I spent the last week walking and enjoying the open spaces of the Northumberland coast. What bliss! After a very busy work summer that extended right to the end of September, I’ve finally been taking some time out. I had promised myself that I would cut right back on freelance writing work from the beginning of October – for the whole month. Surprise, surprise that the first two weeks of October were spent trying to catch up on work other than the Big Project that took most of my time between July and Sept 30th.
Sensibly though, I had booked a week away and it was better than I expected. Not an exotic location or a luxury holiday in a fabulous hotel with a price tag to match Just a week away from email, social media, house projects, work with the time and freedom to explore the coast in long beach and cliff walks, taking in some ancient castles. And, of course I took some crochet and had some jewellery making intentions too, both of which have become obsessive activities in the last few months.
Boulmer, a little fishing village
The cottage I stayed in was in Boulmer and it was a real find. I saw it by chance on a comment left on a facebook page – people were posting about sea glass and the reply showed a picture of the sign to Driftwood Retreat, decorated with sea glass. And the comment said the cottage was just across from the sea.
Trawling through various holiday cottage sites I have not managed to find a coastal cottage that I was happy with. Most that say they are near the sea are a five minute drive – I wanted less than a five minute saunter.
When I clicked through to look at the pictures of the cottage on its own facebook page and on the agent’s pages the photos looked very enticing. I booked direct at the beginning of September, so had something nice to look forward to as I ploughed through hundreds of medical articles for a long-standing client.
I arrived at the cottage last Saturday afternoon at about 3pm, unloaded my stuff from the car and went straight out onto the beach. Out of the front door, across to the gate, across the tiny road, onto the grass verge, literally 1 minute later, my feet were walking on the sand. And the seaweed, which was a bit of a downer as its horribly squishy and nasty underfoot. Yuk.
There is quite a lot of it on Boulmer beach but it was easier than I thought at first to negotiate my way round it and find bare stretches of sand to stride out onto. The tide was fairly well out and I walked left first. I was quite taken with the idea of finding some sea glass, but didn’t really expect to. Instead I picked up a few nice pebbles, some shells and wondered along the virtually empty beach starting to feel relaxed already. It was mild, not exactly warm but not freezing cold as I had expected when by the North Sea towards the end of October. The evening sun was lovely and it was still light until about six o-clock as the summer time clock change only just happened this last weekend.
Only one other walker passed me that first afternoon, an older man who was obviously a local. He was very chatty and told me there was a glass bottle dump at the top of the beach, which had been a pit at one time, when everyone in the village had thrown their bottles in there, but had since been exposed by the lapping of the sea. He said he had picked up some intact antique bottles from there. After a quick look, I realised that he had probably come out with a spade and digging equipment, so didn’t linger too long there. But it did get me thinking about the origins of sea glass.
So much sky!
You can see how wide the bay is. Boulmer is a natural harbour and the fishing boats still launch from the beach or lie just offshore, reached by smaller boats that set off from the small yard just down from the cottage.
I was never up early enough to see any boats or fishing activity mind you, but that’s what holidays are all about. It must be an incredibly hard life fishing for a living and I am very glad I don’t have to do it. Fresh fish is gorgeous and I admire the people who can get up in the wee small hours of the morning, launch into cold and choppy water and bob about in all weathers hauling in the catch.
After walking for a good hour, the sun was starting to get low in the sky and I headed back to the cottage as I was excited to unpack and get myself settled. My initial 10 minutes to upload and have a quick coffee, and to receive a phone call from the lovely owner to check everything was OK, I had glimpsed the loveliness, the duck egg blue and beach colours and the log burner… and I wanted to see more.