I headed out this morning with the intention of going to the beach to look at sand sculptures on the theme ‘Once Upon a Time’. So, once upon a time, a lady named Jacques aka Squarebird headed off with a pack of ploughman’s sandwiches, a bottled drink and some crisps (a Meal deal) and began the first leg of her journey towards the sea. The clouds beckoned her onwards, changing shape into magical sea horses with wispy tails and manes which danced in the breeze.
She passes the sight of pale ochre grazing cattle and idyllic detached houses with beautiful amethyst framing the windows and doors. ‘Ah ha!’ She chirped, ‘that house is perfect, if I had £600,000 to spare!’ White-washed walls and gridded windows glistened against the rays of the sun. A chocolate box vision that would also make a perfect picture for a future jigsaw puzzle.
A turning to the right and a lane lined with trees directed Jacques to a Farm. She found a tiny yellow flower and pressed it gently in her sketchbook as three passing cyclists adjusted their Lycra shorts and cycling hats. She stopped for coffee and listened to the mutterings of elderly punters and observed a younger woman tip over a glass. The flowers in her vase on the table drooped in the heat and were in desperate need of a drink.
Jacques returned to the road and indicated right, wondering if she’s get to the beach. The farm had been so peaceful. Just a bit further, she thought.
A large expanse of blue appeared and an icecream van. She pulled up, seizing the opportunity to not eat an icecream but snap away with her camera at the gathering of ducks and geese on the lake. She didn’t stay long. Too much traffic interrupted her thoughts.
The road ahead was empty of cars. Both windows let blasts of cool air to fan her face. Normally she would have a CD playing. Not this time. She preferred the sounds of the tyres on the asphalt, the rumble of the exhaust and a helicopter flying overhead.
Just before the road started to bend to the left, Jacques noticed a sign about picture restoration, antiques and framing. It’s not often she’s allowed to sift through bric-a-brac. She wondered if there would be something small she could take back home. A momento of her journey to the sea.
Parking up and gathering her bag, she got out the car and saw a stunning view of a waterfall. The stream that had dainty white flowers scattered among the reeds. Another photo opportunity!
She followed the meandering stream, passing a pub and some tudor looking properties with the striking white walls and black beams. The antique store was at the far end and was accessed via a sort of carport open barn. The notice on the table as you entered permitted you to take what you liked of mounting board offcuts. She selected a few of different sizes before browsing upstairs where there were war curiosities, plates and glassware to suit all tastes, but Jacques was only browsing! She let out a small squeal at the sight of a pie blackbird. Her late gran had one of those. The pastry would be laid like a thick blanket over chopped apple and blackberries and the bird’s ceramic beak would pierce through the shortcrust pastry to let the steam out.
By the time Jacques left the old curiosity antique store it was too late to go to the beach, but her heart was joyful. She’d been allowed to relax and become a child again, reminiscing and glimpsing old childhood toys and annuals she read as a little girl.
It took longer getting back. The roads were busier, but it was still warm enough to drive with the windows open. She went through country lanes and suddenly spotted a cream two-seated sofa on the side of the road with a sign which announced it was ‘free to take’. It wouldn’t fit in her car, but her husband, who had just returned home from work, managed to remove the seats in his.
Ahhh, she thought, when she eventually sat down on the new sofa, perfect! It fits!