The Beach Fortress: The Definitive Illustrated Edition

Anyone caring to scroll down the comments on ‘And What Came Next?’ will be able to see several suggestions for the ending of the story. On Facebook, Becky has offered ‘The fly said ” Your wings are MASSIVE!” and the butterfly replied “How rude! You smell of poo. Shoo Fly!” And the fly buzzed off to find a nice cow-pat for his tea.’ And Sara Head: . ‘And jumped back in shock! “You’re real” each exclaimed, “I thought you were my reflection.”‘ Two rather good ones, I thought, but each a little more inventive than those of the two small grandchildren: Emily: ‘And they got married’. Oliver: ‘And the butterfly ate the fly’. Neither of my daughters is at all demanding. Therefore, when Becky put in a plea for seeing The Beach Fortress in the process of construction, it has been my pleasure to comply. Not being able to lay my hands on the negatives from August 1999, today I scanned a mere selection from the printed record. Here it is: Building sandcastle 8.99001

Sam, Louisa, James, Gemma, Lucy, and Nick start on a pile of sand on the beautiful beach of Instow, whist boats ply the channel between this and the former fishing village of Appledore,

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and Canon Henry Pearson leans against a moored boat surveying the scene.

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At this early stage it is possible for passers-by, like this mother pushing a pram, to be unaware of what is happening.

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Gradually, however, the young of Instow gather round.

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Louisa and Lucy smooth the surfaces,

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and Lucy employs the services of a little local helper.

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Bigger lads look on.

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Jim shares a joke with Lucy, whose assistant has wandered off

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to see if Louisa has any requirements, whilst his sister examines the footings.

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Sometimes it’s not exactly clear who is in charge.

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By the time the sun begins to sink below the horizon, the crew are able to position the flambeaus, and delight in their creation.

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Jessica and Judith prepare refreshments, evening wear is donned,

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and the village begins to assemble.

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Jessica sports her trademark Monsoon skirt.

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‘David Robert Shepherd MBE (27 December 1940 – 27 October 2009)[1] was a first-class cricketer who played county cricket for Gloucestershire, and later became one of the cricket world’s best-known umpires. He stood in 92 Test matches, the last of them in June 2005, the most for any English umpire. He also umpired 172 ODIs [One Day Internationals], including three consecutive World Cup, finals in 1996, 1999 and 2003′ (Wikipedia).

He has observed the proceedings from very early on.

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As night closes in, the torches are lit, and the crowd dwindles away,

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eventually leaving the field to three proud mothers: from left to right, Ali, of James; Jessica, of Sam and Louisa; and Judith, of Lucy and Nick.

Anyone clicking on these images for enlargement will notice that I haven’t done any retouching. After all, there is only so much one can do in a day. Not that anyone would believe that, seeing what this lot achieved.

Fast forward to this evening, when Jackie and I dined on her potent spaghetti arrabiata, followed by sticky toffee pudding and custard. She drank Hoegaarten and I drank Louis de Camponac cabernet sauvignon 2014.


  1. What a great story. I love the fort and its little flag and mussel shell decorations. What makes it even better is that people cam out to look at it. the pictures look as though everyone was having a grand time in the building.

  2. What a fantastic sand village! I’ve lived in a beach community all my life (Chesapeake Bay & Atlantic). But one must visit our small local national park seashore in order to avoid encroaching high rise hotels or condos. I noticed right away that there are no buildings on the sand in your photos. How lovely!

  3. Wow, what a lovely sand building! The scenes remind me of my childhood days, but we never made such beautiful castles like this!

    1. Many thanks Cynthia. I had a look at yours and am following. Shouldn’t you get a ‘Follow this blog?’ when you press like? I hope you can find it.

        1. Oh dear Cynthia, I don’t know what you mean. I’ve never added anything. I’ve always assumed this WordPress managing requests. Do you know what is necessary?

          1. Hello there, Derrick. Yes, go to your WP Administrator and choose Appearance. Under that heading is Widgets. It will explain what to do for adding a Follow button. But I have to say the best thing is to search Google or the WordPress sites regarding questions; I am not very high tech so this is my best option. Good luck and let me know how it goes–I still would like to follow your blog!

  4. Such an amazing ‘Sand Fort’ built by the fantastic teamwork of loving family and friends. These pictures are a lovely way to capture the memory (and accompanying commentary).
    Well done on your “Super Sea-Sand Structure”.
    Thank you for sharing the moment. xx

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