We arrived home from 'up north' on Sunday after a very quick and busy visit. In our usual way we tried to fit in all the things we normally do there in a shorter space of time. Number one on the list is a day on the beach. This is the thirteenth summer Helen has been going to Longsands Beach in Tynemouth and tradition can not be broken.
A beach is always entertaining. Rock pooling, riding non-existent waves, picnics, and hot chocolates to warm you up again when the North Sea has turned you blue.
Our trips 'up north' have us going into town, buying new school shoes, and uniform, and all the other necessities of life. Lunch was at Wagamama this time, where a bowl of noodle soup got the better of Helen. I had a night out with my stepsister, talking, eating Greek mezes, talking, talking some more.
Trips 'up north' we go to Tynemouth Station on the weekend for the market. The girls love the man who sells everything Dr Who related - including a hoard of DVDs. I love all the vintage things. My only purchase this time was a bag of vintage threads on wooden spools for £2.
What trips 'up north' don't usually include is a chance to take some photos of the place mats I made and gave to Mum for her birthday in April. But most of all, trips 'up north' have never involved saying good bye to the house that my mum and stepfather have lived in for thirty years.
It is the right time for them to move, but oh so very, very sad to say good bye to the house. Tears were shed. Next time we go 'up north' we will be able to do and see all the same things but we shall be staying just five minutes up the road in their new apartment. It will feel strange.