Felicity had her first visit to a beach today, outside San Francisco on the way to Palo Alto. It was a glorious day, with not a cloud in the sky, crowds of surfers bobbing up and down in the waves like neoprene-wrapped seals. Felicity wore her best lilac dress and was full of good cheer.

In that respect, she is quite unlike me. I hated beaches as a child, and I’m hardly enamoured of them now. My abiding memories are of sunburn and sand scratching between my toes. Not that England has beaches; it has the seaside, a slightly different proposition involving pebbles, piers and paltry opportunities for fun. Finally, at around two years old, a wasp flew into my mouth while I was meant to be enjoying the seaside. I closed my mouth to capture it, the wasp stung my tongue, which swelled to apparently life-threatening proportions, and ever since I’ve never been able to countenance the idea of keeping a wasp as a pet.

I hope Felicity has no such insect catastrophes in her life.

After the beach, we visited Jill’s Fishtrap, which sounds unfortunately like Jill’s Fish Strap (some god-awful combination of codpiece and jockstrap?) where I had vegetable tempura. Most of it was very good, except the broccoli tempura, which revolted me. I like broccoli, I like tempura, and I’d never had the combination before, but it appears two rights can make a wrong. How dreadfully disappointing.

Still, this afternoon we had fresh homemade pizza at a friend’s place. California is a wonderful place if it’s possible to do that in late November. The closest you’d get to that in England would be a slice of microwaved pizza outside a pub. In the rain. With a random thug shouting at you.

When we left, at nine,in the evening, the stars were clearly visible in the sky. That’s the first time I remember seeing them this year. I’m sure i must have seen them in Halifax this summer, if I hadn’t always been in bed super early, and i could have seen them in Hong Kong,in March, if there hadn’t been the pollution, and I suppose if I’d been sober in London… Wait, what sort of person is sober in London?

Better to savoir the moment. After all, you don’t get excited just because nobody kicked sand in your daughter’s face. Or that she didn’t try to eat a live wasp. Still happy though.


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