♥ ASOS dress (almost identical version) ♥ Target sunhat ♥ Gucci sunglasses ♥ Vintage belt
I could just let these photos stand alone, telling the happy tale of a sunny day at the beach: a day on which no-one almost stood on a crab, no -one got locked out of their car, and absolutely no-one got peed on by a Bichon Frise. Or by a seagull.
The thing is, though, everyone’s always saying how much they hate it when bloggers try to paint a perfect picture of their lives, carefully omitting anything that might make them look less-than-flawless, even although those are the things that actually make them interesting. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers, but let me first of all say that we DID have a lovely, sunny day at beautiful Gullane beach, on the picturesque East Coast of Scotland. It was probably the hottest day of the year so far, and the beach is one of those ones which The Famous Five would have a perfectly ripping adventure on, probably uncovering an international smuggling ring in the process. It was a great day, really.
It was also a day which started (and, indeed, ended) with Terry and I locked out of our car.
There we were, all sun-screened-up and ready to embark on a beachy adventure. And there was the car, all LOCKED up, and stubbornly refusing to respond to the key fob, which is one of those ones you point in the general direction of the car, thus unlocking the doors. I sometimes try to use the remote from the camera to do this, but it’s better if you use the key fob. Or it normally is, anyway: this time the key was just as much use as the remote control would be, so assuming that the battery had died in the fob, Terry headed back into the house to get my key… which also failed to work. Ah.
There was obviously something a little more complicated than a dead key fob to be dealt with here (Is the word “fob” starting to look really weird to anyone else at this point, or is it just me?), but there wasn’t much we could do about it right at that second, and, well, we still really wanted to go to the beach, so I called my parents (who were joining us on our excursion anyway), they came and picked us up, and soon we were on our way.
Well, we got to the beach without incident, and I immediately raised the Crab Terror Alert to Defcon 1 (Context: my crippling fear of crustaceans), mincing over the sand , all goggle-eyed, ready to run for it at the first sight of a raised pincer. There were no crabs in the immediate vicinity, however, so I relaxed my guard, and set about enjoying myself. And I DID enjoy myself: the weather, as I said, was beautiful, as were the surroundings. We had a lovely picnic, a paddle in the sea, a walk along the sand – all good, clean, non-crab-related fun.
After a couple of hours of this, the tide had gone out, leaving a vast expanse of sun-dappled sand, and I’d lowered my Crab Guard enough to consent to join my mum on a walk down to the sea. “Don’t you worry about crabs,” my mum said confidently, striding out across the beach. “I’m on the case! I have my eyes peeled for them! I won’t let you get within a mile of one! If I see so much as the suggestion of a crab, I’ll… ”
“MUM!” I shrieked, “You’re about to step on one!”
And yup, she was. She actually had her foot poised above one of the creepy little freaks, ready to descend on its outstretched claws. Which is LITERALLY my worst nightmare.
At this point, my mind basically broke. My mum tried to lead me away from The Scene, but her Crab Radar (honed through many years of having to deal with me and my phobia) was apparently malfunctioning that day, because she led me right towards another one. So I did what any un-reasonable person would do at this point: I cut and run. And ran RIGHT TOWARDS EVEN MORE OF THEM. Aaaaaarggh!
Seriously, it was like being stuck in one of my own nightmares. Once I’d seen one of them, they were suddenly everywhere: so many, in fact, that I genuinely thought I must be hallucinating. I mean, my brain convinces me there’s a crab in my BED on a regular basis: it would make sense for it to convince me I could ALSO see crabs on the beach, wouldn’t it? The crabs were all very small, and very, very dead, but this means nothing to me, because, you know, it’s a phobia: it’s not really supposed to be rational.
“THEY’VE GOT US SURROUNDED!” I screamed in horror. “They’re everywhere! EVERYWHERE!”
“They really are!” agreed my mum, who, by the way, will never be trusted to lead me through the Crab Fields ever again. “I’ve never seen so many of them!”
“Go!” I told her. “Save yourself! There’s no hope for me, but you can still make it! And if you do, send Terry back – he can carry me over the sand to safety!”
Once glance up the beach, however, to where Terry and my dad were sitting laughing at us, and snapping pictures of my distress, told me that I was really on my own here. Somehow I made it up the beach, clutching my mum’s arm and emitting a low, wailing sound the whole time. Then, obviously, I felt really, REALLY stupid, because SERIOUSLY AMBER. GET A FREAKING GRIP.
(You’re probably wondering why I go to the beach when I’m THAT scared of crabs. It’s a reasonable question, and I wish I had a reasonable answer for you, but … I don’t. The fact is, I like the beach, so I normally just try to put the phobia to the back of my mind, and rely on helpful companions to keep me out of harm’s way. Most of the time, I’m completely fine: it’s actually quite rare for me to catch sight of The Enemy – the beaches in Florida, where we normally go, don’t really seem to attract them as much as the beaches here – so as I’ve said before, most of the time, kabourophobia – for such is its name – is a pretty good phobia to have. If you MUST have a phobia, obviously. I still don’t recommend it, though.)
