Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Story

December 31st, 2008, no slouching around for this blogger. There are sandcastles to build, photos to take, posts to publish. This is serious. Dudes.

Waking at dawn means that the beach is EMPTY (which means it is STUNNING). Take a look for yourselves:

The early bird catches the best spot on the beach, apparently.
I don't mess around today. It's all about the bloggers' needs today.

Yo Badger - It's been a pleasure. Dude!!
Now a break, sitting on my towel, looking out at a surfboard gondola,

and visiting the beachside cafe which has this crazy-cool wallpaper which reminds me of Anna every time I see it.

Back to BUSINESS people. Tuli requested a castle with a moat, seaweed decoration, and a coffee-cup turret. I had to get busy and drink that skinny cap FAST.

Hey Tuli, girlfriend, dig this work of art! Your wish is my command!!!
Close-up of turret:

That's me swimming laps out there...I set the camera on automatic to take the shot.

Please note the shell and seaweed decorations and the deep moat.

Two castles down, two more to go.

Life's good.

As I was photographing the castles a jogger paused beside me and watched for a while, then he said "There's a story behind this." I answered him:

"There sure is."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The moat around my castle

Do you think my library assistant is sending me a message?

I tried to explain to her that the beach is actually not AT ALL like the books she has read. The beach is actually very hot and crowded, and the sand is annoying, and the ocean is freezing cold and filled with scratchy seaweed and dangerous floating creatures and sharks.........
In any case, neither one of us made it to the beach today. It turns out that:
  • We had no food left in the pantry.
  • We had no food left in the fridge.
  • We had no clean underwear to put on.
  • The bathrooms were beginning to smell.
  • Blue needed a really long walk, and then another one.
  • Bills needed to be paid.
  • Telephone calls needed to be made.
Need I go on people?
After much of the work was done I took a break in the back garden, and to my great surprise I noticed how beautiful the plants and trees were. I wrote about a cache of jewels hidden in the backyard, and yet it has taken me this long to notice my own backyard beauty.
Here is our neighbours' lilly pilly tree which thankfully shades our side of the fence as well....we have great neighbours!

Here is our eucalypt (its called most appropriately "Summer Beauty")

This is our grevillea.

And this is a vine which has FINALLY started to creep along its wire, and has FINALLY flowered. I have no idea what it's called.

So, dear Badger and Tuli, although I meant to build you both a sandcastle with a moat today, it will have to wait for tomorrow. For the moment though, you can picture me, if you will, unpacking the supermarket shopping in my kitchen, in my little house by the beach which is surrounded by a huge moat covered in blossoming plants and trees.

Yes, I quite like that...a moat which is so wide it is in fact an entire forest. Seeing as we are expecting our guests to arrive any minute, I may have to walk through the forest to show them the way.

Or maybe not.

Monday, December 29, 2008

It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea...

Miss Commentbox and I walked down to the beach together, for it seems that the male Commentboxes do not want to leave the house on their summer holiday. They like to stay at home and watch the cricket on television instead. Oh well.

It was extremely windy down at the beach today and almost cold. This would be a test for our humble shack, and it passed with flying colours. The secret of the shack's solidity lies in its sand-filled pouches, terribly clever and so simple.

We had brought our breakfast along with us, muesli with yogurt and kiwi fruit. Great view as we ate and chatted. We watched the clouds gather and it felt like a storm was beginning to brew. I talked quite a bit about my sandcastle plans for the day, explaining to Miss Commentbox that even though kmkat was next in line for a sandcastle, I wanted to save hers for another day and build one for Jen instead. "Why?" asked the lovely Miss C, "Well," I explained, "Kmkat requested that I build a sandcastle retreat for myself, and I loved that idea so much that I wanted to save it and build it for my birthday." Miss C understood, saying "And isn't it perfect timing? How did Kmkat know that it's only three more sleeps until your birthday?" "Bloggers, we're spooky that way," I answered, and Miss C understood. Now...Jen requested a sandcastle with Magic Powers which would be able to turn a Chicago winter into spring, while having no negative effect on the world's general weather patterns.


We decided to build a sandman. Reminiscent of a snowman, yet more....summery.

So without further ado, please make "Mr. Bob the Sandman" welcome:

Isn't he a handsome and magical young sandman?!

Would you look at that face? Just look at him! So happy, and that a tricky little glint in his eye? Why, yes, he is working his Magical Powers already. Although, just maybe, he is a little confused, because our beach is suddenly colder and windier and darker. I wonder if Chicago experienced any change of temperature. Hmph.

Please do admire Mr. Bob's three buttons.

This is what our shack looked like from Mr. Bob's point of view. Can you see the dark grey clouds forming?
We looked away for a moment, and the next thing we knew, a little handwritten letter had materialised in Mr. Bob's pudgy little hand.

Miss C and I walked towards Mr. Bob and curiously peered at the letter. Would you believe that it was an excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe's poem "Annabel Lee"? Mr. Bob smiled proudly and told us that a lovely little fairy (by the name of Sabina) had flown very very far so as to hand-deliver this little poem to us. Miss C and I smiled knowingly at each other as we read about the kingdom by the sea. Mr. Bob was indeed working his very best sort of magic for us today.

