This morning, we could sense that the kids needed some one-on-one time. It’s usually pretty obvious: constant bickering, actively aggravating each other rather than playing … you know how it goes.
Joe suggested he take Neve swimming (one of their favourite things to do together), and Hal was keen for us to nip down the road to one of our favourite haunts for a quiet few hours of exploration, play, chats, and, of course (despite the considerable chill in the air for this time of year), an ice cream.
We’re very fortunate to live where we do. Here on the south coast of England, we have some beautiful beaches (a far cry from the wondrous sandy beaches we fell in love with during our time in Australia), but still, they’re quite lovely in their own pebbly kind of a way.
Bosham is a beautiful little coastal village, just 10 minutes from where we live. Dating back to the Romans, it’s full-to-brimming with history. The church that stands beside Bosham Quay (where we like to wander), was built in the tenth century and is still used as the regular place of worship for locals. There are some wonderful tales surrounding this sweet village, including one that claims a daughter of Canute the Great drowned in a nearby brook and was buried somewhere in Bosham. In 1865 a coffin containing a child’s skeleton was discovered buried in the nave in front of what is now the chancel of Holy Trinity Church. Many believe it to be Canute’s daughter.
My personal favourite is the legend that Bosham Church was plundered by Danish pirates. It is said that they made off with the tenor bell (the horror!), and as the pirate ship disappeared into the distance, the remaining church bells were rung. As the bells rang, in an unlikely turn of events, the tenor bell mysteriously joined in and in doing so, destroyed the ship. People say that the bell still rings beneath the waters, whenever the other church bells are rung.
There’s a particular tree that Hal really loves. It stands on the green of Bosham Quay, just before the water’s edge. He’s fond of this tree mainly because, strapped to its considerable limbs, is not one, but two rope swings. A short wooden plank and some sort of mini tyre (I’ve no doubt there’s an actual name for it, but alas, I’ve no idea what it is). After parking in the car park (that is arguably more of a boatyard than a carpark), we ambled down to see if the tide was in or out. It was definitely in!
There’s a road beneath the water that Hal’s standing in. With every high tide, the road that skirts the front of the Quay is completely submerged.
We explored the churchyard together, found beetles and feathers and a tiny piece of glass that had been rubbed smooth by the water. Hal was (and remains) convinced that it’s pirate treasure. We had a lovely couple of hours together, chatting about the way light moves on water, why trees creak in the wind, how boats stay afloat and the nature of birdsong. He surprises me every day with his imagination, questions and clarity of thought – what a privilege it is to be his Mama.
Despite being June 15th, today felt decidedly autumnal. It was chilly, slightly grey and had that distinct smell of damp earth and fallen leaves.