So, the guests are gone. They have left us with a house feeling much quieter than normal and a bereft son and dog. They are both slowly coming to the realization that there are only two adults to play with now, both of whom need to get stuff done that has lapsed during the past two and a half months. Even the Olympics are over – so there is nothing on TV to legitimately distract them with.
What an amazing closing ceremony though – in a fittingly quirky way. I feel quite proud of our little nation, only slightly larger than half of California, 3rd in the medals table and top of the world for putting on an amazing couple of weeks of inspirational sport and partying. I wish we could have been there soaking up the atmosphere, dancing in the streets, or failing that, watching a less US-biased coverage. BBC Sports Personality of the year 2012 is going to be a tough one…
A week spent with our visitors on the Outer Banks has confirmed that I want to live by the sea again. I see myself living in a sun-bleached beach house. Its previous colour was probably blue, but the paint is flaking in an interesting, non-threatening way. All the nautical oddments I have collecting over the years are faded too and have a slightly salty sheen from all the storms that batter that particular part of the coast and make it unattractive to visitors – although us locals know better.
The garden is of course mainly vegetables with a healthy amount of sea holly and lavender. There is nothing between it and a view of the open ocean. Inside the house is a reflection of the outside: filled with interesting shells, bits of driftwood and other items salvaged from the sea.
The journey to the OBX wasn’t great: a long, hot and mainly bad tempered. It was a release to get out of the car and down to the beach with the last rays of the day. I had an almost-broken toe from the night before, so had to content myself with taking pictures of the others jumping in a very warm sea and mucking about in the waves.
G had been prewarned about the masses of little crabs in the ocean that would nip at and scuttle over one’s toes and the need to wear closed in toes – not merely flip-flops, because of the biting. Fortunately there was no biting or crawling over of toes so we were able to spend the rest of the week slopping about in flip-flops. The crabs themselves were mainly mole crabs. They looked like a prehistoric cockroaches and scuttled away quickly from the curious pokes of the two-and-a-quarter year old in our party.
It was very relaxing being at the sea and the week was spent happily exploring, collecting shells and teaching the kids to swim in the sea and body surf. Highlights included a tasty sea feast at Tortegua’s lie (my new favourite restaurant), flying kites on sand-dunes so huge it felt as if we were in the Sahara, spotting a sea-turtle while fishing off Jeanette’s Pier and exploring new beaches and southern fishing hamlets. It seems as if the glitz and cheap-beachiness of other US resorts have not made it across the bridges to that part of the coastline. Perhaps it is the precarious nature of living on a long, thin strip of land where the weather seems more volatile than the mainland?
Long may it remain so – I will definitely be back to explore further and capture the sunrise!