Hi folks, I’m back!  Unfortunately I had to take a little break as life has been a little frantic recently to say the least but as you unpaid carers out there know that can be quite the norm for us all especially when supporting relatives with dementia and addictions.  However I’ve got to say that my Support Worker at Gateshead Carers has been a fantastic shoulder to cry on even if we have had to do it virtually!

Anyway, I’m back and raring to go, so let’s hope you all have the same enthusiasm after reading this blog ha ha!   Well as some of you may remember I was going on holiday in late August to Seahouses with my husband, well here is a little taster of what we got up to.

We started our journey travelling up the A1 on Friday 28th August 2020, thankfully the journey went without a hitch even though it was the Friday before the August Bank Holiday weekend.  In fact the journey was quite uneventful apart from my husband’s antics.  All of the holidays we have had over the last 30+ years both here and abroad my husband has always tried to take on the local accents from wherever we are. So I started off my journey travelling with Oz from Auf Wiedersehen Pet progressing to Peter Beardsley then as soon as the Ashington signs appeared Jackie Charlton was suddenly sitting in the driving seat, finally on reaching Bamburgh I was sitting next to the Duke of Northumberland. I say I was sitting next to the Duke of Northumberland my husband may have been speaking in the same way as local gentry but he still looked like Onslow from Keeping up Appearances as he was wearing the oldest vest top he could possibly get his hands on. Of course his excuse was he wanted to be comfortable when driving, I sometimes despair!

We stayed at the Seafield Caravan Park in Seahouses where we have stayed a number of times.  The caravan was absolutely immaculate as not only do the owners of the site ensure cleanliness is top priority but also due to Coronavirus are extra vigilant.

Over the August Bank Holiday Weekend we didn’t do a lot as Seahouses was rammed pack with tourists and with me being classed as high risk of Coronavirus we didn’t really venture out.  Instead we took the car out and drove around the local areas, also as the caravan site is quite large we went on daily walks around the site to get some fresh air.  As for eating out we ate our own breakfasts and lunches and on an evening had takeaways from the local Indian, Chinese and Italian restaurants.  We also had our own supply of alcohol in the fridge. I’m not allowed to drink alcohol due to some of the medications that I take however my doctors told me that the odd tipple wouldn’t do any harm so I do enjoy the odd glass of wine on holiday or at Christmas.

I have always loved Seahouses probably due to the fact that the first 11 years of my life Seahouses was my holiday home as my Nanna had a caravan on the Clifftop Caravan site.  She had caravans from the late 1950’s right up until the late 1970’s.  I wish she was here now to see what she would have thought of me staying on the Seafield Caravan Park as she always said that was where the “money people” had caravans!   

Seahouses was very different when I was a child as it was much less commercialised plus you definitely didn’t have Indian and Chinese restaurants in those days.  I used to love to go down onto the rocks with my Dad and brothers with our fishing rods trying to see what we could find.  Of course we only ever ended up with nets full of seaweed but it was still a lot of fun.  That is one thing which I don’t think will ever go out of fashion as we saw lots of children running around the beaches with their nets looking so contented and happy which was such a great thing to see. 

Talking about my childhood we had some brilliant holidays at my Nanna’s caravan.  In those days the caravans didn’t have all the mod cons they have now so as children my brothers and I always thought it was exciting watching my Mam light the gas mantles on an evening.  We always wanted to do it but my Mam said it was too dangerous.  However we were allowed to collect water from the tap on the caravan site and used to often argue on whose turn it was as for some reason we all wanted to carry out that task.  There was also a bucket in the caravan for “emergencies during the night”, for some strange reason there were never arguments on who was emptying that bucket on a morning in fact I can remember my Mam complaining to my Dad that it was his turn on more than one occasion!

We have visited nearly everywhere in Northumberland over the years so we didn’t really do a lot of sightseeing as this holiday was more for relaxation although we did go out a couple of times.  One place which I have always wanted to visit is the Woodhorn Museum in Ashington so we went there midweek.  I don’t know why we haven’t been there before as it is definitely a place which I would visit again but next time I will definitely take my Mam and Dad as I know they would really enjoy it.  It tells the history of local mining but also so much more!  The main building which houses the main museum consists mainly of displays however there are also some audio recordings of actors speaking in the local dialect. 

