This was my third magical journey to Cook's Beach, driving down on a sun-filled day at Labour Weekend, just missing the hordes. We stopped in a strange little cafe near the Kopu Bridge and had a cup of tea and a scone. It's not often these days that you get tea in a pot covered with a knitted cosy, or a sugar bowl covered in a tiny beaded net! The loo walls were covered in a chaotic display of garish British Royalty inspired memorabilia and the toilet seat was a semi-transparent Union Jack. There was a long slow traffic jam before the bridge, but it didn't matter, because we were going away on holiday.
Sailor's Grave, Coromandel. Two fat black birds squat in the sand, watching the sea. They have long red bills and pink watery eyes. They plod down the beach like a placid husband and wife. The Sailor's Grave is surrounded by a white picket fence. In 1842, a young sailor (from the British Navy Ship HMS Tortoise) drowned in the surf, and rumour says there were six monkeys on board. As we walk down to the beach, two fantails career around us. 'Mother Earth' is written in the sand, in clean and tidy capital letters. It is a bleak and windy day, but it feels calm and peaceful, and I don't care that the sky isn't blue.