Life's a beach
|Cresswell Beach, Northumberland|
I'm undergoing what I take to be the typical reaction of an expat, returning home after a long time. I don''t remember everything being so beautiful. We walk around open-mouthed at the gorgeous gardens, parks and architecture in Newcastle. When we arrived at Cresswell beach in Northumberland, a location familiar to us over the years, I saw it with new eyes.
The bracing beach walk was a favourite Sunday activity when we lived in England. Bracing because it was usually freezing cold and windy, but that made the pub lunch, afterwards, even tastier. Northumberland is one of the least visited counties in England and all the better for it. The beaches are often quiet and we used to love the fact no two visits were ever the same- the light over the ocean changes by the minute and even a grey and cloudy day can look dramatic.
Having grown up on the coast and spent much of my childhood on Tynemouth Beach I am drawn to the seaside. Gone are the days when I was brave enough to swim in the sea with my dad. In Montreal I miss the smell of the ocean, something I did notice as soon as I stepped out of the airport in St John's, Newfoundland recently. It was the familiar smell of home.
Most visitors to England miss out Northumberland as they hurry on their way from London to Scotland but the beaches here are a little known treasure. My favourites were at Bamburgh and Craster with their dramatic castles looking out to sea but also Walkworth, Alnmouth and Embleton.
It was a perfect day for a walk in the end. Windy but warm, cloudy but dry. We walked back on the sand dunes and through fields of cows and sheep. The birdsong is especially noticeable - another sign that Spring is further advanced here, than it is in Montreal. We were with friends and we headed for ice creams at Cresswell Ices. Our walk was a reminder of all those Sundays, with all those friends over the years. Too many to count and I now know I should have appreciated them more.