Books & Stories

The Beach

A tongue-in-cheek look at ex-pat life in Spain

Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband like nothing more on a sunny day in summer, than a trip to the beach.

Their beach experience in Spain differs greatly from that of the UK, where they would sit shivering fully clothed with their towels wrapped around them like blankets, waiting patiently for a brief glimpse of the sun if the clouds decided to part.

So they began to take their holidays in warmer climates, and one year decided to take the family camping in the South of France. On arrival they discovered the campsite was actually on the beach, and the nightly ritual of finding innovative ways of climbing into bed in their caravan without bringing sand in with them began - but was never successful.

The beach at Cap D’adge, stretched for miles, and Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband took a daily walk along the water’s edge. One day they walked a little further than they had before and began noticing people sunbathing without any clothes on.

Not knowing where to look and feeling grossly overdressed, they continued to walk, coming across a group of elderly pensioners enjoying a game of boules in the buff. The sight of those men and women’s wobbly bits as they bent down to take a shot will stay with Fairy Godmother forever.

But worse was to come when the pensioners noticed Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband were wearing swimwear, and they began to slow hand-clap. Handy Husband immediately got his kit off and received a loud applause, but Fairy Godmother was having none of it and sped off swiftly back to the sandy caravan.

When Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband first came to Spain, and especially when their family were staying with them, they would carry beach chairs, an umbrella, and a huge cool-box. Bags filled with beach towels, and buckets and spades were all lugged to the beach. Once they found a spot to set up camp, Handy Husband would produce his rubber hammer which he used to knock the umbrella deep into the sand - just in case anyone was garrotted should a gust of wind attempt to blow it over.

Then they would settle down to enjoy the cool sea breezes, a clear blue sky, and watch the white frothy waves break and disperse silently onto the sand. As soon as their eyes began to droop, a looky-looky man would appear from nowhere with a box of sunglasses in his hand. Well they used to be called looky-looky men, but nowadays their catch-phrases are usually ‘lovely-jubbly’ or ‘cheaper than Primark.’ They must all have the same Sales Manager, because the, man selling hand-bags, and another selling dresses and beach towels, have exactly the same patter.

After resisting the retail therapy, they are usually approached by one of the oriental masseuses, to be offered a rub-down on the beach. One day Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband decided to count how many times they would be asked, ‘Massaj?’ After two hours they had counted twenty-five, so they gave up counting after that and pretended to be asleep.

There is always something interesting to see on the beach, like the Dads and Granddads who spend hours with children building sand structures. Handy Husband has always enjoyed this pursuit and has many photographs taken with the grandchildren, proudly showing off their creations.

One day Handy Husband and grandson had just completed their mini-city made of sand and had slipped off to buy a celebratory ice-cream. Fairy Godmother, returning from a dip in the sea, accidently trod on their handiwork as she made her way back to her sun-lounger. When Handy Husband and grandson returned, they were mortified to see that their mini-city had been bombed, asking Fairy Godmother what had happened. Fairy Godmother, with her fingers crossed behind her back and hoping her nose wouldn’t grow, told them she had seen some children playing football and maybe one of them had accidentally trodden on their masterpiece!!

Nowadays Fairy Godmother and Handy Husband travel much lighter to the beach, preferring to hire sun-loungers and an umbrella close to the beach bar, although they still take their favourite cheese and onion rolls.

Their day usually goes like this; snooze, read, walk along the beach, paddle in the sea, a glass of wine and a beer at the Beach Bar, prompting another snooze, and if they feel really naughty a white chocolate Magnum ice lolly – PERFECT.

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