Monday, June 28, 2010

french bay

My "new" thing this week was actually revisiting a place that was quite significant in my childhood. I packed Bunny into the car and headed out west to French Bay. I haven't been there since I was a teenager. Why French Bay? I was one when we emigrated to New Zealand leaving behind our grandparents. When we got here I met my Dad's Auntie Emmy. I immediately bonded with her and she became my grandmother figure. She had a bach at French Bay.
We celebrated quite a few family Christmases there with our New Zealand (second) cousins. They were pretty happy occasions with hours spent playing in the bush and at the beach.... only marred by the traumatic experience of traipsing through the bush to use the stinky, cobwebby, insect infested long drop. It was located quite a long way from the house. Great for night visits! I would put off using the toilet until the last minute and would make Karen, my older sister, go with me even when she didn't want to!
My sister Karen had her 21st at the French Bay Yacht Club in 1977. A very classy affair! Although the only photo of me is with my tongue out. As you can see not so classy! Meredith (my younger sister) looks much cuter, resting her chin on her hand! The funny thing is that the yacht club looks exactly the same as it did in 1977!
I loved swimming at French Bay. It was safe and easily accessible for young children. It was here that Meredith first demonstrated her aversion to sand (which she has to this day). She would try to make it from the sea to the towel Mum was sitting on, with a minimum of sand stuck to her feet. An impossible task!! I remember her jumping around, curling up her sand-covered toes in distaste as Mum tried to brush the sand off her. There also used to be a shop right opposite the beach where Dad would buy us Jellytips after a day of swimming and sand. I still associate Jellytips with summer, swimming and fun!

So Bunny and I set off exploring, walking along the beach and up the road. It was a really lovely, still, crisp winter's day.....
French Bay is still very pretty, peaceful place for children and families. It's largely unchanged from my childhood, although much smaller than it seemed in my memories and sadly there is now no shop.

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