Beach babes

bathing belle

When do you become too old?
I guess it depends what you’re talking about.
Too old to be a catwalk model is a little different from too old to be a high court judge.

But what about taking up a new career? Having a baby? Going to the beach?

My ears rang yesterday morning with the reproach –
“The beach? You’re too old to go to the beach!”

And who was thoughtlessly writing me off as too aged and infirm to totter down the winding cliff path to the sea?

Mike. My dearly beloved.

I think, in fairness, he was appalled at the decadence of going without the children.

It was my friend’s idea – honest. She rang and said –
“Fancy a swim?”

“What, now?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“What, without the kids?”

“Yes,” she said.

It only took a second. “Why not? I’ll be ready in fifteen minutes.”

So we went, just the two of us, on a weekday when all of our children were at school, to Whitsand Bay for a swim.
Then we sat in the sun.
Then we went to a clifftop cafe for a coffee and cream tea – each.

It felt very self-indulgent, a guilty pleasure, an illicit trip for no other reason than fun.

We didn’t have to –
- build sandcastles
- admire sandcastles
- dig holes
- admire depth of dug holes
- play frisbee, boules or ball
- yell “keep the sand off my towel” at frequent intervals

It was bliss.
It reminded me of what going to the beach used to be about – sitting, chatting, reading, swimming far, far out to sea until all the beach bums are specks of sand beyond the breaking waves.

And what did we talk about?

Our children.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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4 Responses to Beach babes

  1. Omega Mum says:

    I think it’s all down to the guilt we need to assuage when we’re doing something that children seem to ‘own’. Sounds lovely, though.

  2. Pure jealousy, the comment, of course..

  3. Tracey says:

    Of course, he was just jealous he couldn’t go… It sounds divine. One should be able to keep going to the beach until one is physically incapable of doing so. I remember a conversation with my mother-in-law a few years ago. Her heath (physically)- with arthritis, and hip and knee ops that didn’t give optimum results because she is carrying a lot of weight – finally contrived against her to the point that she realised she couldn’t even walk on the sand, let alone go in the surf for a dip. She was really choked up and teary at that realisation. And I felt really really sad for her.

  4. It does indeed sound marvellous.

    You’re never too old to go to the beach.

    The father of one of my mum’s friends swam in the North Sea every day and he made it well into his 80s.

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