I woke up at 6am this morning, when the alarm clock on my phone erupted – I had forgotten to disable it. After falling asleep for a while, and then staring at the ceiling for a while longer, I finally scraped myself out of bed and stumbled off in the direction of the shower. By the time I arrived in the kitchen to put the kettle on, it was still only 8am.
It turns out “slowing down” is actually quite difficult. I have become so used to falling out of bed in the early hours to catch early trains into the city that I find it difficult to do anything else. While wandering around my parents house, I’m constantly wondering what to do next – at home there is always *something* to do – something to wash, something to put away – something to pick up. Here there is nothing. It’s weird.
This morning we wandered into the nearest seaside town with my Dad, accompanied by our younger children – armed with money burning holes in their pockets. After 100 yards they had spent half their money on bead bracelets from a flea market, and another 100 yards on they came to a grinding halt in a toy shop. Twenty minutes later – after looking at the entire contents of the shop – I wandered out of the shop with Miss 12 in search of Grandad and Miss 10. They were standing outside a sweet shop a little way further along the road.”SWEET SHOP!”I have never seen Miss 12 run so fast. They had everything you could possibly imagine – lined up in glass jars along the walls. It was almost like somebody had reconstructed every childhood sweet shop memory into one tiny little shop, nestled between the usual array of tacky souvenir shops, and chandleries we all remember from the coast when we were young. We left – don’t laugh – with a pizza made from chewy sweets, and several smaller bags of sour sweets.
The next half hour was spent alternately nursing hot chocolate drinks in the cafe overlooking the beach, or in my case wandering the water’s edge to keep an eye on the children. There’s something nice about visiting the coast “out of season”. You can wander on the sand without a legion of small children barging into you, footballs being kicked at you, errant frisbees narrowly missing your head, or dogs throwing up seawater everywhere. You can also walk along the nearby streets without every other shop turning over half their business to the sale of plastic bucks, spades, and inflatables.
I can’t imagine what life must be like for the people that live in the small coastal towns. I’m guessing they must see visitors purely as potential customers – opportunities to make a penny or two.
This afternoon we are back in my parents house, holed up out of the wind. The kids were playing “hide and seek” around the house until Miss 12 decided she wasn’t playing any more (while she was supposed to be looking for everybody else, she suddenly stopped playing – leaving them hiding for quite some time before they realised what was going on). The fall-out was immediate and spectacular.
The remains of the afternoon look like they will be filled with the umpteenth showing of “Pirates of the Carribbean” via Netflix, which the children arm-twister their Grandad into signing up for on the evening we arrived. They seem to be watching “Dead Man’s Chest” – I don’t remember a great deal about it, other than Jack having a drawing of a key, which was “much more better” than actually having a key.
I guess I should get on with trying to do nothing, rather than write this. Like I said though – slowing downÂ is difficult.