We were just going to take it easy today, maybe take the dogs for a walk and then head to a cafe for brunch. Perhaps a siesta to follow and then a bit of light shopping at the supermarket for dinner stuff.
The weather was warm but did not seem too hot. The only thing that did seem to be hotting up was the American Super Bowl, which was clearly providing Americans with a good deal of relief after the last turbulent couple of weeks at the White House. The only political question seemed to centre around what Lady Gaga might do at half-time.
After a couple of cups of tea, during which I added, ‘decent mugs’ to the list of things I had forgotten to pack, we decided to take the dogs out for a stroll. Lucy had been amusing herself for the past hour anyway. I had been sitting at the table inside when she had come running into the room and stood by the door whimpering excitedly.
I had forgotten about this completely, but she hadn’t. As soon as she started pleading to go out, I realised what was happening. I clipped a lead onto Archie and opened the door. The reticulation was on. She belted out and raced from water jet to water jet to catch the spray in her mouth. How she had remembered the sound of the motor from a year ago I do not know, but it kept her happy for an hour as the water jetted first all over the front and then the back garden, with Archie watching from a safe distance.
By the time we took them for a walk, it was already too hot really, and Archie proved his memory was pretty good by sitting down and refusing to budge at a pergola along the foreshore where we had stopped for a rest the last time we were here.
It was too hard, though, to be so close to the sea and not get in it, so we cut the walk short, headed back to the house and packed for the beach.
This year, in the January sales, I bought Archie a life jacket. I was hoping that it might give him a bit more confidence in the water. We took the boogie board down as well, but did not have Lucy’s water Kong as it was yet another item on the increasingly long list of things I forgot to pack.
I fashioned a Kong replacement by wrapping Lucy’s bandana around a rubber ball that I had remembered to bring and securing it with a hair band so that kept her happy. Rubber balls are quite tricky for dogs to grab as they bob up and down so the fabric gives then something to latch on to. Archie, meanwhile allowed me to put him on the boogie board and move him across the surface of the water. He refused to sit down, though and insisted on edging ever closer to the front of the board which made keeping it level harder work for me.
I wrapped his life jacket around him and took him for a swim too but it did not seem to help him float any higher in the water – the handle on the back of it, though, did allow me to steer him gently as he paddled towards shore.
Lucy also had a go on the board. She did lie down, but was shaking. I am not sure whether this was as a result of trying to balance herself, or because she was scared. She did not seem scared and licked my face as we moved around. She can swim so well though she was happier in the water than on top of it.
I floated Archie, in his life jacket towards the rocks, where he peered into the dark recesses and looked for crabs and I floated him right back up to the beach where he refused to dismount, presumably because he could not see that the water was merely paw deep.
It was great to be in the ocean again – even though I did more floating than swimming. The water was clear and calm, except for the occasional wash from a boat pulling into the harbour.
I am not a regular beach-goer. Sand is the bane of my life and the hassle of washing dogs and clothes of it when you get back can sometimes seem like a deterrent.
But today, the sky was blue and the water was calm and I floated with my dogs and my husband away from the internet and the chaos and stress of the last few days and remembered for a short while why it s important to take a break every now and again.