My son sprints down to the water’s edge, shovel in hand, and comes to an abrupt stop. He is surrounded by a quartet of much larger boys at least two, if not five, years his senior. They are not particularly concerned with my son: the sand castle project is well under way and construction will not slow for a new, smaller, arrival. Still, they have noticed his shovel. It is not one of those crappy plastic kids’ ones but has a solid metal blade with a wooden handle. It is left over from my partner’s tree planting days.