The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Picnic on a cold, grey day

“Let’s go for a picnic tomorrow - it's supposed to be dry this weekend. We can go down to Rascarrel beach. It’ll do us all good to get some fresh air, and it’s been a while since we last saw the sea.”

Saturday morning:
“It’s a bit grim out. I know it’s not actually raining, but the air is damp and there’s a cold wind.”

“Isn’t the sun is supposed to make an appearance this afternoon?”

“It varies depending on which weather forecast I look at. According to one, it might not show its face until just before it sets. Let’s do the picnic thing tomorrow.”

Sunday Morning:
“Once we are out it will be fine. We just have to overcome the yearning, aching desire to stay in the house and forget that we feel tired and irritable and ignore the fact it’s dull grey and cold outside.”

This is actually taken as an article of faith and I have a seriously hard time believing it. Judging by the faces staring back at me, certainly no one else does.

Maggie makes a pot of soup. This is transferred to the flasks while bread rolls, rice crackers, oatcakes, a couple of pieces of fruit and a few chocolate biscuits are placed in a plastic tub.

There is fuss when it comes to finding coats, boots and last minute visits to the bathroom.

There are arguments about who sits where in the car.

There are moans about headphones on mp3 players not working; about bumps in the road; about being squashed when going round corners.

When we turn off down the last stretch of dirt track, off a narrow country lane, and the bottom of the car makes a loud scraping noise as I bounce in and out of a huge pothole, I am ready to just turn around and head home, defeated. But we are only now 200 yards from the car park so we might as well carry on.

Since the land owner controversially booted off all the owners of an array of beach huts a few years ago, the path to the beach gets more overgrown each year. It won’t be long before it’s impassable. Briars, gorse and untended trees snag rucksacks and coats and pierce thinner clothing. Youngest daughter and wife have to be helped through some of the trickier sections of the journey.

And then, finally, we clamber down the last section to the pebble beach and the sea opens out before us. Stones of various sizes are picked up and thrown into the sea with satisfying splashes.

Maggie and I work our way to the far end, clamber over some rocks around the corner and find the favourite spot where we can sit fairly comfortably and stare at the sea. The younger ones arrive just as we finish pouring soup into plastic cups.

Maggie always makes wonderful soup, but sitting in thick coats with scarves and woolly hats in temperatures of 4C degrees, with the salty air in our nostrils, it tastes heavenly.

Fed and (briefly) rested Holly and Meg go exploring while Rogan, with the unbelievable metabolism of a 15 year old boy is now leaping over rocks, practicing parkour manoeuvres, coat and hoodie discarded. And it’s only a matter of time before I get the camera out to try and capture some sense of what he’s up to.

An hour later heading home, cold, tired but in much higher spirits, instead of complaints from the back of the car, laughter now dominates.

Once back, I go for a rest while Rogan lights the fire and they all settle down with a hot chocolate.

It was worth all the hassle after all.


Jacqui said...

A real family day out and a brilliant photo - love it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds absolutely lovely! An what a great photo!

hope said...

Sounds better than the "grey skies" Kite Flying contest I to do for work on Saturday.

I bet Rogan could've gotten "Best in Show" with those moves. ;)

angryparsnip said...

Sounds like a fun time was had by all.
That is a wonderful photo.

cheers, parsnip

Ron said...

A nice read. I felt like I was there with the cold wind smacking me in the face. It's raining here on the eastern coast of southern DelawRe as I type this. I wonder if it is the same weather system. Stay warm

Pat said...

That's my favourite beach - thanks to your beautiful photo of it.
Days like that are special and live on in the memory.
I must follow the link to see what Rogan is up to. He does it well

Mary Witzl said...

I picnicked on that very beach, and I've heard a lot about that hut dispute. I've sat on those rocks and chucked a few into the sea, too, and photographed husband & kids looking for crabs.

But I've never taken any photos remotely as cool as the one you did of Rogan. Long wistful sigh...

Guyana-Gyal said...

It was well worth the effort, wasn't it?

Sometimes, if I'm invited to go somewhere, I protest / grumble inside. Then I push myself to go. And how wonderful it turns out. I feel SO good afterwards!

What a great photo, it captures youth and energy and movement.

Lynne said...

sounded like a great family day after all. I love it when that happens and years from now they'll be talking and a "remember when we went to the beach and it was...." will come up.

Anonymous said...

That's an amazing's almost surreal appearance. Was it accomplished with a strobe? To me your resemblance is striking in this Rogan in photo.

Anonymous said...

Opps..forgive my errors above.

Kim Ayres said...

Jacqui - thank you :)

Starrlife - thank you:)

Hope - kite flying is something I've always meant to do more of, but for some reason we never seem to get round to it

Parsnip - it was fun, once we were there :)

Ron - it's not rained for a few days here, which is just as well because then the path would have been so muddy I don't think we'd have made it

Pat - He's still got a lot to learn yet, but he has at least managed to convince the PE teacher to let some of them have the gym after school once a week to practice some moves

Mary - it's a lovely spot. Mind you, I'm sure I read somewhere that the land owners have just got permission to build some holiday homes there. I wonder if that will restrict access.

Guyana-Gal - it never ceases to amaze me how resistant we can be to going out and enjoying ourselves, even when we know we'll feel better for having done it

Lynne - we've been to that beach many times over the years, so I doubt whether this particular time will stand out. These things have a habit of all merging into each other in memory

Allen - I'd love to say yes, but the reality is I had the camera on continual burst (up to 8 frames per second) and created a composite image afterwards in Photoshop

mapstew said...

Great pic as usual Kim. And I love picnics in 'off' season, which, I suppose, is most of the time here! :¬)

Eryl said...

You've made me long for the beach, cold, wind and all. I wish I could do what Rogan is doing there!

TalesNTypos said...

Precious :)

Mimi and Tilly said...

It sounds great. A real family day out. I love hot soup when it's cold and I'm wrapped up in my coat! Thanks for the hugs on my blog post for Neo, Kim, it was a sad day. Em :)

Hindsfeet said...

...I love how, with the most beautiful brevity, you transport your reader into this sweet day....reading your writing has the effect of falling down the most delicious rabbit hole into the most wonderful wonderland....

....*always* a breath coming over here to "your place", Kim....

...thanks, as always, for that....

Liz ~*

Anonymous said...

that photo is awsome! I love your writing, sounds like a lovely day.
Thanks for sharing!

Kim Ayres said...

Adila - :)

Emma - these things are never easy, and sadness always requires a hug

Liz - thank you :)

Cassy - thank you :)

Anonymous said...

I miss beach picnics with my parents and younger brother. :(

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