What a brilliant day we had at St Anne’s. Not Blackpool? Oh no, dear reader, We’re far too posh for Blackpool. No kiss me quick hats and stag parties for us. Oh dear me, no.
We joined the more select crowd at St Anne’s on sea. You get a far better class of day tripper there.
What can I tell you? The sun shone, the sand got where it had absolutely no right to get, the ice cream melted and the clingons made sand castles. Just about a perfect bucket and spade day.
AS you can see it wasn’t packed full of people. Well, actually it was but 95% of them stayed up by the prom, all huddled together like lemmings, getting in each others space and losing their kids in the general melee. Those of us who prefer a bit more peace and quiet ( and the fact that we sneaked a dog onto the beach when there are signs everywhere saying ‘no dogs between April and October’ ) went further out towards the sea.
It would have been nice to have gone right up to it but it must have panicked at the sight of all the wobbly thighs and rolls of flesh hanging out of the tops of shorts and skimpy vests and beat a hasty retreat. Just like it always is in Southport, it was bloody miles away, shimmering invitingly like a mirage in the distance. Eager kids with buckets and spades occasionally ran past us to go and get some water for their sandcastle moats but came back 10 minutes later crestfallen, buckets still as dry as a desert.
Normally during the summer holidays I get to spend quite a lot of time with the clingons but for one reason or another it just hasn’t happened this year so today was my ‘end of the hols’ treat for the kids.
First stop: Ice cream and buckets and spades
Second stop: Beach
Sand castles were dug (sans moat) the dog was chased round by the kids, the kids were chased round by the dog and I was chased round by all of them. No chance of sitting and reading a book with this lot.
Soon it was time for lunch. The only down side of the day. The railway carriage cafe, which used to be a fave of mine and Boofuls has gone seriously downhill. After a 45 minute wait for our food to arrive it was awful. I didn’t think it could be possible to make a bad salad – but they did – it was inedible. They’d poured cheap, runny, vinegary mayonnaise all over lettuce, tomato and cucumber, thrown on a few greasy croutons and called it a caesar salad. Caesar salad my ar…….. whoops! Children present. Their food wasn’t really any better, except that the chicken nuggets were actually made out of chicken. That redeemed them a bit, I suppose.
After lunch we bought a few more beach essential toys and went back on the beach, the kids went on a donkey ride, bungee trampolined, went in big bubble thingy’s on the lake and then went for more food and generally had a great time.
Just one small note to self: Next time leave the dog at home. She was like a possessed thing. The unfamiliar sounds, smells, sights and general excitement made her lose the plot completely. She lunged at the donkeys, wanting to play with them. Chased a small boy with a football, wanting to play with him. Burst Dangerous D’s beach ball after about 30 seconds. It was like she had sodding ADHD. Bring on the doggy ritalin!
As for a years worth of obedience training well, that went right out the window. My arms were damn near pulled out of their sockets. It’s a poor do when you’re having to pay more attention to the dog than to the disabled child in your care. The pursed lips and shaking heads of other day trippers advertised their disapproval as I fought for control with a dog who’d lost the plot. More than once I could have cheerfully planted my foot right up her backside.
After the ‘chasing the small boy’ incident I put into play my limited dog training experience and when she finally came back to me I wordlessly clipped her lead on and walked her back to where we’d been sitting, totally ignoring her all the way. We both sat down, dog still on the lead, while I chatted with the clingons. After about a minute, the dog came right up to me, put her face really close to mine and looked me straight in the eye as if to say, ‘I’m really sorry.’ Heartmelting.
I took this photo because believe it or not there are three planes flying on formation in it. Yup. Honest. I can’t see them either, now. They were there, honest.
Clingon the elder, from now on to be known as Batty, not because she is batty (though she is a bit) but because she has incredibly good hearing and spends all night lying awake and most days wanting to be asleep. Anyway, Batty was a bit nervous about going in the balls. After we’d stood and watched for a while she decided she’d have a go. Good call, both kids came back with their faces flushed with excitement, dying to have another go. “Best thing EVER!!” Apparently.