We thanked Mr. Bob, gave him a little loving pat, and then returned to the shack. We were sitting there, looking out at Mr. Bob and the ocean and a group of 5 year olds who were frolicking on the sand. Suddenly, one of the little boys spotted Mr. Bob and ran up to him. He stood in front of Mr. Bob and bent over a little to admire his beauty and magic, then he looked to his right, and then to his left, and then he reached his right hand out towards Mr. Bob and TOOK SOMETHING and then raced off down the beach.
By the time we had raced down to Mr. Bob, this is what we found:

SHOCKING. That little boy had STOLEN one of Mr. Bob's buttons!! Not the seed pod....not the bottle the cuttlefish bone!!!!! Mr. Bob was deeply unhappy, as you can see.
We tried to cheer Mr. Bob up by allowing him to wear my sarong.

He was quite pleased with himself, even though be perfectly looks much better on me....I'm just saying....
After a while, Mr. Bob finally agreed to give back the sarong and we all had a little nap. Upon waking up, I peered out of the shack towards the ocean, happy in the knowledge that Mr. Bob's cheerful smile would be looking back at me...when WHAT should I see....but two men, grown men, pointing at Mr. Bob. Then, ONE OF THESE MEN RAN UP TO MR. BOB AND.....
It was the man on the left.
I just managed to take this photo as they walked away.

This is the SHOCKING scene of the crime.
The most surprising thing about this was that the man in question seemed almost childlike as he stomped on Mr. Bob, almost as if he was fulfilling a long-forgotten and suppressed childhood desire. Also, his friend seemed to both understand and appreciate the need a FULLY GROWN MAN might have to destroy someone's sandcastle.
With that, we packed up the shack and walked home.
Dear Jen,
Mr. Bob will live on forever in our hearts, as we hope he will in yours.
His magic is eternal.
Eleanor and Miss C xxxx

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Seventh day

As I left for the beach this morning, I noticed that our magnolia tree in the front yard is in bloom.

Once you have inhaled the scent of a magnolia blossom, you can never go back to a magnolia-scented candle with the same delight.

As I walked through a small park on the way to the beach I saw a little Scottie who looked EXACTLY like a baby Tex. I quickly put my basket down so as to take this photo, at which point another dog took the opportunity to pee on it. So that's why I didn't manage to get another photo of this cutie-pie (whose name, by the way, was Frank).

No grey whatsoever this morning!

The shack was soon up and ready for the day ahead, while the other commentboxes were still safely tucked in bed at home. Lovely.

I gazed out at the water, had a quick dip, and began to work on Esti's sandcastle.

Esti had requested a sandcastle decorated with pebbles,


and twigs.

Luckily, the ocean had washed many precious treasures onto my shore.

It was a little windy, so I built the castle in the shack.

I really hope that Esti likes it as much as I enjoyed making it!

(Of course, the drawings and photographs are ALL Esti's amazing creations. I hope, dear Esti, that you will not mind that I printed and cut them in this was only for the purpose of making you the very best sandcastle I could think of!)

Tonight is the eighth (and last) night of Hanukkah. We lit the candles at our home with my mother and father, and it was a great evening.

Good night all. I shall try to make a sandcastle every day as per your requests.
So much fun!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sixth day

As I arrived at the beach this morning, I heard a little boy say to his parents (they were walking behind me) "Look, there's fog on those mountains," his mother corrected him, "No, sweetheart, that's sea mist over the cliffs."

Whatever you call it, it was simply lovely.

The beachside cafes have thankfully reopened, so I had a large skim cap in the shack. This photo is dedicated to The Coffee Lady, with love.
These two young women sat and watched the ocean and chatted. The one on the right had a British accent, the one on the left had a French accent, and I tried very very hard to eavesdrop but the sound of the waves crashing got in the way. They laughed a lot and I loved having them sit beside me. They were so young and happy and vibrant.

Then it was time to build a sandcastle for Eurolush, as per her commentbox request. You know, Eurolush is very very crafty, so I really tried very hard to make this sandcastle special. I added a flourish of seaweed, isn't it lovely?

Here it is again, with a bit of a different view.
This is what the top of the castle looked like - I collected those shell fragments myself, and the mosaic effect does NOT come easy to me, E like to say "Don't hate, appreciate" (?)

E also reminded me of a book which I had on my bookshelf (she's spooky that way), so I took it down to the beach with me. Here I am about to start Chapter One.

Then I swam, and dozed, and swam, and dozed, and walked home. I arrived home to find that Miss Commentbox and her fab friend D had baked this cake (chocolate). It had just been taken out of the oven and was turned upside down so as to show its surprise nutty caramel topping.
This daughter of mine is quite something! Plus, they had already washed all of the dishes. I know, I know, I am blessed I tell you!!! Blessed!!!!

So now I'm inviting you all to send me your personalised sandcastle requests. One per day, so get in quick, leave your comment in the box and don't forget to add any special features you may require (eg type of structure, preferred decoration, name? blog name? a 5-word poem...the sky is the limit...literally) and it will be created in sand by yours truly.
Oh, and refreshments will be brought tomorrow by Alice C, sandwiches I believe, and you all know what an awesome cook Alice is so get in early people!!!!!!!!!