It was probably in August 1998 that Jessica bought a secondhand outboard motor in Newark and used for one day in Instow in Devon. She left her recently acquired dinghy in the bay facing our holiday house. In the morning the motor was gone. As was every other similar item from other boats. This was apparently the first time such a theft had ever occurred at that location.
It was that year, the one after my then wife had received her diagnosis of multiple myeloma, that she paddled on Instow beach with Emily.
The following year was the one of the beach fortress.
Sam, Louisa, James, Gemma, Lucy, and Nick start on a pile of sand on the beautiful beach of Instow, where boats ply the channel between this and the former fishing village of Appledore,
and Canon Henry Pearson leans against a moored boat surveying the scene.
At this early stage it is possible for passers-by, like this mother pushing a pram, to be unaware of what is happening.
Gradually, however, the young of Instow gather round.
Louisa and Lucy smooth the surfaces,
and Lucy employs the services of a little local helper.
Bigger lads look on.
Jim shares a joke with Lucy, whose assistant has wandered off
to see if Louisa has any requirements, whilst his sister examines the footings.
Sometimes it’s not exactly clear who is in charge.
By the time the sun begins to sink below the horizon, the crew are able to position the flambeaus, and delight in their creation.
Jessica and Judith prepare refreshments, evening wear is donned,
and the village begins to assemble.
Jessica sports her trademark Monsoon skirt.
‘David Robert Shepherd MBE (27 December 1940 – 27 October 2009) 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.
As night closes in, the torches are lit, and the crowd dwindles away,
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.