Weeknotes 043: Nancy said BYE!

tldr; We had a holiday this week.

As you couldn’t bribe us to go near an airport at the moment, we spent our week’s summer holiday glamping in Berwick. We’d each taken a piece of fiction with us. I think I derived more enjoyment from the Conan books than The Chef did from the weather reports.

Setting off was the one day of guaranteed sun and we stopped off at Whitley Bay to play on the beach with the grandparents and Auntie R before heading North. It was tiring enough for the girls to sleep in the car and for me to turn off the cruise control before I joined them.

It remained pleasant on arrival at our wooden home and we headed to the long shallows of the local beach; the dangerously named Cocklawburn. We waited to hear a local say it before we strayed into tourist territory (pretend to be a French, lost somewhere between Newcastle and Scotland and say Coq-le-bun in your best Geordie-Scots). The best way I know to pronounce British place names correctly is to live here for hundreds of years first.

With the storms imminent, we sat over the BBQ sipping a bottle of red and watched the farmers work together to race the rain to get the harvest in. The first combine harvester startled a deer from the long grass to complete the bucolic atmosphere.

Piglet embraced the countryside by mimicking an angry owl at 3 am, bellowing without recourse to comfort for over an hour in the dark hours. It was with sheepishness that we apologised to the neighbours at breakfast the next morning. They were all polite enough to pretend to have heard nothing.

It was an unspoken agreement that we’d nap before attempting anything for the day and we headed over to a surprisingly lovely Berwick in the afternoon. The local pool has no right to be as good as it is. It even had a free electric charger to refill the car. The town itself is a mix of charm and neglect typical across England.

The Chef has done her pre-holiday homework and we headed over to a mini steam railway on the next day—even spotting a heron chilling over the river Till. Piglet, exhausted from shouting choo-choo for 20 minutes, napped in the sling while we took the riverside walk. And we were lucky enough to see another heron—fishing this time—while we sheltered from a passing shower.

Piglet had fared better than the previous night, but was far from flawless and I drove a tired Chef and child back to camp to cook delicious pasta with more nutritious wine. Piglet by this point was bored by the regular beats of Baby Shark and was asking for improv and it’s at this point we realised the bisyllabic nature of most relatives in English.

The wind had died down enough by this point in the week that it was worth venturing across to Lindisfarne for another sling walk. This time it was seals, curlews and (the surely made-up) wigeons. When she woke, we were in the town itself, which is boring for a two year old, but she stuck with us as long as we’d let her run in circles. A late enough tide meant we could grab tea on the island. Eat at The Ship if you get the chance. The fish stew. Woof. And they were good enough to get our food out early so we wouldn’t be stranded. While The Chef cheered for the encroaching sea on her first trip across the causeway, Piglet ignored it in favour of sticky, sticky, stick, stick.

Our last shower on the campsite came after they’d run out of hot water. We didn’t know they’d run out until 30 seconds into it. Bracing. Still, it was an improvement on the previous day where Piglet had tried to run away and ended up splatting on the concrete. We got through both experiences with a rousing chorus of ABCs. Piglet refuses to bow to Americanisation (or rhyming structure) and finishes with a Zed.

Frozen, but clean, we set off to walk the walls of Berwick. In the rain as it turned out. Cowering in a covered alleyway we Google mapped around to find somewhere to eat. A fat thumb found us Atelier. We’re blessed to have a toddler comfortable in a hipster bar-cum-cafe eating raclette. A second day wandering round rainy border towns had soured her mood and she spent the meal soothing her sad toys. We took the hint and didn’t hang around for a second drink.

Clearing out from the camp, we scored Piglet one sleep-through, one near sleep-through, two climbs into our sleeping bag and one howler. A win for us on balance. Albeit a win without music, because she demanded, Alexa, play twinkle twinkle by boy,” whenever she saw the speaker. We tacked on a final return to Atelier for lunch and pub grub for tea before managing to unpack better than last time.

Being offline except for the ever-more-complete maps app and keeping up a Duolingo streak (Pearl league) left me feeling like I’d missed nothing except for the Olympics. We drove back with the previous week’s 6music on Sounds adding to the effect of news standing still. Upshot is that I’m going to remove a few more news apps from my life.

A good first week.

1 August 2021


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Weeknotes 044: Daddy’s a silly sausage Week two of my holiday started lazily. Relearning the locations of toys with an excited toddler. Toddler Godiva rides again Following a day of