Ever since the sun first showed its face this Spring, I've been craving the taste of salt on my tongue and the sight of tiny toes splashing in the shallows.
I've been imagining my adventurous little boy gazing out across the wide horizon and picturing chubby fingers raking through wet sand.
And even though such imaginings can sometimes dull the wonder of reality, John's first trip to the seaside was everything that I imagined and more.
He buried his hands deep into the sand, scooped up pebbles in his fists, waded deep into the ocean without a care for the cold, and squealed with delight at the sight of the waves.
He ate mouthfuls of sand with just a shudder and a grimace, got smeared in suncream thick and sticky as treacle, ran about in a nappy sodden with sea-water, ate chips dunked in sand as though it was ketchup, fell into the hole that Daddy dug over and over again and eventually turned blue with cold, without ever letting it quench his delight.
And as we watched him thrill at the wonder of the wide horizon and marvel at the consistency of wet sand, we all felt the simple joy of the seaside overcome us with a childish sort of glee and wondered how we could possibly have forgotten that the beach was nature's most magical and majestic type of playground.