We spent the last weekend of the half term holidays in Durham staying with my in-laws. It was John's birthday and he had a few days off work; that combined with the children being off school yesterday meant it felt like an extra bank holiday weekend for us all.
On Sunday we all went to Tynemouth for the day, a pretty seaside town up on the coast. It was like a perfect little holiday all in one day. The weather was clear and sunny. (It was also quite cold but you take what you can get here.) We explored Tynemouth Market first, a wonderful and unpretentious weekly market that is held in the train station. It's a mixture of local produce, stalls selling what can only kindly be called "bric a brac" and some real gems by local craftspeople. We bought a few treasures including a little screen print, which I'll show you later on.
We ate fish and chips for lunch - with a cup of tea of course, this is the North - then went to the beach. The children and I took our shoes off as soon as we could and ran down to the see to paddle in the (absolutely freezing) water. As soon as I am near the water I become ridiculously happy and I was even happier than usual watching Bella and Angus. They paddled, ran back and forth chasing waves, collected stones, buried their feet in the sand, built sandcastles, did all the things children do on the beach. Where did they learn these things? I didn't show them. Is it instinctive I wonder? They were so occupied and busy, calling to each other and showing each other things like dead crabs and sea glass. Everything was fascinating to them. It was a glimpse of a different kind of childhood. I was sorry to drag them away when everyone else tired of the beach and I wish I could take them to the beach more regularly.
We ate ice creams on the cliff top over looking Tynemouth harbour then walked out to the lighthouse you see on the left in the last picture. I taught the children the "do you like butter?" trick with buttercups. When we got back I brushed the sand off their feet and shook it from bags and clothes. My skin felt all tight, like it does after a day in the sun and wind, and we'd all caught the sun a little. Everyone was so tired after all that fresh air. We drank beers in the garden in the evening sun.
A day well spent.