We accepted an invitation to the beach, Nick and Anna style. Or really just Anna style. Nick is conscripted to attend the beach while Anna is an enthusiast. Elf is also not a beach natural while I have always been fond of a simple swim in the sea.
Anna's family have a shack (called The Cottage) at Dodges Ferry (which is called Bally Park by them for some reason). Anna's sister Rosie, husband Stuart and two kids (why do we ALL have 2 kids?) were along as well. They are hardened beach people.
We however are relative amateurs at Family Beach. I have done a lot of Solo Beach but there is a lot more to consider and plan for with yer nappies, yer hole in the ozone layer, yer picky eaters who pull their sandwiches apart and drop all fillings in the sand etc etc. Not to mention the omnipresent danger of drowning. As Elf said while we were trying to pack up to go home "Tell me again - why do people go to the beach?"
But I had fun, the kids had a ball and Elf did most of the hard work but didn't complain. Marcus discovered "surfing" - lying on a boogie board while someone else works up a sweat towing you. Michael nuded about - definitely the best bot on the beach. I hope we will get better at it all and next time Elf can read one of her wistful-but-confident books while I do the parenting.
The Bergers' cottage is shaded by two immense pine trees. Anna's parents have cordoned off half of their large block and put it up for sale, and Anna told me they need to sell the land to pay for the "management" of the pine trees. An arborist gave them a quote of $20,000 (or it might have been $40,000) to make them safe - at present they are liable to drop a big branch on a kiddie any time.