It’s nearly three years since I’ve been down to Queenscliff – pathetic, really, when you consider that my parents have such a beautiful hideaway there.

But life sort of took over, as it does when you have a teenager who likes to live in a cave, and seems to have a beach (and sunshine) allergy. Yes – I confess that I am the mother of an Emo. Fortunately he looks quite cool with black hair (if he hears that his mother has said the word “cool” he will probably vomit ….)

Anyway – we went – without the Emo. We beached. We squished our toes in the sand. We swam in the crystal clear water (appropriately covered so that I didn’t scar my daughter for life). We ate Belgian waffles covered in melted chocolate. We drew. Or at least I did.

I am not one for swimming in the sea normally – I get the creeps if I can’t see what might be hanging around my feet, and my imagination makes me jump every time seaweed bumps into me. But it wasn’t like that this time. It was perfect. 38 degrees celsius, which I normally hate, but when you are only a five minute walk from a beach where the water is so still and clear that you can see every tiny ripple on the sand at the bottom, then the heat doesn’t matter. My daughter talked me into dunking under (eventually, considering that this water hasn’t long left the ice caps) and then just floating gently along with the swish of the waves. She promised me it would relax me. And she was right. It felt like all my worries just blew away in the breeze.

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Unlike my much more adventurous husband, I prefer quiet, wind free beaches. I like to paddle along the edge of the waterline looking for shells, heart shaped pebbles, mermaid money (sand dollars), messages written in the sand, or anything else that captures my interest.

I don’t think there can be a better antidote for stress. It covers all the senses: listening to the waves come confidently ashore and then retreat, and the seagulls fighting over the juiciest sea offering; watching the reflection of the sun as the colours bounce between the clouds and the water; tasting the salt in the air (or in the water if you fall over with your mouth open), and feeling the silky touch of the sand caressing your toes.

Even better, when you find that perfect patch of wet sand that just lets you stand twiddling your toes while you slowly sink up to your knees, giggling like a little kid when the waves catch you and drench the clothes you are wearing.

Life doesn’t get much better than that. Other than having your daughter by your side giggling too and hanging off your arm. Not quite a teenager yet, obviously.

So I am marked as the “quiet beach” person, and my husband is the answer when my daughter wants to jump the bigger waves on her boogie board. She begged me to go along just in case she got bored and wanted someone to talk to.

We compromised by agreeing that I could sit in this little park behind the windy surf beach, drawing the creek and the seaside town of Torquay in the background. Apparently the water was cold (in other words my sooky husband had forgotten his wetsuit) and the waves were pathetic. They didn’t last long.

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