It’s one of those golden autumn afternoons, and down at the sheltered little beach nearby, the weather feels almost as warm as summer. Mira and I start by collecting pohutukawa leaves and admiring their colours. The yellow ones tend to be spotted, the red are glowing, and a few tiny new green ones complete the picture.

Here are tree branches from the fallen pohutukawa, and she is big enough to climb them now,

and find a perch from which to see the world.

Then she runs with her bucket into the sea. It’s tricky when you are 3 1/2 and trying to juggle your purse full of precious things on one shoulder.

 But somehow you find a way, because you’re nearly 4, and you know that you can do things today that you couldn’t do last month. Running up on to the sand, you empty your bucket of water, making a splash that stays, in the form of a water-blot.

 You make one trip after another, enjoying the game of bringing the sea to the land. Granny joins in by digging holes, which you fill with sea water

 and gleefully call ‘swimming pools’. Oh what fun. Your leggings are wet through, but who cares. Granny has them drying on a warm rock in the sun.

Now you take a stick and make lines in the sand. Granny says that they are roads, and brrrm, brrrm, motor-car Granny is driving along. You squeal and go faster, then you turn around and draw a line at right angles. Granny can go no further. You are smiling from ear to ear. You have the power to stop someone bigger than you, just by drawing a line in the sand.
How sweetly the time passes in the golden light of autumn, when old and young play together with whatever nature provides.