Great Aunty Breezes In

Great Aunty Breezes In

A Story by Christine

Story of family visit to Bognor Regis. All the joys of the seaside.


I travel by train as befits a Great Aunty and arrive in Bognor Regis for a few days by the sea. My sister's house is large and I have a bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor. On my annual visit, I am quickly roped in to look after any one of a growing tribe of my sister's grandchildren. Henry is the youngest, a contented chubby baby who sleeps most of the time. Next comes Sophia, ten months old, who almost melts into me as I hold her on my lap. Then comes Isabelle, Bells for short, a beautiful platinum blond three year old, who quite clearly knows her own mind. The oldest, for this visit anyway, is Elliot, a charming four year old, and about to start school. He and Isabelle are inseparable and Granny and Grandad's is their playground. They play endless games of make believe or bicker about who has the best rucksack.

When not child minding I borrow a bike and ride into town with Fran, my daughter, who has come to join us from Brighton. We ride off into the distance along cycle paths till we reach the seafront, then negotiate tourists and the small train which trundles up and down bearing families and a noisy hen party. We paddle in the sea, still warm for September, and, looking for shells, notice that some are moving of their own accord. I pick one up and am fascinated to discover a flurry of legs being quickly pulled inside. These are hermit crabs, something we have never seen before. We realise there are lots of them, and have to tread carefully to avoid crushing them. The hen party are in the sea by this time, screeching at a group of young men, “Off off off!” It crosses my mind how unlucky they are not to be seeing what we are seeing, but I guess they're having a different kind of fun.

In my last days at my sister's I am drawn into plans for the garden. There is an idea to build a brick wall to hide the polytunnel which covers the swimming pool. But first there is a lot of messy fuchsia and honeysuckle to be cut down. The idea is discarded as impractical eventually, and instead I suggest they grow herbs along the length of the conservatory, instead of the muddle of mostly flowerless shrubs growing there. In return for their hospitality I set about digging up the beds there ready for planting. It's a bit of a busman's holiday for me, being a gardener, but I can never resist the challenge of a garden project.

There is a final tradition to be observed before I come home, so on my last evening we set up the board and play scrabble, and though usually a very civilised pair of sisters, our competitive streak emerges and neither of us gives any quarter.

That's my holiday for this year. I love to visit this busy household, where I become Great Aunty Christine, and can step out of my own life and briefly surrender responsibility in a helter skelter of babies, young children and lovely lovely seaside.

I'll be back!!!

© 2014 Christine

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Quite an enjoyable read. Until the last two years, I never grew a garden. Now, I can't wait till spring. Thanks for taking me along on that pleasant visit with your sister.

Posted 5 Years Ago


5 Years Ago

Thanks Samuel, glad you've discovered gardening. For me it's a life saver, where all worries disappe.. read more

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1 Review
Added on September 30, 2014
Last Updated on October 1, 2014
Tags: Bognor Regis, seaside, sea, grandchildren, hermit crabs, crabs, paddling



Hereford, Herefordshire, United Kingdom

Hi, I am a mother of two grown up daughters. I work as a gardener and have been writing for many years. I love to write poems and I belong to a poetry group, but also I write children's stories, esp.. more..