And I would walk five hundred miles…

And I would walk five hundred more…*sings obnoxiously in hideously inaccurate Scottish accent*

If there was a memo, I’ve missed it. I don’t understand.

The practise seemed even more prevalent in Laredo…

Since I’ve been here I’ve noticed that its a “thing” for three quarters of the beach population to walk, nay stride, purposely up and down the length of the beach, back and forth, like ants carrying food to their nest under the watchful eye of their queen…ok where exactly do I think I’m going with this?

I don’t now if its just me, but it all seems a little bit strange… When I, for one, am on the beach, I…well…beach myself, like a whale…in the optimum “sunbathing position”…basting in Hawaiian Tropic. I refuse to move other than to lightly toast (read: burn) my other side or if I near mummify from dehydration (naughty, don’t actually do this).

I’m starting to think this is the reason why google didn’t bother mapping Lidls in Laredo, or any of the supermarkets for that matter (I’m totally over it….totally…), it would have been too hard to photoshop out all of the “ants” obscuring the view.

Out of pure curiosity, I decided to partake in this bizarre activity, and have concluded that it looks suspiciously like exercise…

Am I skinny yet?

P.S. Do you “walk the walk”? If so, why? It it just for the lols, the exercise *shudder* or is there a secret underground practise I don’t know about ‘coz I’m English?

P.P.S. My “research” walk along Benicassim beach was actually quite pleasant. I would have done it again but that’s my monthly exercise quota all used up…

Shits and giggles…

Well here I am again with another poo related post for you. “Matter” for those of you with a more sensitive stomach…

Don’t lie, you’ve been waiting for this all week.

Well there I was, going about my daily business, making sandcastles and building ‘mountains’ with the kids when all of a sudden, the baby freezes and pulls that face. The “yes I’m taking a shit, right here right now, am I cute or am I cute?” face.

So what? You ask. Take off his nappy and throw it away…

He wasn’t wearing a nappy.

Or swimming trunks.

He pooed directly onto the sand.

We had to scoop it up in a spare plastic bag. It was like we’d suddenly acquired a chihuahua. I bloody hate dogs.

When I went to pick him up to carry him home, he started weeing.

Excuse me while I go lay down in a dark room….

What is life?

P.S. I now have a full and hearty appreciation for the invention of the pooper scooper.

P.P.S. He found this absolutely hilarious, and has now learnt to say “caca”. In fact, he said it this morning while holding his stomach and smiling knowingly. I had a nice present to deal with then too…

What not to do at the beach…

Aside from the aforementioned perils associated with beach-going (invest in a good pair of sunglasses, the dark tinted ones obscure the jiggle a little), there are a number of things about the beach that just down right piss me off. Want me to share? Well I’m going to anyway…

Would it be absolute sacrilege to say that at times, I wish I didn’t have to go to the beach every day? Yes? *Runs (haha jk, fast walks)…away…quickly…*

Here is my list of what not to do at the beach…

1) Invade someone’s personal space…

With 2 miles of gorgeous, sandy beach, why do people feel they have to set up camp directly next to you? This happened to me today and I spent the whole time not reading my book and instead doing the whole I’m-looking-at-you-looking-at-me-isn’t-this-awkward thing. Such fun!

2) Bring kids…

See aforementioned post ‘Shits and giggles…’. Add to this the fact that they dig holes for you, unawares, to fall in to, run past you kicking sand onto your towel (cardinal sin), scream, shout, fight, throw frisbees and balls at your head (four times in one day!), throw tantrums and splash you with freezing cold water. As an Au Pair I am guilty of this. I am deeply sorry.

3) Inadvertently or purposely put sand on someone else’s towel…or your own for that matter…

I know I mentioned this above but I think it warrants it’s own bullet point, don’t you? Sand on towel generally means getting sand in places sand should never be…you know what I’m talking about…. It also seems to disappear until a completely inappropriate moment, five months post holiday, when a weeks worth of debris (or in my case 3 months worth) materialises out of nowhere… I think my suitcase was already two parts sand before I even started packing for this trip.

4) Strike up a conversation with a stranger…

Ok so this one doesn’t always apply but since I got out here, I am constantly being approached by dubious members of the elderly population who are intent on cooing over the kids. One guy just sat and shouted things at us. It’s creepy. At first my Spanish was so rusty I couldn’t even understand what they were saying…if you’re ever in this situation, smile and wave boys, smile and wave…

I would hedge bets  that you’re much safer on this front in England…

5) Throw litter/otherwise pollute…

It’s just gross, and dirty. And don’t you just hate it when the person who has just placed their towel inappropriately close to yours, pulls out a cigarette and starts smoking. Is it just me?

6) Be ridiculously hot / exit the water like Ursula Andress…

If you’re female, it’s just not fair, especially as I haven’t shaved my legs and my hair has inflated to mane like proportions (thanks 83% humidity). If you’re male, you are distracting me from broadening my knowledge base through the art of reading (lol jk I’m actually reading Cosmo…I totally read all of the requisite books for GCSE English…from start to finish….)

Well there you go. Have I missed anything? Is there anything you’d add to my list?

