Monday, July 16, 2007

was that it?

According to the meedja, fifteenth of July was to be our one chance at picnicking for this entire summer. So we seized the day. Picnics being something we do at the drop of a hat, or even a snowflake, or in extreme circumstances when it's blowing a horizontal gale so blustery that it whips spume off the sea and blows it way up onto the machair - oh yes, we've done extreme picnics. So fifteenth of July was the perfect day to launch our newest and gleamiest member of the fleet. New boat is aluminium, which means that it's (relatively) as light as a small block of flats, as opposed to our first little coracle ( Sleeping Boaty) which was as light as Edinburgh Castle. New boat also has a brand new trailer, which made launching it a thing of joy and dry feet rather than an embarassing nightmare of heaving, fumbling and someone ( usually me) having to immerse themselves totally in scummy harbour water and beat off hordes of jellyfish while trying to float boat in right direction. This time, we ran our new boat on its new trailer bumpily along the beach and it floated off in six inches of water. Oh. My. God. 

This is meaningless to anyone who hasn't suffered the launches-from-hell like we did last year. Our launches were so bad we could have sold tickets to them as Fringe events. We are such rank amateurs that we've given up any pretence to nautical dignity. Fumblethumbs-r-us. But no matter how badly we've launched whatever we've launched, no matter how cold and wet I am,  the moment the outboard catches and we pull away from the shore, I feel so delighted I want to jump up and down hissing - yessssss, in a highly annoying fashion. Which, of course, would have the unwanted effect of immediately capsizing whatever I was yessssing about. 

Anyway, we packed an unfeasably huge picnic and tooled out to Best Beach. To our disappointment, it had three families on it already, which was a drag because we've been spoiled all year by having it to ourselves and thus have deluded ourselves into feeling like it's our very own little chunk of paradise. In fact, it was high time we were reminded that such territoriality is selfish and beaches are for sharing. However, if any of those fair-weather tourists touch our woodpile, they're dead. 

So, not to Best Beach this time. The three families were obviously staying all day, judging by the presence of smoke ( if that's our woodpile they're burning, I'm going to do a one-boat Viking invasion)  and had set up three separate camps on its white sand. A sociable bunch ,obviously. So on we motored. Past Rubbish Beach( where trash washes up and collects, not rotting but piling, due to its high plastic content, past Crispie, past Archipelago Beach, past Seal Knoll and then...we found a huge, wide, sheltering bay and pulled in. There was a long spit of sand pointing out into the middle, a river running peatily into the water, and a satisfyingly lengthy stretch of sand and shingle. Unfortunately, there was also a stiffish, onshore wind. No, it wasn't a breeze. It was of a sufficiently low temperature to make the finding of a windbreak a necessity. It was, for the middle of July, cold.

Later, much later, we went back, past all the beaches we'd passed before, past the basking seals, and finally onto Best Beach where one lone family was packing up to go. They tried to force us not to land, and then not to unpack and get comfy with The Power Of Eyeballs and body language, both of which were switched to 'stun' , but we ignored them. Once they'd gone, taking their grumpy teenagers with them, we went swimming. The top four inches of water were warmer than the gelid depths below, but the one good thing about this horrible summer ( okay, I came out and said it - horrible, horrible, horrible summer) is that the jellyfish numbers are down. Or late. Or something. I'm trying very hard not to think that by the time the children go back to school in August, we'll be sitting staring out the rain-smeared windows, muttering 'was that it?' to the weather. Where is summer? Are we just going to move seamlessly into autumn? How can you tell the seasons apart any more? Don't go there...

Today it's so cold. It rained all night and the chestnut tree whipped and fluttered outside the window. Today's view is wet and grey. To make matters worse, I'm chewing through edit 10.7.4 on Witch Baby and wanting to kill myself with every editorial comment pencilled in the margins. If I see 'make this more funny' one more time, I swear I'm off to London on the next train with an axe in my hand. How we laffed.

 So we'll take the bikes up on the forestry track high above Best Beach and I'll try not to fall off and into a ditch like I did two days ago. Huge purple bruises 'r us. Still haven't been able to run, although I dream about running, probably by way of recompense.

Smallest daughter's jumper is now ready to be sewn together and - gasp - worn. I can't quite believe I've nearly finished it. It's not too dissimiliar to the feeling I get at the end of finishing a novel. Except, and this is a big except, there's no bloody editor going to come in and pick holes in my work. 

Unless you count moths as editors...

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