Brings images to mind of vast areas of golden sand. The smell of coconut suntan oil, the sea and the vision of toned bodies, splayed on beach towels, soaking up the sun whilst buff speedo clad men run along the sea edge, eliciting sighs from women of all ages ….
Screeeeeech …… stop the vision. Because the reality is indeed vast areas of golden sand, and the smell of suntan lotion, but the toned bodies? All bodies are here – toned, untoned, over toned, thin, fat, in-between and everything else, in costumes of all sizes and styles, whether appropriate for that person or not. Speedo clad men? Yes, but perhaps for many of them a switch to baggies would be more appropriate. Speedo and huge boep? Not so hot. A bit like me rocking up on the beach in a tanga. Not so hot. If you are without a huge boep or highly confident or have always worn a Speedo – high 5 to you. If not – better not. I have a wonderful friend who tells me that Speedos are meant for illicit trips to Thailand with hot “others”. I will take your word for it TS.
So yesterday we went off to the beach in the morning. All 4 of us to swim and then for the 2 female members of the family to stay on the beach for the next 3 to 4 hours. The male members of the family swim for long and then hibernate from the beach. This is our daily ritual. We parked ourselves in a spot, umbrella up, towels down and headed towards the water. At this stage I wanted to tighten my one-piece costume which had a strap around the neck. As I reached to do so, whilst walking with the other 3 across the beach, I realised that my costume was on inside out. “How Laverne, how?” asked my poor long-suffering husband. My costume is black. Completely. So inside out it is still black. Completely. I gave a sigh of relief and then something struck me as we were halfway across the sand. All costumes have doubles crotches …. I suppose so that the sea sand has a place to gather whilst swimming – because I see no other reason. I glanced down and yes, the thin crotch “net” was now on the outside and left no doubt as to the fact that it was inside out. I walked right up behind my hubby which made us look like we were doing some strange sort of left right goosestep. “What the hell?”, he asked. “Just walk dammit, I have crotch net”, I hissed. We raced into the water and had a whale of a time for the next 45 mins and when I left the water I walked right up against him to the towel.
So today I double checked the costume angle before leaving our flat. Hubby stayed home (traumatised) and me and the kids went down to the beach (22 and 18 so I say kids sort of loosely). Normal ritual, umbrellas up, towels down and into the water. Now today the lifeguards were taking special care because the waves were pummelling and the drag was incredible, pulling one continuously out of the flagged area.
It is imperative at this stage to tell you that there is permanently a huge dip as you walk into the sea on this beach. You step into the water and walk 6 steps ankle deep. The 7th step finds you waist high in the water, then neck high and once you manage to get through the pummelling, you reach an area where you are waist high again and can have fun in the waves.
The downside is the getting out part. You now have the waves behind you, so when you enter the deep part and are walking through it waiting to suddenly find the ankle-deep entry to the sea, the waves are whacking you from the back due to the depth. So, the step between waist high and ankle high needs crucial timing because if you get klapped by a wave at that exact moment …… well ….
So, the 18-year-old son gets through this with his usual nonchalant way (I suppose the fact that he is 125% fit helps) and turns to hold out his hand to me. My daughter had managed to steady herself behind me. It was going quite gracefully at that moment. I was waist deep and waiting for a break between waves to step.
Then it went pear shaped. And very pear shaped. Very quickly.
As I started to emerge from the sea like Ursula Andress in that Bond movie, a stealth wave came from the back and it whacked me as I took the crucial step. I was knocked forward into a body surfing position and shot from the waist to the ankle depth area like a surfer who was now in 8 inches of water. As Nic tried to grab my hand and help me up, that incredible current and drag kicked in and sucked me backwards … forcing me into Jess who was now standing and knocking her over and, with me, back into the sea. I got up only to be whacked again, but as I was now closer to Nic, the strength of that wave coming through the dip made me body surf again, except that I now did so from 8 inches of water towards the beach – of no water. This meant that I body surfed in the ankle high water but due to my momentum, never stopped when I ran out of water. I just kept going. In the process, I knocked over a little boy like a skittle, who was standing on the edge of the beach and ploughed up, sand everywhere until I came to a stop about a metre from the water’s edge.
Nic was crying. He put out his hand but since he was absolutely dying laughing, he could not help much. I struggled up, apologised to the skittle child whose father had picked him up and turned to see Jess, choking on sea water as she shrieked with laughter. “You washed onto the beach like a piece of debris”, cried Nic. “Yes, like a beached whale”, I retorted. I was laughing so much I could barely walk. And the first row of people sitting on the beach, there was a LOT of laughing going on.
It is important to mention that I also had 14kg of rough sea sand and stones in my costume which now made it look like I had 100 boils on my skin as my costume was so lumpy.
So, I entertained the beach goers, I entertained my kids and I entertained myself.
Thank heavens I am a person of great confidence. But I think I need a new costume. And a more elegant exit from the water.
Till soonc’est la vie xxxx