Sunday, 21st of September, but warmer than June, with only a slight chill breeze in the air. We drove thirty miles out to Musquodoboit Harbour, and visited Martinique beach, Nova Scotia’s answer to Jamaica.

The drive is fantastic, across the bridge over to Dartmouth, and then through a long winding road by the ocean edged with masses and masses of trees, still green but splashed here and there with scarlet and gold autumn colours. Just before the beach, in Musquodoboit, we stopped at a coffeeshop, a local bakery selling homemade bread and cookies. There were a couple of customers before us, and while waiting to be served, the princess, starving as usual, inadvertantly touched a basket of cinammon bread on the display rack. The coffeeshop man immediately whisked the basket out of her reach.

For a moment I was stunned- I had first thought he meant to offer some bread to the princess. Then, seeing as I couldn’t beat the coffeeshop man to a bloody pulp, I channelled my rage on the princess: “Why did you touch something we hadn’t paid for yet!” I gasped in a screaming furious whisper. Meanwhile, the father of the princess and golden boy stormed out of the shop muttering “stupid villager ignorant barbaric man- did he think my child was going to steal his stupid bread, stupid man, never seen a black-haired Arab before – thinks we’re all thieves…”. The princess herself was dumbfounded, never dreaming her act of touching a piece of bread could unleash such a torrent of adult emotion above her head.

Martinique beach itself is wide, with soft pale sand like Kish, only instead of the warm green stinging Gulf, it is edged by the huge battering ocean. On glimpsing the ocean, I crazily called out “Penguins!” It took me a second to realise they were surfers, dressed in dark wetsuits. The sand is dotted with piles of seaweed in a myriad of shapes and colours, huge leathery ribbons in glossy green-black, delicate feathery scarlet ferns, yellow bubbly strips. The seaweed stinks. The water is freezing.

We had a fruit picnic on the beach: a grapefruit, an avacado, two small sour red-skinned apples, an orange. The fruit-juice mixed with the sand on our hands and round our mouths.  The golden boy hunted for spiders and the princess built sand-houses. It was a lovely day.


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