Leonardo DiCaprio can keep his hidden island beach (with it's drugs and, erm, murder). I'll take West Wittering, thank you very much.
With a the last hot day for the foreseeable future forecast (how's that for alliteration?) I made a last minute decision to surprise the kids with a trip to the seaside. I got up early and packed the car, woke them up and after breakfast we hit the road!
We are one of the handful of towns and villages that claims to be the furthest from the sea (according to this interesting Guardian notes and queries page), so a day trip is not to be undertaken lightly. But I had a strong feeling that any car grumpiness would be worth it. And - yes! - I was right!
We arrived late morning, set up camp, and all three ran to the sea. West Wittering is one of those wonderful flat beaches where it's reasonably shallow for miles, and when the tide goes out the beach is enormous.
We lost Freddie to the sea. He came in briefly for a late lunch, but was swimming around pretty much for 6 hours. As the tide went out and the sea receeded further and further away, I was leaving him for longer and longer periods of time. It took me 10 minutes to walk over to the water, locate him, have a chat and walk back to our camp. I was trying to balance his safety with leaving Betsy and Meg alone. However, Freddie was fantastic at buddying up with people, and spent his time bobbing in the water chatting to different groups. There were also very attentive lifeguards.
Betsy spent ages collecting interesting beach treasures. We played with some of the kids that were nearby, making sandcastles and burying each other in the sand.
I noted the absence of arguments. No one asked me to get ice cream (which would have been fine of course, but amazing that it didn't even come up). No one wanted to go home before I hoped/planned to leave. No one got upset. The beach, the sea, the buckets and spades - they were enough and more. As we were packing up, Betsy said 'it's been an awesome day'. And it really really had been.
We got home quite late, the kids had a quick dinner and went to bed. We all slept till 9.30 this morning! We've had a day at home today, and some friends over to visit this afternoon. Just what we needed after a busy week.