Flight of the beach umbrella

“Hey Mummy look at that… the umbrella is dancing..” Umbrella dancing? WTF? A quiet day lying on the beach on a weekday in the middle of the summer holidays with just you and the kids and someone’s umbrella is dancing? Too much sugar for holiday breakfast maybe? Somewhat confused you move your gaze from the trashy woman’s mag that you would never been seen dead reading at work to the direction where the giggling toddlers are pointing just in time to see a very large beach umbrella exit its anchoring device and start cartwheeling down the beach towards you.

The transition back to reality is immediate and jolting. With a surge of adrenalin heightening your reflexes you discard the mag and leap to your feet in a move that Lara Croft would have been proud of. Instinctively you grab your two babies and pull them close to you in a mother bear style of protective hug which places your body between you and the evil hunter now tumbling ever closer. You take a deep breath, peer back over your shoulder and brace for the impact as the somersaulting shade and its lethal sand spear get closer and closer. You close your eyes, pull the cherubs heads in tight and surprisingly have time for a quick prayer before impact. Its funny how in moments of perceived crisis time really does appear to slow down?

After what seems an eternity you pluck up the courage to open your eyes. To your amazement  the offending piece of beach furniture is continuing its flight to freedom down the beach and, in a scene reminiscent of a streaker at the cricket, is now being chased by the owner of the umbrella, several concerned beachgoers, a couple of grey nomads in lycra swim shirts and several burley lifesavers in budgie smugglers. After checking for injuries to the kids you are joined by several other mums who describe in detail how close that rogue umbrella came to collecting someone. As they point up the beach and retell their experiences you notice something unusual that doesn’t look quite right and sticks in your mind. As you settle back onto your towel and set the kids off to play again in the sand you turn to look again to be sure. Yes it’s there. Standing proudly no more than 10 metres from the towels of the people who are now retrieving their lost and lethal umbrella stands a second almost identical umbrella. Concerned by this sight you walk down to check on the chance of lightning striking twice….

After striking up a conversation with the young mum enjoying it’s shade you are perplexed by her seemingly blasé attitude to the whole situation and the possibility of her umbrella joining its friend in a free-spirited romp down the beach. After a few minutes of chit chat with no real idea of her story and amid growing frustration you decide on a more direct approach. “ Aren’t you a bit worried your umbrella might take off too?” you ask. She points to a sticker on the shaft of her umbrella. “Protected by UmbrellaGuard. Another WindGuard product. www.windguard.com.au”. Curious for answers you grab your phone and open the web browser….

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