It was a typical British day at the beach. The sunshine that lured us to the coast hid its face the second we stepped onto the sand and the wind that whipped across the shore made me send James straight back up the cliff in search of a rainbow-striped windshield.
Sand flew in eddies around our feet, stinging our shins, and out at sea huge rolling waves frothed and foamed in their anticipation to pound their pebbles on the shore.
And so it was with fleeces over our T-shirts and eyes screwed up against the elements that we chased John down the long length of the beach towards the windswept shore.
And there we watched the delight with which he greeted the wind and waves.
We listened to him scream and giggle as torrents of icy water crashed against his chest and saw his eyes light up with delight as Daddy's strong arms swooped him up just as each wave was about to crash violently on his head.
We felt the shift of sand beneath our feet as the waves came and went, we felt the cool water chill our toes and we felt the excitement of the elements stir us deeply within.
And the exhilaration of the moment was so extreme and the joy on John's wet little face was so pure that once he had been swung back up the length of the beach, dried off, wrapped up in a thick woollen sweater and safely deposited with Grandad, James and I threw off our fleeces and ran back down the length of the beach towards the waves on our own.
We ran straight into the surf and we splashed and screamed like children. We felt the cold of the ocean shake the breath from our lungs and then we splashed out towards the horizon, feeling the huge waves lifting our toes from the sea-bed and carrying us along as though we were weightless as seaweed.
And once the cold had turned our skin numb all over and the waves had carried us far out from the shore, we splashed back through the shallows and raced each other up the beach - our bodies streaming across the wet sand, our hearts pumping faster even than our feet and our muscles stretching themselves further than we actually believed possible - and in those tingly, out-of-breath moments I felt more alive than I had done in a very, very long time.