Sandystone

Evie loves Sandystone; its where she's gone to celebrate anything of importance since she was little. But Evie is going away to Spain and she's at Sandystone for the last time, for a very long time.

Just a small story to start me off onto the site!

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2. Its my birthday and I'll reminisce if I want to.

 

When Jasper and I reached the house, everyone was already there, all crowded into the little kitchen, waiting for us.
As I walked through the door, Jasper just behind me, the whole group burst into a chorus of ‘Happy birthday’.
I grinned and took the time to take in every individual person.
Mum and dad stood together, Dad’s one hand on mum’s waist, his other on Lily’s shoulder.
Aunt Eleanor and uncle James stood next to them, and aunt Rhian stood with Aaron and her daughter Seren stood in front of her.
Nan and Bampi stood in front of everyone, a monstrous sized cake clutched between the two of them, ablaze with dozens of candles.
I leaned closer to the cake as I blew softly on the candles, to get a better look at the intricate decoration.
It was two tiers tall, the top tier covered in a blue icing, with a little yellow icing sun.
The words, ‘Good luck in Spain’ had been piped in small letters around the rim.
The top tier was just a typical birthday cake, pale pink icing, red sugar roses and ‘Happy 18th b-day Evie’ spelt with sugar paper letters.
“Happy birthday to you!”  Everyone finished singing in unison.
“Hip-hop-hooray!” Everyone cheered as I made my way around the room, hugging and thanking.
The room smelt of burnt matches and candle wax.
“That’s a  massive cake!” Aaron said loudly, inching towards it, his finger outstretched, moving towards the buttery icing.
Nan slapped his hand away, almost dropping the cake itself.
“Oh no you don’t mister. Don’t you remember the last time we has a cake this size and you ate a whole tier to yourself?”
“No,” Aaron shook his head, looking rejected as nan and bamp swept the cake over to the kitchen surface and began to unburden it of its candles.
“Well you wouldn’t remember,” said Seren who was just a year older than Aaron but liked to think that she had years of wisdom on him, “that would have been the sugar rush!”
Aaron laughed wickedly and Seren tutted.
“It wasn’t funny!” Lily exclaimed, “you threw up all over my brand new summer sandals. It was four years ago but the memory still haunts my dreams. You ruined my sixteenth birthday!” 
Aaron laughed again and I giggled at the dismayed expression on my sister’s face. 
“Anyway,” aunt Eleanor said, flinging her arm across her son’s shoulders, “lets celebrate Evie’s birthday with just a slice of cake this time.”
She chuckled as Nan began to hand out generous slices of the beautiful cake on paper plates.