It was great to hear the words “Hinny” and “Pinny” as they are words which my Grandma and Nanna both used quite regularly. For those of you who aren’t from the North East Hinny is a Geordie word used as a term of endearment e.g. Y’areet Hinny? Meaning  “Are you alright Honey?” and a Pinny is an apron, something which you never hear nowadays and also you don’t see many of.  My Nanna nearly always wore a pinny however hers was a full size one, I used to often wonder why she bothered to buy clothes ha ha!

We also visited Warkworth which is 3 miles from Amble.  There is a lovely walk which you can do from either direction. We parked the car not far from Warkworth Castle and my husband walked the 3 miles into Amble with me riding alongside him on my scooter. It is a lovely walk as it is on flat paths and follows the River Coquet so is very pleasant.  On reaching Amble Marina we came across the Amble Harbour Village which consists of retail pods specializing in all sorts of different products.  I would have liked to have visited them all but because of their size and social distancing I only viewed products which were on display outside of the pods.

Most of our holiday we spent walking around Seahouses especially the harbour and along the front towards Bamburgh.  I must admit I don’t enjoy the harbour as much as I did when I was younger as nowadays cars are allowed to park there plus when we were children you could climb up onto the lower part of the wall and look over at the waves coming in or the magnificent views of Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands. These lower ledges on the harbour wall have now been concreted over.  It just shows how much health and safety has increased over the years as there are also small barriers on the edge of the harbour so you cannot fall into any of the fishing boats.  It’s funny but when we were children we often walked right up to the edge and nobody raised an eyebrow, I often wonder how did we all survive without HSE Regulations being in place!

When we were on the harbour we saw quite a few boat trips arriving and leaving for the Farne Islands.  We didn’t visit the Islands this time round but I would still recommend doing this. 

I remember my first visit to the Farne Islands when I was 9 years old on a school trip. Our class had the whole boat to ourselves and it was great fun. I can remember being told off by my teacher for leaning over the edge of the boat as it was dangerous which I couldn’t understand as all I wanted to do was get splashed by the waves. 

There are around 23 varieties of birds on the islands however my favourite thing to see is the colony of Atlantic seals. The islands have the largest breeding colony in England with approximately 1,000 pups born every Autumn.  I remember taking my daughters on a visit when they were small and my youngest seeing the seals bobbing in the water and asking why there were so many bald Labradors swimming in the sea!

However my fondest memory of the Farne Islands is when I was on my school trip and the guide was pointing out the different breeds of birds.  He told us the names of various birds but one which always sticks in my mind is the Shag. At the time I thought this bird looked quite majestic perched on a tiny bit of cliff edge however when the guide said the name there were a number of boys from my class giggling and whispering at the back of the boat and were still giggling on the coach travelling back home.  If it had not been for the teacher telling them off I probably would have forgotten however when I returned home I asked my Mam if she knew why the boys thought the name was so funny.  Unfortunately my Mam did not know the answer so she went and asked my Dad who told her that it was time for “the talk” anyway that is how I learnt about the “Facts of Life” I also remember my Mam finishing off by saying you must have a ring on your finger!!!   Four years later I received my sex education lesson at comprehensive school but funnily enough The Farnes Islands were never mentioned ha ha!

Something which we never did this holiday and that was visiting the Amusement Arcade. That is something which we always did every night when I was young.  My Dad would give myself and my brothers 10p each in the form of 10 pennies as in those days the fruit machines mainly took 1p and 2p coins.  We were always told that once our 10 pennies were gone then that was it.  My Dad did used to tell us to put our money in one pocket and if we had any winnings to put them in the other pocket to take home. Of course this never happened I mean who wants to take money home that’s no fun!  We also used to get a bag of chips each on an evening and walk along the harbour and around the village with my Mam and Dad. I still think the smallest things can also be the most memorable!

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this blog and for those of you who are of a certain age that this brought back fond memories for you too!