Audacious. That's one way to describe our journey out of London on Friday afternoon. But it totally paid off on this occasion. We had bus luck, we had train luck and I had well behaved children who charmed the amicable commuters. This is Buddy at about 7.30pm on the beach at Hove having checked into our hotel, having had a picnic tea. Glorious.
A sunny Saturday morning dawned and the children played Hide and Seek in the hotel lounge. This is a very popular game at the moment. Buddy and Daisy hide themselves, they hide their toys; they've even hidden my wedding ring and an Oyster card in the past. And yes, I did help seek those items with a slight cold sweat upon me. Langford's Hotel is a big old rambling place - rather ramshackle, to be honest - and as such is a great place to play Hide and Seek. It was while they were playing a particularly absorbing round that we received a message calling daddy away to London for a few hours. Once I'd got over some grumpiness at the whole unexpected-lone-parenting-on-a-holiday thing, I put my mind to ensuring we had a lovely time.
Captivating kite flying on Hove beach was followed by a scoot along the seafront to the marvellous beach-side playground. As Buddy and Daisy zoomed off, I enjoyed a rare treat; an uninterrupted coffee, watching the sparkling sea. I'll admit it, I was a smidgen smug that for once I didn't need to be in amongst the throng of toddlers and tantrums, tumbles and tears - what with my two being so grown up an' all.
And of course within five minutes all that changed. Mummy to the rescue, I found myself elbow deep in the sandpit, sifting through its damp and dank depths. Buddy's game of Hide and Seek with a toy figure had gone wrong. Very wrong. Buddy was inconsolable. 'Please find Yojojo! I will never find him!'
I always think of The New Shoes, one of The Ten Tales of Shellover by Ruth Ainsworth, whenever I'm digging for something lost in the sand (which is surprisingly often). This story from my childhood, is a cautionary tale involving two sisters, new shoes and a sandy beach. I eventually found Yojojo in the sand just where Buddy had been sitting. A joyful reunion, sandy tears wiped from Buddy's face, and an immediate resuming of play followed. Clearly, he hasn't heard the ending of The New Shoes - the sisters never find them! I'm sure if he knew this story, Buddy wouldn't be quite so keen on burying his toys. As it is, Yojojo lives to hide another day.