Today was a good day – Sarah went downstairs with the little one when he woke up at 7am and I had a bit of extra sleep until 9am. We try to take it in turns to get up early with him, depending on what shift we are both on and today was my turn for a few extra zzzzzs! Although a 3 hours lie in would almost be enough to make it a great day all by itself, the other highlight of today was a day trip to Steamer Point.
Highcliffe Castle / Steamer Point is somewhere we’ve been going for many years and is one of our nearest sandy beaches that also has some nice walks around it too – and a decent tearoom at the Castle to boot. If you’ve never been there before it’s down in the direction of the New Forest and takes us about 1hr 20mins from our house in Reading, so is ideal day trip material.
I think it’s easy as a parent to get caught up in the day-to-day monotony of life – breakfast, lunch, dinner, nappy changes and naps, with everything fitting in to a routine culminating in bed time and a slow exhale of breath and something alcoholic. This signifies you have once again nailed this parenthood lark and have succeeded in getting everyone through another day, just about in one piece (physically if not mentally!). So from time to time it’s important to do something different when you can (and the weather permits!).
We got down there just after midday today and, as per usual, realised we had no change for the parking machine! Fortunately these days you can download an app and pay for your parking on that. For some reason, app based parking machines are ALWAYS located in an area where you can’t get Internet signal. So after a few minutes strolling around waving my phone in the air trying to summon the gods of 4G, the app loaded and I was successfully fleeced of a few quid. Boom.
Next up was the Castle tea room. Unfortunately the little one has recently decided that he no longer likes high chairs, so after sitting in it for 4 minutes he said his usual ‘click, click, mummy, click, click’ whilst frantically gesturing at his groin area like a randy, desperate mime artist on a first date.
Once he had been uncoupled from the chair of great heights he spent the rest of lunch wandering around the grass, swinging from things like a baby monkey, falling over his own feet and trying to befriend dogs, while occasionally popping back for bits of cucumber and cheese sandwich!
Fortunately we only had baguettes for lunch today (everything that required warming up would take 45 minutes we were told!!) so we took it in turns to wander round after him, to make sure he didn’t fall in the sea or get eaten by a large dog.
A very pleasant stroll through the clifftop walk followed with a plethora of photo opportunities abounding.
Little one has got confused as to what ‘smile’ means lately so now responds to that request by grinning like a deranged Cheshire cat and closing his eyes tightly. Considering my own smiling face has looked identical for the past 25 years we’ve really got no idea where he has learnt that look from! To get a decent photo now, we have to be far more stealthy and catch him while his smile is just building and before he has closed his eyes – it we were living in the pre-digital age we would literally have returned from the chemist with packets upon packets of the same photo but with slightly differing facial expressions!
Every dog in the local area made an appearance during our 20 minute walk and Joshua made attempts to engage each of them in conversation. Joshua enjoys barking and jumping when communicating with canines and becomes a little distressed whenever the dog wanders off – until the next dog comes along and all is forgiven.
Walk complete and on to the sandy beach we go, conveniently pretty empty and basked in sunshine. We did a nice little family feet shot, as inspired by Finding Our Feet before dipping our toes in the ever-so-slightly chilly sea. And by ‘slightly chilly’ I mean that my testicles shattered into a thousand tiny pieces. Fun times were had all round and lots of lovely photos taken, just in case this was the last sunny day in Britain of little one’s childhood.
Not unexpectedly, little one was a touch miffed when we had to leave and he had to consequently stop digging. If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know he isn’t a fan of stopping digging, resulting in him needing to be carried across the thick, fluffy sand for about 74 miles back to the car, like an almost lame donkey carrying a wriggling sack of potatoes up to the penthouse suite at the Burge in Dubai.
Upon reaching the top of the 92 steps back up to the car park I felt like Neil Armstrong plonking the stars and stripes into the surface of the moon, but significantly less bouncy. I gave a short speech, thanking my family and friends, before collapsing into the car as if the wind machine has been turned off from one of those giant flapping balloon men.
And that was that – lovely day all round and I would definitely recommend a trip down that way if you are near the area and looking for a sandy beach, decent food and a nice country walk!
PS: There’s also a lovely beachside cafe a bit further down, which is called something a bit like ‘The Drunken Crab’ or ‘The Laughing Octopus’ and does a lovely pulled pork in brioche bun. However, given my abysmal memory it could be called ‘The Itchy Crab’ for all I know…