 The rest of day slowly transformed into one of the best celebrations we’d ever had at Sandystone.
After we’d all had our fair share of cake we had ventured outside, the glorious sun beckoning to us.
Aaron and I made straight for the sea, arms and legs flailing wildly as we raced down the beach, abandoning all cares as we dove into the frothy white waves.
I didn’t even bother to remove my tank top and cotton shorts, feeling too exhilarated to notice or care.  Lily assembled herself on the sand and was almost dead to the world as the sun wrapped her in a blanket of heat and sticky sweat.
Seren sat next to her, her head buried in a book, occasionally looking up to scold Jasper who just ‘happened’ to be splashing her with a spray of debris as he boogie boarded close to the shore.
Nan, mum and aunts Rhian and Eleanor spent the time ducking and out the beach house, taking turns to cook then relax.
I could hear their laughter floating down from the house on an occasional sea breeze.
The three men sat on beach chairs on the pebbles, drinking beer and singing raucously along to uncle James’ acoustic guitar. 
Then at lunch the ladies set up foldable picnic tables covered in mounds of food on the luscious green grass near the house.
The spread of food that they had made was amazing.
They had tried to keep to a theme of ’typical British tea party slash Spanish fiesta’.
Therefore, whilst one table was ladled with bite size sausage rolls, quiches, pork pies and welsh cakes, the next table contained a couple of Spanish delicacies like paella, tapas and  my personal favorite, a large pitcher full of sangria, ice cubes bobbing around in the maroon liquid, seeming like buoys bobbing around at sea.
The aromas of everything had been delectable, the taste even better but I didn’t think that anything could beat the sangria, the burning thrill of the whiskey, quickly followed by the sweet tingle of fruit and dry taste of wine.
I also didn’t mind the light headed, tingly feeling that it gave me and felt sorry for Aaron and Seren, who were too young to try any.
I had never been one to ‘drown my sorrows’ but the alcohol certainly was helping me to relax.
When we had all finished eating, we had slumped down, some of us onto deckchairs, others of us onto the pebble slope, letting our food digest, or in my case, waiting for the effects of the sangria to lessen.
Then, when we were all suitably re-energized, we split into two teams of six to play rounders, children versus adults, apart from aunt Rhian who insisted on being on the children’s team, to even out the numbers. “And you always end up out running me on the bases Eric!” She said, winking playfully at my dad.
“I wouldn’t have to if you’d get a shift on!” Dad retaliated.
Aunt Rhian mocked gasped, “Well I’d rather be on this team… The winning team!” she bellowed, causing Jasper, Lily, Seren, Aaron and I to whoop and cheer, before darting to our bases and fielding positions. We played two full games, each team winning one game each, then moved on to to boules, having to use two sets to supply us all.
Finally we finished the day by playing a game that Aaron declared to have made up on the spot which involved some sort of drawing in the sand with sticks and lacked any sorts of rules.
We played Aaron’s game, which he had  named ‘Aaronkins’ (obviously putting as much thought into the name as he put into the rules), until the sun began to set.
It resembled a beautiful, fiery ball of gold, as it lowered slowly into the calmly bobbing sea, almost being completely consumed as we trailed back up the stones together.
Dad and uncle James fired up the barbeque.  
By the time we had eaten our way through almost a whole butcher’s shop worth of meat, the sun had completely set, the sky alight with the blinking of millions of diamond like stars.
For the whole day, my worries and woes had dissolved into the haze of joyfulness and celebration.
But as I sat on a slouching deckchair surrounded by my family and with the crackling bonfire in front of me slowly drying my damp hair, I  gazed up at the vast, black sky and realised how soon I would be gazing up at the same sky, but from the other side of the world.
And I wouldn’t be surrounded by family, or feeling comfortable, safe and content.
Again, the feeling of dread swept over me, leaving me in a cold sweat, my heart in my throat and tears prickling in my eyes.
“Can’t beat a day on a good old Welsh beach,” Jasper sighed, leaning back into his chair and taking a sip of beer.
“Well I’m sure Evie will disagree with you this time next week when she’s relaxing on a beautiful Spanish beach, soaking up the sun,” Seren said.
I laughed half heartedly.
  “No, I think that Welsh beaches will always hold a special place in my heart,” I said softly, glancing over to the sea, that was being illuminated by the golden light of the moon.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of things that we’ve done at Sandystone that we couldn’t do on a Spanish beach!” Dad said, retracting a marshmallow from the consuming tongues of the bonfire and passing the burned article to Lily.
“Exactly, like remember on my birthday last August and it didn’t stop raining?” Bamp said suddenly, surprising us all, since the way he was leaning back in his deck chair, eyes closed, hands clasped over his pot belly, had led us to believe that he was asleep
. “Remember?” He opened his eyes.
“We played a mini ruby game on the beach despite the rain and when we were done, because you kids were already soaked you ran into the sea fully clothed!”
Everyone laughed at the memory.
“Yeah that was a great one!” Lily exclaimed, sitting up straighter in her deckchair.
“Oh remember on Mum and Dad’s anniversary when all those paragliders landed at Sandystone and joined our barbeque and offered us free paragliding lessons!”
Aaron said, glancing hopefully in Aunt Emma’s direction. “And remember how the answer was no back then and is still no!” she said, trying to stand firm as Aaron stared at her with puppy dog eyes.
And so the reminiscing began.  
We spoke for what felt like hours, crying with laughter, rocking back and forth, remembering all of our celebrations over the years.
Things that had seemed terrible to us at the time, we hilarious and trivial to us now.
By the time we had settled into a contented silence, the chill of the night had settled on us, causing us to shiver and cower closer towards the hindering fire.
My stomach was tender from laughing and my spirits had been temporally lifted.
“This has been the perfect birthday. I’m going to miss this,” I mumbled, “Because if there’s one thing I can’t do on a Spanish beach its this, celebrating with my family.”
“Well that’s the beauty of Sandystone!” Nan said, reaching over to squeeze my shoulder, “Its one of a kind and has provided you with so many great memories to take along with you. And Sandystone will be waiting here for you when you get back, buzzing with the anticipation of your ‘welcome home party’ and I bet that it will be the best celebration that Sandystone will ever see!”
“Yeah and don’t worry about missing out on much little cuz,” Jason said warmly, “ we won’t have much fun without you!”
I giggled, “of course you will!” although I was flattered that he thought so.
And then I realised how my mood had suddenly become settled.  
There wasn’t a niggling feeling of dread or distress hanging over me anymore, probably because I knew what nan had said was true.
This wasn’t the end. And that made me happy.

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