Identifying Features: Mum, Dad and
a motley assortment of Noisy Kids.
If you’re very unlucky you might even
get Noisy Dog or been-at-the-gin
Distinctive Markings: Three trips’ worth of assorted beach equipment – all designed to make loud noises / fire plastic missiles / block out your sun
Natural Enemies: Just about everyone within a 20 metre radius
Mating Call: “The kids just love letting off some steam on the beach…”
Ah, a blissful Saturday afternoon on the beach. Just you, a warm stretch of sand, and the last Stieg Larsson. Then you spot them. Slowly making their way across the beach, it’s the unmistakable convoy of the Noisy Family. Your heart sinks, you turn over, try to avoid eye contact and will them with all your strength to find another spot on the beach. But oh no. They’ve spotted the pristine stretch of sand right in front of you. Out come the blankets, windbreaks and deckchairs, and up goes the huge tent – completely blocking out your sun.
You can spot the Noisy Family a mile off. Or rather, you can hear them. Irritated mutterings from the dad, struggling with the giant cool bag, shouting from the mum ‘Keep up Jack!’ and loud sobs from the youngest, trailing behind, complaining of sand in his Crocs.
It’s not really the Noisy Family’s fault. After all, the beach is a public place. The sunbathers that are sharing the beach with them just wish they’d chosen another stretch of beach to turn into an audition for Supernanny. Shouts and yells, sobs and wails – and that’s before the sun cream routine. Noisy Mum applies a generous layer of factor 40 on top of already-sandy children. “Hold still!” “Ow! Get off!” “Muuum!”. Cranking up the iPod to try and drown them out doesn’t always work – behind the soothing strains of Jack Johnson, you can still make them the raucous yells “Ow! You pushed me!” Of course it doesn’t help that St Brelade’s has perfect acoustics, with all the noise perfectly amplified by the glass windows of Pizza Express. So everyone hears when the youngest spots the topless girl a few towels down… “Look Mummy – boobies!”.
Then there are the beach games. Noisy Dad tries to make up for his nine-to-five workaholic guilt by enthusiastically organizing competitive games of frisbee or beach cricket. Common sense would indicate that an activity involving hard flying objects, uncoordinated young children and a tense father probably isn’t going to go well. Of course they always end in tears – more often than not a fellow sunbather’s as the frisbee lands with a resounding clunk on some unsuspecting sleeping person’s head. And woe betide anyone stretched out between the Noisy Family and the ice-cream shop. Feet pounding through the sand inches from their heads, wary sunbathers shield their eyes as children race past, sending an arc of sand straight across their pristine towels and into your can of coke.
Everyone breathes a sigh of relief when the Noisy Family head off to the sea, buckets and blow-up rings in hand. But it’s only a temporary reprieve. One of the Noisy Children staggers up the beach shouting for his mum, with buckets full of seawater, slopping and splashing onto sunbathers, and the older ones charge up from the waves, yelling and whooping, splattering icy drops of water onto sun-warmed legs. Beach picnics are never going to go well. “Mum! I hate ham and cheese!” and “I wanted the salt and vinegar ones!”, while the parents crack open a couple of beers and chill out, happily ignoring their offspring building a huge teetering sandcastle dangerously close to the sunbathing couple next to them. And all the while, Noisy Baby crawls around with a pungent nappy putting everyone sitting downwind thoroughly off their egg mayo sandwiches.
Of course you could escape down to the tranquility of the shallows, and stroll along through the warm waves, sand between your toes. Just whatever you do, avoid stepping into the water anywhere near The Noisy Family. You know that suspiciously warm patch of water you just waded through, next to Noisy Baby happily screeching in his rubber ring? Yep, you got it. You just paddled in baby pee.