Saturday, 25 August 2012

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A day in Alnmouth

The pearl of a recent "family and friends" holiday is finally found after a series of rather damp, rainy "stay indoors" sort of days. When the dry weather arrives, with the sun even threatening to pop through the clouds, we head for the village of Alnmouth, situated on the beautiful, unspoilt Northumberland coastline. Ours is not the first visit by Northerners. Previously named a new town under Norman rule in 1150, it was apparently destroyed by Scottish invaders in 1336. Hopefully our brief sojourn will not do too much damage...

There are few signs of destruction as we take up position on the golden shoreline, stretching for miles as far as the eye can see, with the postcard-friendly Coquet Island standing stage right of the horizon. A cool breeze pulls the children into the fast approaching waves: over and over as if being rewound, then fast-forwarded, their brightly coloured wetsuits hop in and out of the lolloping white breakers.

I am holding a "Thomas the tank engine" kite and the strength of the wind provides a constant tug on my hand. The pull is reassuring, as if I'm somehow plugging into nature via the kite's string. I imagine a surge of natural energy, as the wind's current pulses through my body and transfers back to earth via the icy, lapping waves that I'm kicking through. The buffeting sound pounds relentlessly on the kite's plastic. Waves trip to shore and the refreshing smell of seawater is somehow reassuring.

Away from the water's edge, one man is having trouble breaking in a black pony. Like a bronco in a rodeo, she fusses and swishes her tail, unwilling to let nature take its course.

After more paddling, some stone collecting and the important discovery of a snail, we are ready for a simple beach lunch. Sharing sandwiches, we pin down our travel rugs in the face of an increasingly blustery wind as clouds are sent spinning across a clearing blue sky.

Soon the sun is shining as we indulge in a spot of  beach cricket, where the main challenge, at first, is to ensure that the stumps remain upright. We wedge a red boulder against them to keep them intact and soon the ball is free-wheeling away from the bat as a youngster hits a crisp cover-drive across the flattened sand.

A short stroll around town is next on the agenda. We head down Pease's Lane towards Dandelion Cafe, whose bright yellow logo has lured us magnetically away from a more traditional coffee shop. Straight ahead of us as we walk is Alnmouth Village Golf Club. A golfer professionally sizes up, then sinks a long putt on the beautifully manicured green. As if he's just won the Ryder Cup, he collects multiple high-fives from his playing partners.

Sitting in the bright conservatory of Dandelion Cafe, we sip lattes and munch through some large slices of cake, comparing notes on how relaxed we feel. The children are happy to mix cake, ice-cream, water and sachets of sugar into one stupendous, scientific experiment, whilst the "grown-ups" reminisce and mull over  bygone days.

In the bar, local artwork, all vibrant blue skies, remind us of the present and we head back outdoors to catch the rest of the day. As we walk back along the gravel track, dissecting beach and golf course, the swell of the breakers provides a perfect soundtrack.

Soon our cars are swallowing us back into the pace of modern life and we are heading back to complete the last part of the holiday, but the day spent in Alnmouth has been one to remember.

posted on theme thursday- recollections.


White trash-lovers, Freaks for all they’re worth, Anarchy in beady, brazen faces, Seizing stares, Standing ground...