The weather was still a bit shitty today, but it didn’t really matter as we were all too tired to do anything too exciting. It’s just awesome getting to spend all day with my family without having to go off to do a gig or whatever. My favourite moment of the day was Phoebe and me hiding behind the curtains in the bedroom together, even though Catie was in the bath and so there was no one around to seek us. We conspired and giggled and waited not to be found. So much of being a parent passes in a tired blur, but every now and again something tiny happens that you know you will remember forever. And hiding from no one behind the curtains in our holiday flat will be up there I think.
We finally built up the energy to go for a walk. A sign had promised that the local beach was just half a mile walk away. We set off with the pram (though Phoebe was walking) but quickly realised that the path down was too bumpy and narrow to wheel that with us, so we left it behind and ploughed on. It was lightly raining and the path was wet and slippy but we pushed onwards. There were a few mildly hairy moments, with some steep drops to one side of us and a difficulty in staying on our feet, but we got about halfway to the beach, still quite high up on the coastline, that we thought it was probably going to be beyond us today and turned back.
Usually cowardly and timid I enjoyed taking my little family on a mildly dangerous and uncomfortable jaunt. This is what holidays area about - being damp and a bit cold and feeling like something might go horribly wrong, all led by a parent pushing his or her children beyond their limits. I remember my family on one of our annual trips to the Isle of Arran and my dad hiring a rowing boat and taking us away from the shore. It felt like we had gone a long way from safety and the sea was suddenly quite rough and my mum was screaming as my dad blithely put his entire family in peril. We turned back pretty sharpish, but it’s one of my earliest memories and that’s a good thing. I doubt we were ever in real danger, but it was good to feel like we were.
I felt like a proper dad today, trudging onwards as my weary family moaned or slipped or complained that we shouldn’t have undertaken this trip.
For the first time in a long time we all took the opportunity to have a sleep during Phoebe’s afternoon nap, then headed to Ilfracombe to go to the supermarket and have a brief look around. We got to a rocky beach with black sand and weird jagged rocks that looked like the surface of the moon (in my imagination). We threw some stones into the sea and ran away from the waves and looked in rock pools. I remembered another holiday incident from the beginning of my memory where I had been throwing stones into a stream (again on the isle of Arran) and had fallen forwards and tumbled down the stream a bit. I could still remember the disorientation and confusion. I held on to my daughter and wondered if her earliest memories might be being forged on this little break.