Monday, September 2, 2013

Life's A Beach

I will say right off that I am not, or have ever been, a "Beach Bunny".  Trips to the beach were not a regular part of my childhood, and when we did go, I spent my time building sandcastles or splashing by the shore as I didn't know how to swim.  As an adult, I found that my "quick to tan" skin of my teenage years had changed to "quick to burn", so I don't spend much time sitting in the sun, and when I do, it's wearing 30+ sunblock.   I never did learn how to swim and despite all the items in my wardrobe, a bathing suit that fits is not one of them.  While others cite films like "Beach Blanket Bingo",  or  "Blue Hawaii", as the ideal beach vacation film, I have a soft place in my heart for "Monsieur Hulot's Holiday", a comedy starring and directed by French film maker Jacques Tati.   A black and white film, released in 1953 with a jazz score, and minimal dialogue, it is a masterfully created film, with  brilliant moments of slapstick from Tati, who was a gifted physical comedian.   You can see the film's trailer below where Monsieur Hulot's arrival at the seaside resort disrupts the lives of everyone else there. 


I like to make at least one trip to the beach each summer simply because is one of those things you do in summer, and London is within an hour's drive of a number of beaches along the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Huron and there is a very nice provincial park, The Pinery, that is my favourite.  As it was the last long weekend of summer, my friend Heather (who has a car - did I mention that I don't drive either?) and I packed a lunch, and other beach necessities and headed to the Pinery Provincial Park.  The sky was cloudy but it was warm, and we were optimistic.

I packed my stuff in my awesome Hawaiian-theme beach bag

When we arrived at the entrance to the park, the nice young woman in the booth informed us that "the water isn't safe for swimming due to the very high bacterial content.  If you choose to go swimming, it's at your own risk, but as long as you have a strong immune system and don't ingest any of it, you should be okay."   We looked at each other, and sighed.  Cloudy, AND we can't go in the water.  Good thing we brought food and books.   

A friend had loaned me a bathing suit, which surprisingly, fit perfectly, and was one of the most flattering bathing suits I'd ever worn.  (She may not be getting it back - sorry Marnie!) Since the   beach wasn't crowded I was able to get in one glamour shot using a rather photogenic piece of driftwood as a prop.  You will notice in the background that there are a couple of people braving The Waters of Death.

The essentials - hat, insulated pack with food (broccoli and cranberry salad, quinoa, edamame and almond salad, and watermelon), water, sunscreen, and reading material.   The clouds eventually broke and to our delight, the sun came through.  There was a nice breeze, and the sounds of the waves hitting the shore were just the thing to clear one's head after a stressful week.  That, and the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly with a cover story on Joss Whedon.  Heather chose to read Dystopian fiction on her e-book reader.

After we had spent a sufficient length of time lazing about, we took a walk down the  beach and discovered this sandcastle.  The creator had compensated for the simple shape with some creative ornamentation.

When my family did go to the beach when I was a kid, preparations were pretty simple - a cooler with some snacks, a couple of towels, your bathing suit, and a pail and shovel.   We were amazed at the amount of stuff people had with them - including the people above who had even brought their own fancy wind screen.  People were laden down with multiple coolers, tables, umbrellas, barbeques, chairs, inflatable rafts, toys, etc.  Rather than "getting away from it all", it seemed that they had brought it all with them.

The day ended with a stop at the Lickety Split Ice Cream Parlour in Parkhill on the way home.  Turns out it would take me longer to recover from the sun exposure than the two scoops of ice cream I had....

This is what happens when you think you put sunblock on the backs of both of your legs, but it turns out that you only did one....OWWWWW!  Solarcaine is my friend right now. 

Even though it's only the second day of September, if you work in a University, it means Fall is here, regardless of what the calendar says.  I hope you all had a good holiday weekend, and good luck getting the kids out of bed tomorrow morning!


  1. You look amazing! Kudos for posting your wonderful pin-up girl picture. I hope the burn's pain eases soon. My mother swore by a tepid bath with baking soda.

  2. I have to say Shelley, the bathing suit is a charming fit, and you look stunning!

  3. Gorgeous you! That suit is amazing, but you are amazing! I love sand castles. I love making them and seeing them, so even the simple ones thrill me. I really like all the embellishments on the one you all viewed. Sorry about the burn. I have to be careful with the sun too. Freckled me!


    PS -- Love the bag

  4. ouch on the sunburn. When I go to the beach bring: a tote bag( plastic bag from a store) in said tote bag, #40 or higher sunscreen in a spray can, towel, water bottle and something to put shells in. I don't bring a book, because I can't stand reading in the sun.

