The beach season has come back round again, just how we like it. “Hey, Mum, why, lookah, there’s a real real seal!”. A blond ball of curly-hair, must be about five, grabs Mum’s hand and points her firmly towards some dark thing in the water. Could be wrong, but did I see a wave of disappointment wash over her face when she sees my dog emerging from the sea with a yellow tennis ball in its mouth, and then sitting politely at my feet tipping its head to one side, its eyes pleading with me to throw the ball back into the water.
"This is Joey," I tell the lass, with a laugh. "And he does look a bit like a seal, doesn’t he? Did you know that a bit further up that way you’ll find really real seals? If you walk on, you’ll see them. They come every day to the harbour area and lie on the duckboards in the sun. They like to play around in the water, and are really rather inquisitive. Her blue-grey eyes get wider and wider and before I can say cheerio, she’s dragging Mum up towards the boards.
“Come on, Joey. This way”, I call and we slope off, in a day dream, towards the big beach on Neeltje Jans. Our special place. Early in the morning it is so delightfully quiet. A great setting for sunrise. And for walking through the dunes to the music of the gulls cawing, along the unfolding sands to the water, where the tide always ebbs and flows in turn. Far away, I hear a girl’s voice. “Hey, Mum, why, lookah, there’s a real real seal! Really Mum!” The beach season has come back round again, and the living in Zeeland is good.