The firstborn has a mobile. It is sleekly curved, slightly rubberised to the touch, a pleasing matt black. It is called a pebl. That’s pronounced “pebble”. Firstborn flips it open with a neat flick of a single hand which is considered extremely cool by his peers. According to the manufacturer:
With chic simplicity, the subtly stylish Motorola PEBL adds a calming convenience to your everyday travels.
Really? Calming? We are currently on our travels, camping on the top of a cliff overlooking this beach (also a gratuitous Maizy picture but I can’t resist).
You will note that it is shingly. Stoney. It is, in fact, entirely covered in pebbles. They are its most obvious feature. Can you guess what’s next?
Yes. Firstborn managed to lose his pebl on the beach.
We narrowed down the area of potential loss to a quarter mile or so between a notice about crumbling cliffs and a lump of concrete which had crumbled down to the beach. Firstborn was extremely grumpy about being forced to go to the beach and the last time he had seen his phone was apparently when he made a call to moan about how miserable his life was and this call was by the yellow sign.
Part of the outward and visible signs of extreme grumpiness are the headphones indicating that the grumpee is listening to music at an extremely high volume. It is, I conclude, an electronically-aided version of putting your fingers in your ears and shouting “la la la la la”, but I have decided not to mention this to the grumpee in question.
It would be an exaggeration to say that we subjected the place to a finger-tip search but we certainly spent more than an hour scanning the area, first side to side in strips parallel to the sea then, when that revealed nothing, in strips up and down between sea and cliff. At intervals I rang the phone hoping that we would hear it over the crash of the waves until its owner remembered that it was set on vibrate.
The organisation of the beach was fascinating. At the base of the cliff tiny pebbles which gave way to succeeding banks of shingle organised by size of stone. The most difficult to scan were those banks where the pebbles were the same size as the phone. What we really needed was a bloodhound, suggested secondborn, because Maizy was no help at all and when told to “seek” ran up the side of the cliff like a mountain goat and disappeared over the top.
The sun lowered in the sky. The shadows cast by the cliff were deep and dark. The chill was enough to make us, t-shirted as we were, shiver. Secondborn sat on the stones and screamed about how miserable his life was.
When the shadows reached the sea I called off the search. Secondborn and I set off along the beach, Maizy trotting at our heels. Firstborn appeared to be labouring under a powerful and private emotion and we let him mourn alone.
When we were halfway across the stretch of beach between the yellow sign and the steps up to the campsite, the stretch of beach we had not searched, there was the phone, clearly visible, lying on top of the small stones in an entirely un-pebble-like manner.
Another search which concluded successfully was that of the identity of secondborn’s monster of the deep.