As an added little bonus, here is “Dear beach, 10 things I hate about you…”

Sand in bits, pits and tits

Sand on towel

Sand in handbag

Sand in kindle

Sand in ice cream

Sand in between toes

Sand in…(oh who am I kidding, sand full stop…nasty bugger)

Having to do things other than lying beached like a whale (occupational hazard, don’t become an Au Pair)

Overheating (the worst!)

Getting burnt

Having to pack everything up to go to the loo/buy drink/ buy ice cream as you die from the heat, then having to unpack to resume sunbathing

Well, I hope that was rant-y enough for you..

P.S. If you didn’t get the Madagascar reference, what are you doing with your life? Ditto the Miranda reference if you’re in the UK.

Pits, tits and wobbly bits…

The European beach…

Long stretches of fine, golden sand and clear, azure water; cloudless skies painted with a watercolour sunset, swaying palms…

Well….that and a few added extras…of the wobbly kind…

We British are prudes. Whether we like to admit it or not.

If you head down to say….Southend beach, you’ll see people hiding a multitude of sins beneath wraps, sarongs, shorts, tshirts, beach dresses, and in some cases, Jeans! Actually in quite a lot of cases, on the hottest day in August you’ll still see some nutter walking down the street in a leather jacket (probably a testament and a middle finger up to the fact we’re lucky to get five days of good weather…) We are so hung up about our bodies, we have pioneered new ways of artfully tying our towels (Ooooh look! No hands *shimmies to demonstrate the non-falling-down-ness of said towel….runway walk…and pose….and pose*).

In Europe, however, the rule is: if you’ve got it, flaunt it; if you don’t got it, fuck it, flaunt it anyway.

For the duration of my stay, my views of the ocean have been partially obscured by wayward exposed tits, arses and spare tyres, cellulite and sagging skin.

It’s bloody fantastic.

Never have I ever felt so at ease showing some skin in a public place. Not that I’ve actually shown any more skin than normal…no really…stop it , I’m serious….you have such dirty minds…

I’ve gone back and forth on the “to tatas or not to tatas” debate (I’m sure it’s what Shakespeare actually wanted to write about…it just wasn’t era appropriate) and have, until now, settled on no tatas (No Sex Please, We’re British….oooh and just think of the sunburn. Don’t even get me started on the hazards of g string bikinis…did you read that story in the mail a few years ago?)

For me, this liberation is reminiscent of my holiday a few years back to Tenerife, where there was more German schnitzel than, well….German schnitzel… Back then, I was horrified. Now, I appreciate the charm…

Young or old, fat or thin, pale or tanned…here it just hunkey-dorey to let it all hang out.

Maybe it’s the heat that’s getting to me…I’m sounding decidedly un-British.

Excuse me while I go wear an actual bikini, sans cover-up (shock, horror!) to the beach…

*Does bikini strut…falls into hole that some tearaway has dug in the sand*

P.S. No, I am not just about to run off and join a nudist society, I said I was wearing a bikini…a bikini…oh I give up…

P.P.S. I’m not saying the view was always a particularly nice one…trust me, I’ve seen some things I can never un-see…on the other hand, that group of French boys….ooh la la indeed…

P.P.P.S. Legs or hotdogs ;P

Talking crap…

This brings us nicely onto our first topic of discussion; which is shit…

I’m not saying that the topic I’m writing about is rubbish, I’m talking actual feacial matter. The human kind.

I apologise for the bluntness of this post, I think I’m a little bit in shock (or maybe its just the fumes), and I just can’t bring myself to sugar coat it…oh god…the imagery…sorry! Stop reading now if you’re squeamish!

did tell you I was underpaid!

This morning (EDIT: not this morning, see earlier postscripts), I woke up to an actual indoor farmyard. Old McDonald had moved in, unpacked his suitcases and set up the pig pens. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. There was so much matter, shall we call it, in the baby’s nappy, I could have made myself a fortune at Cash for Gold (yes, there is one here).

At this point in time, he could literally shit the Taj Mahal and I wouldn’t be surprised.

The smell was one thing, but the fact that I actually had to change this nappy was a whole other kettle of fish. If you are planning on being an Au Pair to a baby, consider this very carefully!

It took an entire morning with two doors and a window open to clear the air. Thank god we’re here in Laredo, in the 30-40 degree heat of Benicassim it would have spelled instant death.

 If that wasn’t enough, later that day I had two more matter related incidents with the little girl…

The first; she barged in on me in the bathroom (luckily I was just washing my hands), sat on the toilet and then proceeded to announce “tengo muchas cacitas”, read: “I have lots of poo” and pull a face like the angry hulk.

The second; after a long morning at the beach, I showered her and washed her hair. After towelling her dry, she bent over and told me she had sand in her bum…

…which I had to wipe out…

Now I don’t know what the appropriate reaction to this should be. I am of the the keep calm and carry on kind, and only let it bother me mildly, I soldiered on through, but I don’t know if I should actually have been horrified. I know for one that I have friends that would have been running for the hills at the first whiff of any human substances (and there were many more I had to deal with, read: sick, wee….). Have I forever lost any claim to glamour?

What do you think?

P.S. Handy hint: If, while at a park, playground or any other public space, the baby in your care goes suspiciously quiet and is standing still, straddling a part of the swing structure and looking pensive, he is shitting. Just putting that out there.

And if the four year old tells you she needs to wee, she means now, her body has yet to provide her with the gift of forewarning…