  5. You are a bathing beauty, but such a shame about the sunburn! Still, at least you got a nice day out at the beach before the psychological end of summer.

    Here in Oregon the beach is never really warm enough for lying around. I love going to the beach, though. I can walk in the waves for hours. I wear shorts on the bottom, but on the top it's hat, scarf, jacket, shirt, undershirt. Freezing feet and warm torso - that's the secret!

  6. You look incredible in that swimsuit, so good that I think you should steal it off Marnie and wear it down the shops! That sunburn looks painful. Aloe Vera all the way.
    I love the beach and it's sod's law I live in the land-locked Midlands and am hours away from the sea. I cannot wait to get to India and laze around all day with a good book! xxx

  7. ooohh, take care of that poor sunburned leg, dear lady!
    And as a huge fan of Jacques Tati, I love M.Hulot's Holidays, it's not just one of the most hilarious films I've ever watched (my sense of humor is quite particular), but also a real piece of art!
    Your hawaian bag and fabulous bathing suit are delightfully suitable for a beach day!

    1. I remember laughing hysterically all through that film the first time I saw it in a Film class at University, and it continues to make me laugh even though I've probably seen it at least half a dozen times. Tati's use of sound is genius.

  8. Hot mama! You look killer in your YOUR new suit:). I grew up hitting the beaches every weekend, I lived in San Diego, it's mandatory. As a natural redhead I burn easy but have adapted, I wish I didn't spend all those years in the sun, I'm paying for it now. I agree with Vix, Aloe for the win! Have a great week!

  9. Oh Shelley, your elegant bathing beauty glamour girl pic has got to be up there among best photos of you ever - gorgeous! (Poor generous Marnie ain't getting her suit back - just a hunch, lol.) I can't bear all the hauling of stuff either, your simple getaway day sounds just right, minus The Waters Of Death and the burn - owie owie! I second the baking soda in the bath, with a wee splash of apple cider vinegar.

  10. That suit is very flattering! You look fabulous. And OUCH on the sunburn! It's in a rather delicate place.

  11. You do look amazing in that suit!! WOWSA!!
    OUCH to the sunburn!!
    I'm not a beach gal either

  12. Oh I am feeling the pain of that sunburn... As someone pale and freckley who has been burned many times, I know how sore it feels. I do love to be by the sea though, the is something very special,about the sound of the waves and the freshness of the air. And wow, how amazing do you look in that swimsuit, Shelley?! Marnie is NOT getting it back, is she? Your beach belle pose is wonderful, I love it.
    Beaches, at least busy ones, are a great place to people watch. Some folk bring all the stuff, others just pop a towel down, lie on it, and that's it. The water does sound a bit scary though... I don't think I would have risked going in for a dip! xxxxx

  13. Ouch--and every time you sit, you'll be reminded! You look FANTASTIC in the borrowed suit. Tell Marnie I said you can keep it.

  14. I love that first picture of you in a swimsuit. I don't even buy bathing suits anymore to go to the beach. I completely cover myself from head to toe with sun protective clothing. Spent too many of my teenage years damaging my skin, don't want to do that anymore.

  15. Shelley, the glamour shot of you in your borrowed (soon to be yours?) swimsuit is divine. Heather and you have become an amazing team! Your yearly day on the beach sounds like a fun way to bring summer to an end, and I do hope that your sunburn heals quickly.

    Happy fall and bring out the layers!

  16. Hi Shelley!

    We used to go to the beach often when i was a kid and we like you say it was simple, towels, swimsuits and cooler full of food, beer and wine for the grownups!
    Ah! Monsieur Hulot, Oh God i have seen that many times!
    You look spectacular in that swimsuit girl- i should say pinup girl!

    I didn't mail your clothes, i was busy this weekend and now i'm lazy...but i will mail this week for sure -


    Ariane xo

  17. What a hilarious travelogue. You should talk Marnie out of that bathing suit. Where did the summer go?
    Jean & Valerie

  18. I can't help but laugh at the idea of a lake with a "beach" here in Australia we don't really have many lakes but boy do we have beaches

  19. Sorry about the burn but holy smokes you look hawt in that bather!

  20. Sunburn is a bitch!! Even if you didn't get in the water you looked awfully good on the beach. I love the beach and looking forward to our summer turning up.

  21. I love your swimsuit pinup shot. Ah, many a summer I have enjoyed a visit to Grand Bend... What a great day, food, sun, reading matter, castles, and a friend. Perfect!

  22. I absolutely second Bella's comment... that sunburn looks nasty but HOLY GUACAMOLE YOU ARE SMOOOOKIN HOT IN THAT SWIMSUIT!

    Sarah xxx