We are just back from a lovely holiday week spent in sunny Englandshire- firstly Northumberland, then Yorkshire and finally Lancashire. We swam in the sea, climbed mountains, and made the pilgrimage to Lindisfarne, barefoot over the sands (with some mud!) at low tide.

It was great to spend some time with my lovely family doing seaside things- and to appreciate again how lovely England is, with its layers of history laid down in a rolling landscape and in buildings of stone and brick.

We also fitted in celebrating the wedding of our friends Stacey and Bob. Congratulations to them as they start their married life together.

Here are a few photos- particularly of the magical walk over the sands to the Holy Island;

The back-to-work-after-Christmas Hakka…

The house is now empty after a wonderful time spent with friends over New Year. We always take a group photo, which always seems to be a record of the development of our kids, and the increasing decrepitude of we adults-

The other thing this photo reminds me of is the end of another Christmas/New Year break. A new year is upon us, and work begins again.

This year may (or may not) bring changes, but for now, the grind will grind on.

Andy and I were laughing about the feeling of needing to psych up for work. Almost like the New Zealand rugby team performing the Hakka-

So, by way of my own little hakka, I wrote some words. Imagine them being performed by men like those above.



Scowl me out that stress-face

This holiday must fracture

Stoke the furnace, sound that bell

This man must manufacture



Scrape the windscreen, warm the car

Before we once again commute

What was that bloody password?

I must again reboot



A million unread  e-mails

Have scleroted up my in box

The undrunk mug of coffee

Is waiting for a detox



There are those who are waiting

To mire me up in memos

Their words have little meaning

And even less good purpose



I should have been a cave man

His was a better planet

The things we folk must do

To slay this seasons mammoth



Smash some windows, kick some cats

Shout at the television

Tomorrow we must rise again

To earn some long division

Holiday photos…

We are back after a lovely few days in St Andrews- the sun shone and it was great to spend time together and to visit somewhere new.


Beach cricket (ours and watching a beach fixture played on Elie Beach.)

All those lovely little villages.

Sailing with Em and Will.

Slow days of sunshine and easy laughter.

Too much good food.



He sighed.

Off for a couple of weeks. We are heading over to the East Coast to do a bit of exploring- a bit of a new thing for us as the other side of Scotland is a bit of a mystery- we have been too addicted to mountains and lochs (and midges.) St Andrews here we come…

See you when we get back.

Back from hols…

We are back in Scotland after a lovely break on the Yorkshire coast after what we can only call a traditional English holiday…

We stayed in Michaela’s uncle Barry and Aunt Sue’s caravan up on the cliffs next to Whitby abbey, and hardly used the car at all for the first week- cycling and walking everywhere. The distances were increased as the swing bridge over the harbour broke down, meaning a long detour from one side of Whitby to the other.

The sun shone, and when it rained, it was dramatic and beautiful…

I confess that I always find blog posts on other people’s holidays a bit naff, so this time we decided that each of us would just list our highlights- so here we go…


Listening to Norma Waterson along with some of her singing family in an old church. Singing as easily as breathing.

Going first class on the North Yorkshire Railway- the first time ever (and perhaps the last!)

Relaxing, reading writing letters, lying in bed in the morning…


Watching England under 19 cricket team play Sri Lanka at Scarborough Cricket Ground. Catching a ball on the boundary, and getting autographs of both teams. Chatting to the Sri Lankan team in their room, and being on first name terms with their coach!

Riding a real steam train.

Cycling into town.


Relaxing. Somewhere were we had never been before- doing touristy things, and seeing old Whitby.

Eating very good chips!

Horse riding.

As for me…

All of the above (minus the horses!)

I really needed a break- and it was certainly that- spending time with those I love the most, walking and riding and building sand castles, it was simply lovely.

I loved visiting Whitby Abbey, and walking on the moors.

And the cricket match- watching William lit up by a game that I love- that was special too…

It was also really great to meet up with Graham Peacock, whose blog I follow (Digging a lot.) Graham is a Methodist minister who lives near to Whitby, so we hitched a plan to meet up and share a pint. We share a lot of interests- faith, cricket, music, so we had lots to talk about.  And yes- he blogged about it first!

However what was amazing was that we discovered that I used to work with his wife Victoria when I was a social worker in Bolton!

Small small world…

All good things come to an end…


So we are home…

After two weeks of travel, 13 different islands a holiday cottage, a posh hotel and a few campsites. We had sun, rain, wind and glorious sunsets. Waves crashed and then the water stilled to become a green blue mirror…

It was a great holiday, but it is always good to be back home.

We had an eventful last few days. The wind bent a tent pole on one of the tents, hence the posh hotel, which was a real treat (we stayed at the Isle of Barra hotel– quite a place!)

So, a few more photos, and then the let the memories linger…

postcards from the western fringe 8- beaches bikes and peat fires…


Emily and I cycled to the beautiful Bosta beach.

There is a recreated Iron Age house there, and white sands, and clear blue green sea.

It was so lovely, we took Michaela and Will in the evening.

Some photos…

Postcards from the western fringe 2- big sisters rock!

So here we are, on Bernera, a little island connected to Lewis by a causeway. The last time we were here will was one year old, and took his first unaided steps on the ferry. Here he is as he was, and where we now are (if you see what I mean.)


We are staying in a holiday cottage with wide open windswept views in every direction. Funny thing is, when we checked out the guest book, we saw the name of some old friends from England, Mark and Joy Headley, who stayed here in 2006. Well I never…

Bernera has a lovely community feel about it- and they have a new play area for the kids near the community centre.

The first thing we did was cycle over there and Emily and Will (and mum and dad too) became monkeys for a while.

But faced with a rather scary pole slide thing, Will became a rather timid monkey. Step forward Big Sister…

(Click to enlarge.)

Tomorrow we go north, and west…


We will walk where the land mingles with the sea, and the horizon stretches on for ever.

We will swim, risking frostbite, and cycle into gales that will make forward progress unlikely. We will swat midges and shiver in small tents as the rain rolls in off the mountains.

We will make our own little adventures and cook over sparkling driftwood campfires.

We will make memories.

And be grateful.