We drove all morning through across two state lines to get to our mini-break destination. This is actually a family tradition - the one-night-away seaside trip - although the last time we did one was in Norfolk and Exile #4 was younger than E5N1 is now I think.
The girls were quite happy to be on a sandy beach - little angels both!
and so was E5N1 - he didn't stay in our bring-your-own shade for very long.
The beach was quite busy - well let's say absolutely packed. Not that that stopped us enjoying ourselves - sandcastles built and knocked down, waves jumped over and splashed through, swimming in the sea, sand sandwiches...
It turns out that one reason for the crowds (apart from the sunny summer Saturday effect) was that some of the other local beaches are shut due to pollution overflow during the recent rainstorms. We didn't know that then of course. Not surprisingly with the congestion, there were several tannoy announcements about lost children - all followed by 'now reunited' announcements - and little ripples of applause.
At one point, Exile #2 and Exile #3 went down to the sea, leaving me looking after E5N1 and keeping an eye on Exile #4 who had gone to play on the 'swings'.
Me: I saw her a couple of minutes ago, but I've lost track of her.
Exile #2 (unconcerned): I'll go and check
...a couple of minutes later...
Exile #2: I can't see her.
Me (slightly concerned): I'll go and look, you stay here with the others.
...after looking all around the area of the swings and climbing frame I still hadn't located her, so I was just about to go and find the ranger's office or whatever when:
Tannoy: We have a lost girl on the beach. She's 4, her name is --, she's wearing a purple princess bathing suit and looking for her mommy. She's at chair number 2, if you came here with --, please come and collect her.
So we did, but before you think we're too terribly delinquent - this was the route she needed to take 'through the crowds' to get back to us. It shouldn't really have been too taxing.
So, it turns out we were hard to find - do you know where we've travelled to?