A summer's tale


The strange thing about having lived so long on an island is that I always had the feeling the sea was far away. I only saw it when we crossed the Channel from England to France, that blue line on the horizon suddenly appearing which never failed to fill me with emotion. I remember the chalky cliffs of Dover with the piercing cries of the seagulls flying overhead and waving to those left behind on the piers. In a way, the sea is so simple with the same sound of the waves constantly breaking but there's something endlessly fascinating about walking along its shore. The sea washes away all traces and the footprints left in the morning will be gone a few hours later, as if we had never existed. There was the joy of rediscovering those familiar beaches of Northumberland from last year with the silhouettes of Bamburgh and Holy Island and the feeling of letting the pain and sadness of 10 days ago be carried away with the breeze and the waves. There were the countless cups of tea and comforting pieces of homemade cake in between visits to ruined abbeys with their beautiful old stones and melancholy churchyards. My room in a farmhouse was decorated pink with flowers in the fireplace and round the mirror; I've never stayed anywhere so silent, far from main roads where you could look for miles over the rolling hills in the distance to watch the dying glow of the sun and see the wisps of grey cloud like feathers across the sky. I love that feeling on holiday of forgetting time; no internet, no phone, it no longer matter what the date is. Evenings were filled with books - Fitzgerald stories and most of all George Perec's La vie mode d'emploi (Life, a user's guide) which amazes me with its detail, irony and sensitivity - but also films, some funny, some serious - Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Body Heat, Wes Anderson's wonderfully quirky The Life Aquatic, Terence Malick's Days of Heaven, possibly the most beautiful film I've ever seen and my very first Eric Rohmer, Conte d'ete or A Summer's Tale which made me long for the beaches of Brittany. Tomorrow I'm headed to London for a few days to visit Keats' house in Hampstead and some museums. Sorry for not commenting much on your blogs at the moment but the internet connection at my parents' place is really awful and I lose it every couple of minutes. I'll be in touch again soon.
In Kelso the first evening

Kelso Abbey

At Melrose Abbey

The graveyard at Melrose

Gargoyles at Melrose

The lighthouse at Berwick

The best lemon cheesecake

General Haig's grave at Dryborough

At Dryborough Abbey

Sir Walter Scott's tomb

At Dryborough Abbey

La mort aimait l'enfant qui finissait un livre...

The best chocolate cake

At Jedburgh Abbey

Carrot cake

A perfect cup of tea

Abbotsford where Sir Walter Scott lived

The prettiest cupcakes

A penguin book bag I couldn't resist

Orange drizzle cake

At the Main Street bookshop where I found a copy of George Orwell's Books and Cigarettes which Pia wrote about a while back.

Bamburgh castle

Playing croquet

A 99 ice cream at Seashouses

Another visit to Barter books in Alnwick

The best cheese toastie, served in the old waiting room

The little train at Barter books

Some images from our garden just before the trip to Scotland


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