Thursday, 13 August 2009

The Beach

The sand's soft, the sea clear. Where water meets sky, barely-there horizon, darker blue-gray, delineating the shimmering silver. Sunny. A stretch of coastline, golden croissant, encrusted with the colour and energy of holiday fun. Barbecue wafts across. Teenagers spray sand. A toddler, tiny hippo, padding. Red inflatable maneouvres diagonally, past muslim family, mums splashing fully garmented. My kids line up another shade and shape of fresh seaweed, no smell, newly collected, emerald green. It's hot. It's calm. I sigh and stretch. Happiness.

Surprise? We're in England! Could be anywhere bar the little beach huts in a row, some with striped curtains, and - yes, that obese couple over there with the footie shirts on, matching the (too round) hippo toddler with a aertex tee proclaiming: "Rooney...ROONEY" (no, geezer. Not with that unhealthy physical start in life, sorry). But there's no 'English tourist abroad' misbehaviour here. It's all lovely, well-behaved, pleasant, everyone's having fun. It's a nice England, this stretch of little cheap paradise, boutique seaside town, without the brash corn of Tracey Emin's Margate - thank God. Perhaps this country would need a prescription of sun and sea more often, to forget the governmental screw-ups, knife crime, unemployment and endemic drinking culture. Because I'm enjoying this moment, not feeling like I want to emigrate (as I often do) and even thinking - "yes! you've got it all here, on this beach,on this...what is it you call it in 2009?: 'STAYCATION'!!...and we didn't even have to spend the money! Hurray!"

Then I start thinking that I can't, shouldn't, be 40 and broke. Of course, my husband doesn't come into this: as a woman, I hate - no, detest - no, cannot ABIDE! -not having my own money. Of course, I did have it once. Got injected straight into bricks and mortar. For all practical purse-string-opening-purposes, however, it's gone.(Anyway, I want it back. To do what I'd like with. Splash around, if I wish. And a career of my own, to boot.)

Meanwhile, to my left, my daughter's lugging a bucket almost the size of her, with a uniquely determined set face and little muscles tensed. She manages it. And I smile to myself.

Then I start running over all my business ideas. One website one and one product lightbulb. Or two, if you're thinking future range expansion (I dream deep and wide). I'm staring at the line between sky and sea in the afternoon shimmer and distressing the cogs in my head, turning them this way and that. Doing all the psycho-speak to myself, the neuro-linguistic-programming [look it up folks if you dunno, it can change your outlook] on my own doubts, cropping up here and there across the sea of thoughts and obstructing like those mossy sea-walls break up the bay.

I'm a woman. On the beach. On holiday. Even if only 10 minutes from my parent's house, you can still classify it as that, here, today. In the balmy sunshine. With the kids playing and waves lapping.

But as soon as I chill out into the relaxed zone, I'm in this mental 'office', plotting, thinking, planning. Hmmmm......, if I were rich, successful and on a beach in Bali, with a cocktail in hand, what would I be thinking?.. Would I zone out THEN??....there's the rub.

I'd like to have the chance to find out...

"Mummmy! The tide's coming in!!"


  1. Blimey, where did you come from? Why haven't I spoken to you for the last 13 years?? Hello, I'm I am Sarah, I have 2 children, 13 and 11 now- I paint in between, if you see what I mean?
    See my flickr link on the right? click away-
    I know what you mean about the money. It is an issue within, no one can give you permission but you. Wages for Mothers; how quaint, shall we enforce a league table of attainment??

  2. Will click, Sarah. Paint in between? I would say you PAINT.(man, must get this hyperlinking sorted:
    But, that's an understatement. (Your paintings are beyond beautiful.) And you can put them on a wall, and others can purchase - how I'd wish for that satisfaction (can't put my blog on a wall or buy bits of it - laugh!)
    Wages for mothers - yes. But again, it's the 'inner' wage, the issue within that counts,(as you've so eloquently put it) isn't it? (OR, so says my husband...)! Hmmmm.....hummm......

  3. I do understand the concepts, the deal, as-so-to-speak, that comes with motherhood.It is possible to get great satisfaction from the life, (I'm not saying job, as it's far greater than that)but I feel in a world where everything has had a cost put to it, it is difficult for someone who fights with self-esteem (read, a bit potty, or post-birth, or adjusting to life-as-Mum)to keep hitting the appropriate buttons. Cleaning and maintaining has minimum effect, as these things have to be done over, and over, and over, again. There is no bonus scheme, no holidays and no line-management. We have to put these things in place ourselves..hold on, am I talking to yuor husband here, not you? Thank you for your lovely comments. Blogging (writing) has its own rewards. I'd feel I was a better artist if I could address the issues I write about, in paint.
    ...anyway, to cut a long story, I had to learn to fight my own corner and recognise my own needs, even when those around me thought I was wrong.Cue: flag-waving, cheering-type support for you, from the touch-line. Hope I make sense, I'm trying to be succinct!

  4. Sarah, I don't think you need to address any issues in paint. Your paintings represent and communiate pure FREEDOM. In itself, that's an absence of issues (and as such, priceless in today's world) - keep it up!

  5. P.S. Sarah, follow my blog if you're interested and I will follow your paintings likewise, as I'm interested too!!