Wet, cold mud squishing between my toes. I tip-toe around shells, the occasional pebble, a dead crab, three blue bottles, and bits of leathery seaweed. I love the beach. My blue knee-high gumboots sit amongst the tussock as I leave a trail of footprints in the sand. Squelch, squelching the air suctions against my feet as I tread.
With my yellow bucket in-hand, I’m on the hunt for pipi. There are a few already at the bottom of my plastic vessel, but I want to find more. Dad shows me a pipi with its shell slightly open and I can see it breathing. I go back on the hunt, and I’m drawn to what looks like a prize…a special shell. I’ve never seen one like this before. I’m giddy with excitement and can’t wait to show Dad.
“Dad! Dad! Look what I found!” I shout across the beach. I run to him and put out my hand–my bucket left on its side with pipi trailing out onto the mud.
I’m breathless. I uncurl my palm to reveal my precious and unusual find.
“Look, it’s an amazing shell.” I say proudly.
Dad inspects it without touching. He shakes his head and pauses, looks out to the ocean then across the sand to my bucket of pipi. His eyes come back to rest on my palm.
“Throw it on the ground,” he says.
I’m confused. Why would I want to do that?
“It’s dried up dog poo,” he says, as he continues along the beach.
These days I don’t go hunting for pipi.
I’ve had this dress for a couple of years and to be honest, it hasn’t had many outings. I have an identical version in black and found that it was easier to wear (especially with stockings in winter). But this dress happened to be an easy throw-on for a trip to the beach on what happened to be a rather windy day. With a few ‘Marilyn’ moments thrown in, I was struggling at times to control the fly-away frill! Of course the weather had been much warmer earlier on in the day, but as we arrived, clouds were gathering with rain following soon after as we made our way along the pier. Far too cold and exposed to be out…
*The story was a childhood memory, inspired by one of my visits to this very same beach.