waves covered our feet and legs. Making our way back up the beach we had to look out for our windbreaks amongst the many more that were there now. A treat was waiting for us when we got back as someone had been up to the shop and bought ice creams, we did not mind that they had started to melt they still tasted great. After playing a while longer and having another drink everything was packed up. After checking that all the litter had been put in a bag to be disposed of at home everything was carried back to the cars.

Our feet were checked that we had not stood on any pieces of tar or were covered in sand then it was back in the car and homeward bound. We played a game of counting milk churns that were stacked against the various farm gates which lasted for most of the journey home. My Mum and I were taken home and after tea it was time for a bath and then bed.

Sadly, most of those much loved relatives are no longer here with me, but I will always have the memory of a happy day spent with them.