I am rudely awoken by my own alarm, that I have set every Thursday for work and curse for forgetting to switch it off. My crabby mood is fleeting as sunshine pours into our Van and it has the signs of a glorious day.
The Dog now sleeps in the shower area, where I have to step over her (the Van has a rather quirky lay out). This Dog ain’t for moving – yet. We get up slowly – we have a plan of catching the bus up to Beadnell and walking back along the beach. On checking our phones for bus timetables, we conclude that there’s a bus at 11.37, so we chill, drink coffee, read, have cake and camper watch. It then suddenly dawns on us that we don’t know where to actually catch the bus! So I waddle over to the office and get informed that you flag the bus down outside on the road and by the way, there’s timetables around the corner. It’s the beginning of a small farce, as I read that there’s a bus at 10.35 – in about 10 minute’s time! I dash back, we leap up, chuck everything in the Van, grab The Dog and present ourselves on the road side. Then we start doubting the information, so we start scuttling backwards and forwards to the office, where there are two timetables pinned up, with one of us always on look out for the bus. We start to bicker slightly to which timetable is right and how much the Covid-19 has affected the bus services. Finally we have a lightbulb moment and actually call the bus company. We are reliably informed that the next bus is at 11.37.
We slink back into the campsite and plop back into our chairs for 3/4 of a hour and get chatting to another camper, who is also attempting to catch a bus. So we repeat the exercise and wait on a narrow patch of verge as cars speed past us. 11.37 comes and goes and it’s approaching nearly 12 noon. Where is the bus – can understand a few minutes late, but really? Just as we’re on the verge of abandoning the whole project and have a rethink, a bus finally comes around the corner and we flag him down. It’s a single decker with nobody on it. We have to put on face coverings (compulsory on public transport) and take a seat. The driver is obviously way behind schedule and gives us a rather startling ride to Beadnell. He drops us off conveniently beside a cafe on the corner and peeling off our face coverings with relief and a big gulp of fresh air, we stagger across and take seats outside. It’s now very warm and sunny.
We finally order our longed for full English breakfast, going through the new normal of sanitising everything, keeping distances and giving contact details. What a weird world. Opposite is a rather splendid church, built from the brown stone of the area. It’s quite a pleasant, quiet corner of Beadnell and thankful for the bus stopping there.
With our stomachs full, we walk down towards the sea, down a lovely residential street of houses and bungalows. At the bottom, we spot a campsite that we stayed many years ago where, overnight, a vicious storm blew in early one August Bank Holiday, causing our little two man tent to collapse and the complete site to empty of campers by 6am. We turn right and walk along past more houses and the sea. Some people have put clapboard on their homes in gentle pastel colours, making them look rather smart. There’s a whole jumble of different housing – bungalows, chalets, houses. Behind the houses, a recent development of bog standard box houses has been squeezed in, a characterless build of monotonous houses overlooking their back gardens. At least, they’re hidden I suppose.
We follow a footpath and drop down onto yet another beach. It’s fairly crowded with people enjoying the sun and making the most of it, after enduring a few weeks of cool weather. The beach isn’t as nice as our beach further down, but it’s still a decent one. As the crowds thin, we let The Dog off for a run and to chase seaweed thrown into the water for her. We wade a river across the beach and later, have to leave the beach to cross over a headland. Here, there’s an icecream van in the car park, so we buy two 99’s with strawberry juice, and sit in the grass to eat them, giving The Dog the remnants. We carry on, through the grassy path before dropping down to Low Newton by the Sea and a pub. We feel a pint of beer would be good at this juncture and turn the corner for the pub. Alas, there’s a huge queue outside and bodies all over the lawn in front. Can we be bothered? It’s another little honey pot for people to gather and we walk towards a little path to access the beach. Here, a young family are blocking the entire path while they wrestle their screaming baby into it’s buggy (can’t you do that somewhere else) and a few yards further up, a young couple stop dead in front of us to talk and despite seemingly noticing us, do not move. So much for trying to social distance here, people. No awareness at all – all got the holiday brain on. I have to say “excuse me” before the pennies drop and they move. Honestly.
We carry on along the beach, coming into our little area. We walk past the houses in the sand dunes, thinking how lovely it must be to have a home here overlooking the sea and with such fantastic beaches to walk on. Can imagine being there on a stormy day, snug in your little house as the wind rattles the windows. Today, it’s been a lovely sunny day and quite warm – we’ve been walking in t-shirts and actually caught the sun. Fingers cross for more days like this.
We find our little gap in the sand dunes, up towards the holiday cottages and fields and back to our site. We’ve walked about 6 miles today, just about right. The Dog however, has probably doubled that and shows it, by first gulping down her breakfast (she’s decided to have only one dinner a day, rather than two and will only eat it if there’s cheese in it as an added incentive). She then crashes out on the grass by the Van, not even attempting to move when our neighbour returns with his motorhome to park on his patch.
For us, the chairs are out and we catch the last of the sun, before making tea and relaxing. A rather lovely day.