That happened often.
I was impatient as a child.
Still am, a little, although I am learning to slow down.
We swam in the sea during trips to Cornwall. The funny thing is that when I think back to my childhood holidays they always seemed to have involved Cornwall and clotted cream and sandy toes and freckles and the taste of salt on my lips. And pasties and pixies, mustn't forget them. But we only ever went there twice so either I have very selective memories or it made a huge impression on me; I suspect the latter, holidays were a rare treat when I was growing up because time was in abundance but money was not. A happier situation, I think, on reflection.
When we lived on the Rock of Gibraltar my school took us swimming once a week. All year round, In the sea, But not the sea as I would describe it, no sandy beaches and gentle waves. We were given swimming lessons at a slightly oily, smelly marina place near the harbour. It was unpleasant. I learned to swim fast to get my lengths done so that I could get out.
Back in England Hertfordshire my grammar school had its own swimming pool and I, having been taught to dive from high rocks and the end of the jetty at the RAF swimming bay in Gibraltar, was selected for high-diving lessons. That impressed everyone, except me, I wanted to be in the water not constantly entering and leaving it.
I taught The Ragazzi to swim as soon as they'd had their first inoculations, but here I am droning on with a history of my family's attachment to water when I just meant to say that yesterday, November 3rd, I went swimming in the sea at the north Brittany coast.
And loved it.
I've been to Tregastel regularly since I came back here in June and most times I have swum, but that was when the weather was warmer. Now we're into autumn with a vengeance and so for the last few trips each time that I have swum I've declared it to have been my last swim of the year. Until the next trip when I've just had to have one more swim.
Yesterday the weather forecast was for rain at the coast but I was feeling twitchy and my feet were feeling itchy so I thought I'd pack a picnic and the dog and head north anyway. I had my riding coat in case the forecast was correct and I thought I could walk on the sand and enjoy lunch in the car and at least I'd be out of the house.
This was what was awaiting me...
Rain? What rain?
The day was gloriously sunny, albeit a little misty at first but then misty mornings are made for the seaside, aren't they?
Tashi and I set off walking round the corner to the next beach to see if there was any sea there. There wasn't. It was far out, low tide, not to be seen.
So we set off across the sand to search for seashells because I love collecting stuff when I am rambling around. Empty seashells for me, inhabited ones for my fellow-hunter-gatherers...
I'm not a fan of little winkly things in shells, at least not when they're on my dinner plate and especially if they are still alive when they are being consumed, but I am a huge fan of fucus and eat it whenever I can and if I can't then I pause to photograph it and to admire it.
This is the result of a biology, or was it geography, field trip on which my Northumbrian grammar school took the fifth-formers. It was to the coast for a week, so the topic I chose for my project was seaweed. Fascinating stuff, and very good to eat if you chose the right type and the right location.
Our ramblings took us out to the castle and it being very low tide I thought it would be interesting to see what is on the other side of the little island, the side I never see from the beach.
Well! Look what we found! A beautiful sandy beach.
But it was lunchtime so we headed back to the car for our picnic and a little rest from clambering over rocks and wading though seaweed and accidentally falling into a rock pool and getting our feet soaked. (Yes, that was me, not the dog, he is much too sensible to step where it's wet.)
We sat in the car and indulged in some people-watching.
A trio of young people who had become stranded by the incoming tide and been obliged to strip and wade back to the beach with their clothes held above their heads. They passed the car half an hour later, still soaking wet and clad in thongs and T-shirts and and with their backpacks on their heads but laughing as they walked up the road away from the parked cars.
A family parked next to my car and set off to explore the rocks, Papa taking pictures while his Papa held onto the little girl ...
And then this happened and I was captivated and, it must be said, green with envy.
I mean, it's wonderful to swim with the pink castle as a backdrop and fantastic to be able to admire it between my feet as I float but, to be able to ride into the sea on horseback, well, that would really make me smile...
But, envy is a deadly sin and if I want my own horse there is absolutely nothing to stop me from finding one, except for the slight worry that I may not be around to look after it for that long and what would happen then?
I slipped into a swimsuit and pulled a sweater on top and walked down to the tide line to test the water temperature.
It was cold. Very cold. Too cold for a swim, I convinced myself.
And then a man who was wearing jeans, a sweater, a coat and wellington boots called out to ask me, in French, if I was going to plunge right in? And was I mad? And I decided, yes I was, and yes I am so I waded back to my bag on the sand, pulled off my sweater and returned to dive into the sea.
And it was wonderful.
Last swim of the year?
I am ruling out nothing, if we're lucky enough to get another day like yesterday then...