Bank Holiday

The rain stopped on Friday morning. The week-long gale died – as if it heard of a better place to blow and left in a hurry. What were we left with? Pure, unadulterated sunshine. The sun switched itself on in full solar glory… what a Bank Holiday! I read the other day we only have 11 public holidays on the UK – one of the smallest national numbers. India tops the public holidays at 21. Plus it’s never sunny on a Bank Holiday. It’s a statistical fact. Let me find the numbers for you – I’ll root around in the enormous cupboard of bitter British statistics – it just never is, ok! One August Bank Holiday, we went down to Pembrokeshire and the wind was so driving we didn’t even get out of the car. The wind might have driven us home. The next year we bought a sailboat to travel. It’s true, the weather has a lot to answer for.

The girls have been developing their beach routine over the weekend – small paddle and shell collection in the morning, larger swim/boogie boarding session in the afternoon. It’s been wonderful. Let’s pootle across the road and see what we can find and when we’re sick of it, we’ll pootle back across the road again. I love our house for this. Love it love it love it.

The sea’s been like silk. The kayak’s been out – multiple times. A couple of days ago I was out at the buoys, looked down and saw a huge shoal of tiny fish. Finally fish and not just jellyfish in the sea! Seabirds were sitting nearby – but no more Manx shearwaters. The magnificent Manxes have gone – off to winter in South America. Their fledglings in the rocky holes of Bardsey and Skomer Island – they’re taking flight and are going too. No one sees these baby birds for a couple of years then, until they return to the coastline from where they were born.

Where do they go in the meantime? My ex-boyfriend once said when I was wondering about turtle migration; baby turtles also ‘disappear’ for the first years of their lives, ‘None of your business. They want to stay private, not be chased by a bunch of biologists.’ I always remember it – his annoyance at my nosy human syndrome. No wonder we didn’t work out. Since I’m born for stalking. For now though, the baby Manx Shearwaters are safe.

And all this weekend, the clock’s been ticking. This is because no Bank Holiday is complete without a forecast that everything’s going to change. Rain is coming. You can’t fight it. The game becomes how long you can eek out the weather. Stop everything – make the most of the sunshine. 

So we did. Last night the rain was soft as an alarm clock.

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