Friday, 10 September 2010
I'm having an affair (shush, don't tell!)
There is something so generous and warm-hearted about it somehow. Maybe it’s that east wind that just blows all the crap clean away? Maybe it’s that there is space, loads and loads of space, so people don’t get crabby about being piled on top of one another. I adore the North Devon beaches but we barely went over the summer – because my heart sank at having to queue to pay five quid to park and then wriggle onto a crowded beach. In Northumberland, we just pitched up, parked (free) and wandered through the dunes to be confronted with endless sand and sea – and a few stray people off in the distance. They don't have hangups about dogs so the SP could frolic too.
Last time we went we stayed in Seahouses which is about as bold and brassy as it gets up here (the locals roll their eyes but it always seems just fine and dandy to me). This time, however, we were in deeply civilised Embleton and made our home in just the most gorgeous cottage. We’ve stayed in a lot of self-catering cottages over the years and (bar one in the South-West of France which was used part of the year by its madly civilised Canadian owners) rarely find one which really does cater for all your needs and has good taste to boot. This one has the lot.
But best of all was spending time with Fred again. For those who don’t know her, I met Fred (@themill) many years back through blogging. We drank way too much tea and far too much red wine and fizz and talked far, far too much. James was also happy as Larry – he thinks Fred and her family are ‘way cool’ as they are, variously, fans of rugby, cricket, racing, bacon sandwiches and animals. He had love-ins with their new Labrador pup, rode out on the combine and slouched watching TV in Fred’s to-die-for kitchen (archetypal Jilly Cooper style – massive Aga, even vaster table, armchairs, dog baskets etc).
We also acted as official ‘tasters’ and ‘unpackers’ for Fred’s new shop, Eleanor’s Byre. Honestly, if you’re within two hundred miles of it, you simply have to drop by. They’re serving stunning coffee, ‘real’ tea (loose, in pots, with cosies) and (OMG) hot chocolate that is simply Out Of This World. Then you can stock up on all those vital things you really can’t live without – like tweed handbags and soft stripy scarves; seaweed soak and hearts made out of old maps.
Ah, sigh, I am gazing off into the distance again, feeling those little flutters in my heart. This really must stop....
The website for Eleanor's Byre will be up and running soon: http://www.eleanorsbyre.co.uk/