Sunday, November 18, 2007

A trip down memory lane

Last weekend was very special indeed. To celebrate what would have been my "Papa's" 80th Birthday, Mum, my sister Kate, Ian, Isla and I made the drive to Bawley Point to scatter his ashes. Bawley Point is where we would holiday as children, either with Mum & Dad, or more often, with Nan and Pap. We had a simple set up down there, just a caravan and an annex, but it was the best place on Earth. I have so many wonderful memories from my childhood days spent at Racecourse Beach, like putting on concerts for the grown ups, playing totem tennis with my cousins or swimming for hours while Nan and Libby sat patiently on the beach and waited for us to finish.I'm sure that Papa would have loved the spot that we picked for him over in the rock pools, he has a wonderful view of the beach and the lighthouse at night. The rock pools were chosen because Pap loved to look in them for crabs for his fishing, and once we'd decided on where we'd scatter his ashes, the most wonderful warm breeze enveloped us like a sign from Pap that this was the place for him. When two little crabs scuttled across the rocks after he was scattered, we knew that he was happy.

It was quite surreal to go back to Bawley after a long time away. I was 13 or 14 the last time we went down there and almost everything has changed which is quite sad really. The place itself is still beautiful, we stayed in a Beachfront Villa and the view was great, but all the things I remembered about Bawley were changed or missing. There were no caravans or annexes, no tents or open land that were used as camping fields when we used to go down there. The tractor is missing from the playground, but the tunnel is still there. There's a big in-ground swimming pool, a gaming room, mini-golf and the old tennis courts are still there.

Isla had her first encounter with the surf not long after we arrived on Friday and loved it, although she was a little frightened at first. She squealed and laughed the entire time, it was such a beautiful moment to watch. We built some pretty impressive sandcastles then returned to the Villa to feed some ducks before venturing over to the playground while we waited for Ian to arrive. That night we sat outside and listened to the crashing of the waves and watched a little family of possums running around alongside the Villa, who were tame enough to feed by hand.

Saturday we went over to South Beach (or Shelley Beach as it's formally known) and it was picturesque. The aqua water lapping genlty on the sandy shore was even more beautiful than I had remembered. Isla was keen to get back into the surf, if only up to her knees! She once again had a wonderful time splashing about, alternating between holding my hand and Nana's. Ian and I attempted to take her out a little further, much to her disgust, and she was promptly heard crying "Nana, save me!". We built more sandcastles, collected shells and pebbles then went back to the Villa for lunch and a long relaxing sleep. Later that afternoon we went back to the playground where Isla had an almighty fall off the swing (see action shot!). She let go mid air and landed on her head, the rest of her body collapsing on top of her like a rag doll. I was certain that she had broken something, but after a few tears she was back on the slippery dip, but not too interested in the swing anymore.

Sunday, Ian left early to beat the traffic in time to have some time on his own at home, so we went around to Kioloa for a swim. Kioloa hasn't changed at all the boat ramp and the general store seem unaltered which is nice. We didn't explore the rockpools around the boat ramp like we used to when Nan and Pap took us down there, so unfortunately there were no stingray sightings on this trip. We only managed to stay there for about half an hour because the heat was so intense - all of us were covered in sunscreen and we still went pink! The walk back to the car lasted almost as long as the stay at the beach, with Isla insisting on picking up numerous pebbles and shells and looking for pippi's.

It was a great weekend, I'm so greatful to Mum for taking us down there, it really was what the doctor ordered!