At this time of the year, elaborate sand castles built on the sandy shore suggest the delights of play and the knowledge of things European and historic. Castles, complete with turrets, arches, moats and bridges lie moulded from wet golden sand, with shells as windows, and kitchen gardens made from seaweeds.
Major, my young German shepherd expresses great interest in these creations, sniffing about and looking. I think he's picking up the scent of the kids who created the sand castles. Perhaps he's wondering about the purpose of the exercise? Some of my happiest childhood memories are of playing on the beach at Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula where we build elaborate sand castles, boats, dressed our naked bodies with long strands of slippery bull kelp and then pretended to be mermaids. After swimming in the cold water of Bass Strait, it was always a delectable feeling to run from the water up the beach to the hot dry sand and then roll over and over, coating our bodies like lamingtons.
Those were carefree days where, as a family, we were the happiest. Dad went fishing, Mum reduced housework to the bare minimum and we kids ran free and barefooted in the sand-dunes and coastal scrub. We made our own fun.