My car stinks. Barnacles cluster along the bottom of the doors. Limpets have attached themselves to the windscreen. Crabs scuttle under the seats whenever we get in. Seaweed hangs from the ceiling and drips on us as we drive along. The car floor is a beach. Every time I pull away at traffic lights, sea water slops from the front of the car to the rear like a fast flowing tide, washing flotsam and jetsam up onto the back seat. Every morning when I get in my car to go to work I find that lugworm casts have appeared on the sandy floor overnight and when I open the driver’s door to get in water slops out over my shoes.
Ben, our son, is the cause of this.
Let me set the scene:
As we walked south towards Bournemouth we turned back for a well-deserved view of Hengistbury Head and the Isle of Wight in the background. We had been walking alongside the Isle of Wight for many miles; we were now leaving it behind.
As soon as we reach the beach it happens. All beaches slope inexorably, gradually, unavoidably, and inevitably towards the sea. Our son, unconsciously, also begins to slip inexorably, gradually, unavoidably and inevitably down the gradient of the beach towards the gently lapping edge of the surf. His passage to the sea is as natural as a tiny new-born turtle’s.
“Here he goes,” my wife and I say to each other.
We used to try to stop him, but we gave that up a long time ago.
It always starts the same way. A flick of the ankle and a spray of a few droplets of salty water. These small droplets are generally aimed at whomever is closest.
During such episodes, Ben soaks up all sorts into his trousers. Shrimps and sand; crabs and pebbles; seaweed and jellyfish; cod and mussels; octopi and sharks; small fishing vessels with their salty crews. They all find themselves half way up his trouser-legs, trapped in his turn-ups, or stranded in his shoes. They are all transported to my car where, as Ben slowly dries out on the journey home, they escape their trousery prison to find a new mobile residence amongst the leather upholstery of my Volvo.
Which, by the way, is leased. I dread the day I have to return my car and explain the microcosm that exists within.
Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Ben Gets Wet: N 50° 43.075 W 001° 46.920
Walk #71 Statistics (of which this post forms the seventh part):
- Date of Walk: 3 May 2014
- Walk #71 total distance covered (excluding ferry): 12.44 miles
- Coast of Britain Walk Total Distance Covered: 619.14 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!