“Take your bucket out.”
Grandma is watching the two little boys in black t shirts very carefully. She hasn’t realised that burying the green bucket is the point of the whole exercise. It is a serious business. Her grandchild gives her a pitying look. She clearly doesn’t know anything.
“Have you had enough of t’beach yet? Do you want a walk round t’harbour?”
He doesn’t. Can’t she see that he is burying a bucket?
“Get here! Get here now!”
He comes towards her with his head down and he is grabbed unceremoniously.
“Give over kicking.”
He is the quietest little blonde cherub that you could ever hope to find. All he wants to do is bury his bucket in the sand. When she lets him go he goes back to doing just that. His brother, a dark haired serious faced cherub, is dragged across the sand instead. His face is mute and expressionless.
“I’ve TOLD yer.”
When he is told to get his blue bucket he kicks it daringly towards his gran. There is no anger, just silent acceptance. He will do as he is told but he doesn’t have to like it. They walk off in the direction of the harbour.
Meanwhile two other children, slightly older and rounder and much louder have found some sand that is almost black. The boy who is wearing glasses and a universal studios T shirt makes a dark sculpted pile which he then destroys. As he remakes it he provides a running commentary which nobody is listening to.
“Millie! How do you like it?”
Millie is cute, rounded and blonde. She has a pony tail and a yelllow top with strawberries on. She is not bothered about the sand now. She has abandoned her own pile and dumped her blue spade on the beach. She is throwing a lime green tennis ball aimlessly.
Dad doesn’t respond. Millie heads off towards the sea and her brother runs off after her. In no time they are turning round and round in a pool of sea water in the distance. Nobody is worried.
A little girl in grey, thin and elegant as a dancer, is standing with her sister, a tiny pink princess, surveying their circle of bucket made castles topped with red and yellow flags. They are proud of them.
Millie and her brother are soon back.
“Dad! Do you want to play ball?”
Dad doesn’t say no, but he doesn’t say yes either. He says nothing.
The donkeys have had their treats and they are a bit bored. One of them brays loudly, has his head patted, and walks steadily round the outside of the circle of heads and back to his original position.
Millie is standing on the sand, frowning, with her chin out.
“Dad! Do you want to play ball?”
“In a minute.”
“I’m talking to your mother.”
“If I play with you you pack up after about two throws.”
Her brother is making his dark pile of sand into a seat. He announces that it is going to have a foot
A family arrive and settle themselves to eat their lunch. The two serious little boys look very like the ones who are now heading towards the harbour with their grandparents. Small square sandwiches with no crusts are placed in two circles for them, arranged on white napkins with a few crisps in tiny tupperware containers and peeled satsuma segments. A picture of order and uniformity. Two identical toy grey rabbits sit shoulder to shoulder, staring at the food. Dad is happy.
Their mum is already talking about the donkeys. They are not that bothered. They sit cross legged, saying nothing, each eating their circle of sandwiches carefully and saying please. Dad chases away a seagull.
Millie and her brother are now playing ball with their dad. They are startlingly bad at it but nobody minds. Dad stands there patiently, hands in his pockets, wearing shades, waiting for the ball to come close enough for him to pick it up without effort.
The elegant grey dancer has come back from the sea with something important in her bucket. She shows it round. The little pink princess wrinkles her nose and giggles.
As dad predicted Millie has lost interest in throwing and catching. She waves her spade and fills her blue bucket with dark sand from her brothers sand seat. He complains loudly and fills in the hole that she has made. She puts the bucket on the cement at the edge of the beach, hits the top three times with her spade, lifts the bucket and watches her sandcastle fall apart.
“Oh! I’m going to start again.”
Millie piles sand into the bucket.
Her mother shakes her head.
“You can’t get any more in there.”
She is distracted by the pink princess, who is having her coat and boots put on over her striped tights, ready to leave. There is a lot of activity. The small dancer is having her wet leggings removed behind a wall of towels. It is all very interesting to her.
The two small boys have eaten most of the tiny sandwiches. Their mother is still determined to get them on a donkey.
The younger one is taken hand in hand towards the donkeys. His brother looks at his dad.
“It’s all right. You don’t have to.”
Now that he doesn’t have to and he can see his brother being lifted onto one he changes his mind. He darts backwards and forwards towards the donkeys, grinning back at his dad, raising his shoulders and shrugging. He is placed on a donkey and they all set off. Mother runs excitedly beside them with her camera ready. They return a few minutes later, flushed with achievement.
“Here you are. Sit down and finish your dinner.”
“Millie! Don’t bury him.”
Millie can’t see why not. Her brother is sitting in his purpose made seat and he is quite happy to have his new trainers covered in sand. She sits in his place, lying back like a potentate, elbows out, resting comfortably, while he buries her legs instead.
“Come on kids. Gather your stuff.”
Her brother makes anxious last minute adjustments to his seat as the family prepare to leave.
The donkeys are being given their lunch in pale blue nose bags hung round their necks which match their saddle cloths. They rest them on the ground to eat.
The remains of the tiny sandwiches are being put into a bag. The two boys watch, expressionless. Their mother looks at them eagerly.
“Who’s had the best holidays EVER!”
Neither of them are sure of the right answer.
“Take your bucket out.”