Our end of summer tradition

I like to think that I’ll always have these long holidays, especially these extra-large, indulgent slices of Summer. It’s most certainly a perk of the job. I’ll tell you that for free.

And as the end of the Summer holiday rolls around, I like to mark it with something special and different, that makes the most of this wonderful period of freedom and sunshine and warm weather.

So this year, I booked for Oli and I to go windsurfing. In Poole Harbour. As an end of Summer treat. A final salute to this wonderful time of year. To end the holiday with a bang…or a splash!

We’ve been windsurfing before, whilst we were on holiday in Fuerteventura last October. Admittedly, I spent most of the four-hour lesson in the baking sun, falling off the board backwards into the sea, bruising my knees as I hurled myself back onto the board repetitively, swallowing plenty of sea water and almost choking on a mouthful of seaweed. It was not a glamorous affair. Not at all.

But it was fun. And I eventually got the hang of it. Well, kind of. But more to the point, Oli loved it. He’s brilliant at pretty much any sport, be it on land, air or sea (I’m actually not sure if he’s partaken in any air related sports, come to think of it, what are air related sports?) He took to windsurfing like a duck to water, well a windsurf to wind actually.

We’d planned to go windsurfing again when we were on holiday in France recently but it never really happened. So I decided to treat and surprise him with a windsurfing session closer to home. And Poole was where we went with a company called Poole Windsurfing and I couldn’t recommend them enough. I hired us two loads of equipment for two hours and I was so impressed with the quality of both the equipment and service we recieved. The wetsuits and shoes (included in the £13 an hour hire price) were in particularly good condition, they were pretty much brand new. The guys running the place were friendly and helpful and we had a thoroughly brilliant time. I’m still not a pro windsurfer, I still fell off a lot, both forwards and backwards this time, I swallowed a lot of seawater again and most probably inhaled a fish or two whilst I lay in the water spluttering. But once again it was fun and I managed to stand on the board, balanced and moving with the wind in my sail. Oli was zooming about all over the place with a big smile on his face, which made my heart happy. And it was lovely being in the sea for probably the last time this year.

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Windsurfing is exhausting, there wasn’t a muscle in my body that wasn’t used during that two hours. Even my toes were working overtime, scrunched up, gripping the board underfoot, rooting me in position. When our session was up, we peeled of the wetsuits and went in search of a much-needed and well deserved ice-cream. I settled on salted caramel and Oli chose cookies and cream. It was the perfect reward.

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We sat and licked away at our last ice-cream of the summer on the beach, admiring the white sand and blue sea. I’d set my sights on journeying on to Durdle Door, as Oli had never been before and it’s beauty was only 45 minutes away. So we hit the road and soon enough we were walking down a rocky path and near vertical steps, to gaze at the naturally formed archway in the sea.

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It was such a beautiful evening to end an overcast day. There’s something quite serene about the coastline in the evening. The mad heated hustle and bustle, bucket and spade traffic of the bulk of the day has faded and sticky children and tired parents are usually crammed into their cars and trundling along the motorway at this hour. And there’s a relaxed haze about the place. As the day is packed away, there’s a kind of peaceful privacy left for those who linger. I love it.

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Oli was very enamoured at the beauty of Durdle so we took ourselves further on to look at Lulworth Cove too, seeing as we were pretty much there. It was beautiful, filled with cute little chocolate box cottages and the smell of fish and chips. We walked back up to the Durdle Door carpark (which was a hideously steep, seemingly never endingly steep walk) and drove the back car down to Lulworth, where we grabbed some fish and chips which we devoured whilst gazing out to a darkening sea.

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It was one of those days that felt so far removed from normal life and home and so full of fun and lovely things that it felt like a mini holiday. It was really quite wonderful. I hope that we will always make space for our end of summer tradition.

Thank you Summer, once again, you’ve been a truly marvellous season. I salute you.

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