Sunday, June 28, 2015

midsummer merthyr

My excuse for largely ignoring Father's Day up to now has been: well, its falling on the third Sunday in June means it's never more than a week or so from my own father's birthday, so a card and some minor celebration for that pretty much takes care of it.

Obviously now I am a father twice over I'm all over Father's Day like a rash. To the accompanying charge of hypocrisy I say: guilty as charged. Now bring on the cards, and have my adoring children scrubbed and set before me at a respectful distance.

Since my lovely wife had bought the girls a couple of matching T-shirts this year we decided to go and take some impromptu photos in the garden, which I think came out rather well. We also did a quick jaunt over to the RSPB reserve at Nash (one of our regular haunts) for some fresh air and a short walk punctuated by a couple of impressive threenager-style tantrums from Nia.

Only a few days later it was our fourth wedding anniversary - apparently the occasion for gifts themed around linen, silk, fruit, flowers, or electrical appliances, depending on whose bullshit list of stuff you adhere to. I suppose if you bought your spouse a juicer wrapped in a floral-patterned linen bag that would tick most of the boxes. Anyway, rather than get sidetracked by any of that nonsense, and since the weather forecast was good, we decided to have a day at the beach. As we hadn't been there before and it looked interesting, we went over to Merthyr Mawr between Ogmore and Porthcawl. What you'll discover if you visit is that even if you park up in the car park below Candleston Castle, the nearest point of access, you've still got a walk of a mile or so across some steep sand dunes to get to the beach - no joke if you've got a three-year-old, a twelve-week-old and a load of gear with you. Additionally, since the Ordnance Survey apparently consider the well-established dunes to be a transient coastal feature, they don't bother putting any contour info on the maps, so you really just have to pick your way along whatever looks like the best path as you go along.

The upside of all that effort, though, is that when you get to the beach the likelihood is that it'll be largely deserted - we had the mile-and-a-half stretch to ourselves apart from a couple of horse-riders and a couple of joggers. We managed to find a flatter way back later by walking south-east down the beach, finding a path upstream along the banks of the River Ogmore, and then cutting inland back to the car park.

It was a hot and breezy day, so as a responsible parent I urge you to remember to get plenty of sunblock on your kids. I do also urge you, however, not to do what we did and be so preoccupied with doing this that you forget to put any on yourself. Both Hazel and I were sporting some pretty spectacular sunburn by the time we got home.

Photos can be found here.

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