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I always see people sharing on social media about their perfect family beach days. But sometimes I find beach days can be a bit of a bloody nightmare to be honest! During our recent holiday in Suffolk, we decided to visit Southwold Beach. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely place and a great family day out. But we just had a really unfortunate day when we visited, and a catalogue of things went wrong!! So I thought I’d write about our disastrous family beach day, just in case you, like me, sometimes look wistfully at everyone else’s dreamy days out and wonder why yours go horrifically wrong!!
The main issue was that we completely underestimated just how flipping BUSY Southwold would be. Which was really stupid, let’s be honest, as it was the summer holidays and Covid had scuppered many people’s travel plans abroad.
With hindsight (always a wonderful thing!) we should have got there super early. As we are total muppets however, we didn’t get there until about half 11…
So we queued in traffic for aaages just to even get into the town…
Then we drove around for literally AN HOUR looking for somewhere to park.
We drove round one of the main car parks a few times. It was completely full with a long queue of cars driving round and round. So it was pure luck if you happened to be in just the right place when a car was leaving. Which of course we never were!
Grr, the frustration of seeing loads of cars, that you KNEW came in after you, find spaces! Not the end of the world of course, but stressful AF when you have two whinging children in the back!
Anyway, after accidentally driving out of town then having to wait in an even longer queue to get back in (at which point we did nearly give up!) we found a small car park a little further out. I think it was a bit of an unofficial one as there were no spaces marked out or anything. Which meant people had parked like absolute bellends. And there was only one entrance/exit so it was basically a giant game of Tetris trying to get in or out, never mind actually park.
Thankfully we did eventually manage to get in and find a space – thank the LORD!!
The next disaster was trying to find some lunch!
What with Covid-19, most places are just taking card payments at the moment. So we had no cash on us at all. Surprisingly, the first place we looked at was cash only. But we only found out after we’d been queueing for a while of course!
We then headed into the town thinking fish and chips might be nice instead. We started queueing outside one restaurant, but we realised after about ten minutes that it was going to take forever and was probably a bit posh for us anyway! Only the twigs actually eat fish out of the four of us so it seemed silly paying for premium fish and chips!
So we headed back down to the beach as we really just wanted somewhere quick. The twigs were in full-on whinge mode by now. We found another place on the front and started waiting in yet another queue.
A lady actually came up to have a giggle about the fact H was wearing a tee with the slogan ‘Livin’ My Best Life’ (from the new Stacey Solomon range at Primark) yet was moaning his head off for all to hear. CRINGE!
Anyway, we finally got to the front and ordered. For them to say it was flipping cash only. It turned out there was a problem with signal in the whole area which meant that no card machine systems were working! So just for that afternoon, nowhere was taking card! NIGHTMARE.
So the other half had to walk down to the pier to get cash out, while I waited with the moaniest children on the planet. They were getting seriously hangry by this point!
After what felt like ages, he called me and said he couldn’t find the cash point. So I had to ask the lady in the kiosk where it was and try to explain down the phone to him. Eventually, he made it back, paid and we then waited for our food.
Once we’d eaten, everyone felt a bit cheerier. So I hoped maybe things might be looking up.
Sadly it didn’t last long…
Going to the beach
We set off finding a spot to settle ourselves on the beach. Where we were sitting for lunch was right in the busiest part. While it would have been possible to stay distanced from others, I knew I’d feel more comfortable in a quieter section. So we started walking back in the direction of the car, as the beach there had been lovely.
C was not impressed though. She started really kicking off as she just wanted to get on the beach straightaway. Now C can be an extremely stubborn little moo sometimes, and if she’s not happy about something, you know about it! As does everyone within a five-mile radius…
Anyway we eventually got to the end of the promenade, practically dragging her. It was a little bit further to where we wanted to go, and we realised the little kiosk beside us would be the last chance to get an ice cream. (We’d already said they could have one after lunch.)
Of course there was a humungous queue! So we joined the end of it. And C completely lost her shiz. She made suuuch a fuss that we had to abandon the ice cream plans.
We carried on walking round to the quieter part of the beach, found a spot and started putting out a couple of towels. C finally quietened down and started playing in the sand.
Aaaaand then H realised we weren’t getting an ice cream. (Love a good delayed reaction!) So he then proceeded to have an almighty tantrum.
And of course because we were in such a lovely quiet area, it meant eeeveryone nearby could hear. He then got even more worked up because sand started sticking to the tears on his face. So he tried to rub it off with his sandy hands (you know where this is going right!) Then he went completely nuts because he ended up with sand in his eyes.
Suffice to say, this went on for a while.
We eventually managed to calm him down through sand removal and cuddles and promises of an ice cream later on. Then the twigs got changed into their swimming stuff and they actually had a lovely ten or so minutes of utter JOY splashing in the waves. It almost made up for all the utter crap leading up to it! (Almost!)
So we had a lovely half an hour or so on the beach, and then it was pretty much time to head back. We visited the public loos (yet another bloody queue!) then went back to the car. As we were getting the twigs changed back into their normal clothes, we realised we only had one of H’s trainers.
We had no idea when or where we’d lost it – it must have slipped out of the bag at some point. Super annoying as they weren’t old and still fitted fine. At this point none of us could face going back to look for it – it could have been anywhere! So we had to admit defeat and plan to visit to a supermarket to pick up a cheap pair for him.
Just one more crappy thing to round off a day of crappy things!!
So that’s about it – our disastrous family beach day! Nothing major but just one of those stressful days where everything is against you!
A little note to finish…
By the way, please don’t think I’m ungrateful – I’m not. I know I’m super lucky to be able to have days out to nice places with my family.
BUT I just like to share the stressful side of parenting so others know they’re not alone! It can be all too easy to compare, when it looks like others are having all these amazing idyllic days out… Just know you’re not alone – everyone has rubbish ones too!!
Have you had any disaster days out recently?
Til next time,
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