He has been made to sit under the shade of the parasol wearing a t-shirt because, following the hour he spent with Mycroft fishing shrimps from rock pools, his shoulders have taken on a pinkish hue. It is tiresome. Mycroft is allowed to go off, sans t-shirt, and play cricket with the older boys at the other end of the beach. He has to sit quietly next to Mummy where the sand is not damp enough to pack properly, so that, when he turns the castles out of his bucket, they crumble instantly.
From where he sits, he can see a boy and girl with sandy hair, who must be brother and sister, playing together. It's the sort of playing that Mycroft makes him engage in sometimes; games that he doesn't really enjoy, like being tied up, or used as a lookout, or experimented on. The girl is bigger than the boy, although not as big as Mycroft. She is chewing thoughtfully on the end of her damp ponytail, as she covers her younger brother up to the neck in sand, sculpting it carefully over his limbs.
"Harry, I want to get out now," the boy calls out. "The sand feels horrible."
He read a story in The Telegraph the week before they left for the holiday about a little girl dying at the beach when she was digging a hole and the sand collapsed over her. The coastguard who was interviewed said that children shouldn't be allowed to dig deep holes or bury each other in the sand. He thinks that the big girl probably didn't read The Telegraph and needs to be told she's doing something wrong. Putting down the bucket, he only takes a few paces before Mummy's voice calls him back.
"Sherlock, darling, stay in the shade. We don't want you to get sunstroke."
So he sits down again, but he doesn't make anymore sandcastles. He just stares at the boy and girl as she piles up more sand, and he keeps asking for the game to finish. He keeps watching because then, if anything does go wrong, he can tell someone and no one will get hurt.
But he doesn't have to watch for long. Soon, a man, who also has sandy hair, comes over to the two children. He laughs for a moment, and then tells Harry that she has to dig her brother out because its time to go home. It does not take long to dig the boy out; he is not, apparently, buried that deeply. He watches as the boy and the girl pack away their buckets and deflate their inflatable dinghy.
He does not think that Mummy would let him play with one of those.