Anyway! Putting The Incident behind me, brave soldier that I am, I settled back down to enjoy the rest of the day. One of the reasons we’d chosen Gullane beach as our destination that day was the fact that it’s a dog-friendly beach. Rubin hasn’t been able to join us on our recent adventures, but there were almost more dogs than there were humans on the beach that day (Also more crabs, but we don’t talk about that…), so he was in his element. Or… not.
Rubin doesn’t normally show much interest in other dogs: probably because I don’t think he’s ever realised he IS one. Every so often, however, he will meet a dog he becomes inexplicably OBSESSED with, and today was to be one of those days. The subject of Rubin’s intense interest was one “Bailey”: a handsome chap, who was busily engaged in digging a hole right through to Australia. Rubin was FASCINATED by Bailey: he seriously could not take his eyes off him. Most of the time he just sat there, staring in silent adoration, wishing with all his heart that Bailey would look up and notice him, a bit like the school geek watching the captain of the football team and wishing he was him. Other times, he’d suddenly make a break for it and run over to Bailey’s camp, from which he would have to be bodily removed:
Finally, Rubin’s prayers were answered: at last, Bailey noticed he was alive, and came bounding over… at which point it was Rubin’s turn to lose his mind. THIS IS WHY THE COOL KIDS DON’T LET HIM SIT WITH THEM.
As Bailey approached, Rubin started freaking out in excitement. Then he did what I’ve since discovered is a not-uncommon (albeit a deeply unpleasant) thing for dogs at the beach to do: he decided he needed to mark his territory by raising his leg against the nearest thing he could find. Which just so happened to be Terry.
Yes, RUBIN TRIED TO PEE ON TERRY.
Luckily for Terry, two things saved him here: his own quick reaction, and the fact that Rubin had been “marking his territory” all day by that point. The tank, as it were, was empty. The fact that he’d even TRIED, however, was so astonishing that we all stood there staring at him speechlessly for a few seconds, and it was at that point that the seagull entered the frame, and crapped all over my dad. Yes, he was LITERALLY crapped on from a great height. GAH.
It was… a real mess. Those seagulls, they manage to eat a lot, hey? It managed to quite comprehensively cover my poor dad’s shorts, and as I sat there, trying not to gag as he attempted to remove the mess, and feeling a little bit smug to have escaped this direct hit… THAT’S when Rubin decided to pee on ME.
Again, the tank was empty, and, like Terry, I was lucky enough to see what was about to happen, so no harm was done, but, well, let’s just say we weren’t exactly happy that Rubin would suddenly decide to break bad like this. Why did he do it? Well, I know some of you are probably going to want to tell me there is something seriously wrong with him, but I’m happy to report that he hasn’t done this before or since (he was also at the vet this week for his checkup, and given a clean bill of health), so we reckon it was probably a territorial thing, and that he should go to his room and have a good, long think about what he’s done.
We, meanwhile, decided it was probably time for us to leave the beach. One of us had been crapped on. Two of us had been (almost) peed on. The Other One had narrowly avoided Death by Crab. “We should go, yeah?” we all said. So we did. (And again, I need to point out that these strange happenings didn’t spoil our day at all: they DID kind of spoil my dad’s shorts, obviously, but we’d had a lovely day, so we were happy…)
Our adventures were not over yet, though, for as we pulled into our street, covered in sand and… well, you know… we heard the wail of a car alarm coming from somewhere in the vicinity of our house.
“That’s not our alarm,” Terry said confidently. “Ours doesn’t sound like that.” Phew!
Yeah, it was totally our car alarm. It had somehow figured out how to make a sound we’d never heard before. Oh, and it was still impenetrable, due to that whole “key fobs aren’t working” deal. GAAAAH.
What do you do when your car alarm is going like the clappers, but your key doesn’t work? What WE did was panic, mostly.
My mum and I stood around, staring at each other and saying, “Should we do something? What should we do?”
Terry went to the cupboard under the stairs, and started unloading every single tool he’d managed to hide there.
I called the AA (The automobile one. Not the Other One.), who told me they’d be happy to help… but only if the car was at least 20 yards from the house.
“Could we push it for 20 yards?” I asked Terry, doubtfully. “Yeah,” he replied. “And then the AA would come and give us a lift back to the house, brainiac.” So that was out.
My mum and I stood and looked at each other some more.
Terry got more tools out of his cupboard.
And during all of this, my dad calmly went and got a wire coat-hanger, and used it to break into the car.
“Do you know how to hot-wire it, too?” I asked, staring at him incredulously.
“Don’t ask,” he said, grimly. “It’s better that you don’t know.”
And so the day was saved. The car, on the other hand, not so much: it turned out there was… something… wrong with the… something. It took a couple of days, but it’s all fixed now, so all’s well that ends well.
And despite everything? It really was a GREAT day.
(P.S. My constant hat-holding in these photos isn’t a pose-y thing, I promise – it was the only way to stop it flopping into my eyes the whole time!)