Despite being on holiday, I still awoke exactly 6 hours after I went to bed, so I was walking along the cliff path with two dogs before 7 am, admiring the views. I love the promise and fresh start of a sunrise as well as the natural beauty, so it set me up nicely for the day ahead. Dog-walkers are just the friendliest people, I struck up so many conversations with strangers based around their dogs. If anyone was lonely and needed a reason to get out of the house and to meet new people, I would recommend dog ownership every time.
When I got back to the house, both boys were still asleep, so I sat in the garden playing with the puppies and enjoying the views and memories that this house and garden bring me. When we came in the summer with my grandparents, we would often have a lunch of ham salad in the garden, which my sister and I would come back up from the beach for. As I liked neither ham nor salad as a child, I would have cold baked beans and grated cheese instead and I can remember my Granny telling me that I would turn into a baked bean as I ate so many of them! My sister and I would play on the amusements on the seafront: we had a pact that whoever one on the penny falls – our game of choice – would have to share their winnings with the other. The trouble was that my sister never won anything, while I was pretty lucky. We would visit the shop on the way home and spend my winnings on chocolate, then sit under the dining room table to enjoy it secretly. Happy, carefree days, when we were secure and loved by our parents and grandparents in a place where it was a quick walk down the hill to the beach. I used to hover by the gate, waiting for someone to see where we lived , so that I could show off and to make them jealous.
We had a lovely afternoon at a country show, overlooking the sea. As Joshua has rejected his wheelchair lately and objects so much to being in it that he has stamped the footplate off several times, we have listened to him so he walked around the show, but we were armed with our picnic rug so he could sit down on the grass wherever he wanted or needed to. We headed straight to the music stage where one of our favourite local bands were performing and we set up camp. As it became pretty hot at that time, Joshua lay down and chilled out. My husband and I took it in turns to look in tents and at stalls until he was ready to move on. We watched a dog agility act in the main ring but kept gravitating back to the music stage. We finished our afternoon out in the tea tent where, while I was fetching the refreshments over and my husband was watching a parade of vintage tractors, Joshua sat nicely at the tressle table. As I was coming over with the teas, I heard a lady ask him if the other seats were free or if she could join him with her two granddaughters? Of course, he just smiled at all three of them so I intervened and invited them to sit down opposite us. He was mesmerized by the teenaged girls opposite him and their grandmother chatted away constantly about her family, until we had finished. Strangers often seem to want to share their life stories : the other morning while I was on the telephone to BT, the lady who was helping me to order broadband confided that she had suffered from domestic violence and had tried to take her own life once, I was not sure what to say, so I just listened as she seemed to want to talk. I find that if people want to talk, I try to take the time to listen.
We had a good day out and left around 4.30 pm when the dark clouds started to look threatening. The puppies, who had been left at home, were delighted to see us back again and I spent time with them in the garden again, so that they could burn off their boundless energy. It is a good feeling knowing that we have many more days ahead of us, just pleasing ourselves what we do, with no particular schedule.