For someone who is usually only interested in the outdoors in a civilised manner, it’s impressive how much the beach has played a part in my growing up. My grandparents used to have a beach house in St Leonards and we would spend a lot of time there when I was a child. My grandmother wanted rid of though, so my Pa sold it. She then complained to him that he sold it for the rest of her life. Classic Nan.
This year, the family decided to have a beach holiday together, just like the old days. We booked a beach house in Portarlington, just along the coast from our old haunt.
My mother and I packed our bags and drove down together, just the two of us in the car. It was just like the old times, and felt so natural. The road was so familiar; we could almost have started playing eye spy. There was a really sobering section of the road, just out of Ballarat, where the evidence of the destruction from the pre-Christmas bush fires was still present. Smoke from the still burning fire hung on the road. Traffic was slowed due to the hazard and side roads were all closed to traffic.
Entire strips of the road were completely surrounded by the blackened ghosts of trees. The most distressing part was to see where the foundations of many homes; all that was left after the fire passed through. Some destroyed houses sat right beside ones that had been saved. You can read my last post about the fires here.
When we got to the beach house and opened it up, I smelled so much like the beach house of our childhood. Mum and I had a load of fun shopping for food and unpacking all the books we had brought to read. At sunset, Goldfields Girl and I went down to the beach to put our feet in the sand and to smell the sea. It was such a beautiful feeling.
I had forgotten how free it feels to be by the sea. I forgot how looking out at the ocean can make you feel so, so small. Seeing something so vast seems to put everything in context. The sea does not care about the way an email was worded at work, or who burned the Christmas roast or whether or not you put out the bin. Its impacted solely by the physical things around it. Wind. Weather. Sun. I feel that looking out at that vast stretch of water makes you feel like my worries are even smaller than I am. It makes me want to sit and just be.
When we came to the beach when I was little, I had a bicycle with spokey dokes on it. We each had a pair of roller-skates we would skate around the house on. We would walk to the beach and along the water to the pier. Sometimes we would fish.
Often we would swim and beach had coarse sand full of broken shells. At least once we would travel to Portarlington to have dinner at The Grand, and I would get a frog in the pond (jelly with a frog stuck in it). Evenings sometimes we would watch telly, but often we would listen to the radio or put on old records (mostly ABBA) because the beach house was limited in the tech department. We would play with marbles and matchbox cars and read and read and read. I adore reading a book whilst listening to the ocean.
I have really missed the beach, and not just in summer. I miss looking out at its cold water when the waves are tipped with white and the sky is grey and full of sadness. Although, it is lovely having the weather be warm enough that swimming is easy.
Dress: old Laura Ashley (not quite old enough to be Vintage)
Hat: from a market stand in Venice
Photos: Goldfields Girl
On a side-note. This dress is complete restyle of one I have blogged before! It was one of my first ever outfit posts and you can see just how much I have grown in my time blogging by looking at the original post here. Even I am surprised by how much more developed my style is now.