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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Saturday, 30 May 2009

Start of summer (and seaside).

We took a drive north last Saturday morning, stopping for a short time in West Yorkshire to see our friend Trev, before finishing our journey near Houghton-Le-Spring in County Durham, where we'd been kindly invited to stay by the parents of Beth's second and third surrogate children.

Despite it being a bank holiday weekend - and save for a little rain on Saturday - the weather was spectacular. The children took every opportunity to play outside, and we spent a happy Sunday morning on the beach at South Shields. We really were spoiled for choice with the outdoor spaces to walk and play; after lunch, we ambled to the park on the other side of the prom, which had a large collection of play equipment and a boating lake.

On Bank Holiday Monday, we couldn't resist the opportunity to visit one of my favourite follies (and there are plenty of those in the UK, if you keep your eyes open!) I was rather amused that, on the way into the operations office at Radio 1 there is a print of a rather beautiful photo of Penshaw Monument, and it always reminds me of the fun times I've had there. Since Beth's mobility isn't so good and the littlest of the children isn't quite agile enough to scale the steps we didn't go up the hill on this occasion, but we spent a happy hour or so in the park nearby. Unfortunately there wasn't any shade, so I ended up quite warm.. they don't do parasols for blokes, do they?

We stopped off again at Trev's - Chris and Lenni get on so well with his daughters, who are each just a little younger - and, after an overnight stay, finished our journey home on Tuesday morning.

Although I had to go back to work on Wednesday (and unfortunately, I was a little unwell, so ended up going home half-way through Thursday; I put it down to the amount of sun I had at the weekend) I think I can safely say we participated in National Family Week in our own unique way. It'd been a little bit non-stop travelling for me, too, since I had a work trip to Manchester on Thursday and Friday last week (which I'm still sorting out!) so I must have journeyed a couple of thousand miles over the past fortnight. It's good to be home, now.

Another weekend has arrived, and we've already made the most of it by going swimming and, on arriving home, opened all the windows and doors to let the mercifully cool breeze in, since it's still sunny. Once again, I've not really put much effort into maintaining the garden; although we planted out some vegetables, either the seeds were eaten or the growing conditions just weren't right. At the moment, the nasturtiums are taking over!

Chris has an extremely busy week ahead - his class is going to Dell Farm - an educational residential centre where schoolchildren learn about the environment and countryside. It's a complete contrast from the inner-city life of Luton, so will hopefully be a fun place to be. It's amazing to think that Beth did the same trip when she was at primary school, so it's clearly very well-established. It doesn't stop us feeling a little apprehensive, since this is Christopher's first week away from home; it's only a few miles west of here, though, and as long as he has plenty of sunscreen on, I'm sure he'll be fine.

I'll close this 'catch-up' blog post with some photos from our visit to the seaside - as always, the gallery has bigger versions, which can be seen by clicking on the pictures.

Have a good weekend!

Lenni and Lucy on the beachLucy, Lenni and Chris playing on the sand dunes
Beth and Emily, enjoying the sunshine

Posted by james at May 30, 2009 4:38 PM

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