Thank goodness the sister has been back out on the golf course because there’s been damn all golf in this corner of the blog.  She’s been tracking the greats of the game and experiencing golf at its championship best while I’ve been watching a bit on the telly but mostly shaking the Northumberland sand out of my shoes and from between my toes. Oh, and freezing the freshly caught Amble fish.

The fishing has been a bit sporadic recently and we were lucky to catch the fisherpersons at their stall on the harbour.  There was monkfish (pieces), smoked cod and squid.  I couldn’t resist giving the latter a go because I can’t forget the memorable melt-in-the-mouth squid Dai and I had once; admittedly it was in Australia, on Kangaroo Island (not that far from Adelaide) and the squid had travelled a matter of metres from sea to kitchen to plate to palate.  Wonder how it’ll work in Lichfield…

Word is out: fresh fish about. [Pic courtesy of Mrs M]

The latest batch is now in my freezer – I only got winged by a squirt of ink as I was preparing it, inexpertly, not too bad for a first attempt (!) – so who knows how it’ll turn out when I get around to cooking it.  Fingers crossed it’s edible at least and I haven’t ruined it.

On our last full day in glorious Northumberland – Mrs M and I wondered if we could move Lichfield right a bit and up a bit (well, quite a lot really, looking at the map and then it wouldn’t be Lichfield) – I joined Puffin Cruises for the short trip to Coquet Island. It was so calm that even Maureen and Mum, veterans of innumerable ferry crossings and notoriously fussy about sea levels, would have stepped aboard without a qualm.  They might not even have needed their wrist bands because we were out for just over an hour with barely a ripple to trouble anyone’s equilibrium.

There’s no landing on tiny Coquet at this time of year, with thousands of puffins nesting and zooming about like mad things.  There are also terns, including those of the roseate variety, very rare apparently, so it’s a bird lover’s paradise.  I remember a friend going to the ends of the earth – or as near as dammit, a very long way anyway – to see puffins and seeing not a one.  I’d seen a few off the Isles of Scilly but this was puffin central.  There were also seals everywhere, bobbing up all around the boat, as curious about us as we were about them.  It was magical.

One of the many seals observing the boat.  The puffins whizzing about above us were too fast for me to snap and the ones on the island were a bit far away – see below.


Puffins galore. Once they leave the island they’ll be at sea until they return next year.

On the way home, we called in at Druridge Bay, where there’s another wonderful beach and a lovely country park.  It’s only a couple of miles south of Amble, which was bathed in sunshine but when we hit the beach, we could hardly see the sand let alone the sea.  The haar (a raw sea mist) had hit the shore and it took me a while to find the sea – the tide was out too – for my farewell paddle.  It was eery and very easy to get disorientated.

Where’s the sea? Alice, seek.


It really was gloomy.

Fortunately, we’d seen the beach in its full glory the day before and it’s right up there with Northumberland’s best.  Don’t bother going, though, too cold, windy and rainy, not forgetting the real danger of haar…There’s always Cornwall, Spain, Florida, wherever!

Back home, the garden, almost entirely self-seeded and left to its own devices, had exploded, with colour everywhere.  It was a joy to see and I felt I was doing my own little bit to encourage wild life and combat global warming, especially since I’d turned the heating way down and retired the log-burner for the summer.  Admittedly, I haven’t turned the heating off and I’m still not fond of pigeons – I don’t have a garage, my car is a sitting Fiesta…Splat.

It won’t be winning anything at Chelsea but I love it. The pallet, painted by me, is now in use out the front as a plant stand.

A bit of weeding, belated spring-cleaning, some shed-tidying and general footering, otherwise known as messing about aimlessly or blog avoidance, led me to shout at myself:  “Get on with it, dear.”  It was our auntie Doto’s mantra – hence the Dote Note – and eventually, every Thursday, the time comes when even I, a world class prevaricator, can’t ignore it.  You’ve just got to put the bum on the seat (Dai’s definition of inspiration, forged in a lifetime of imminent deadlines) and hit the keyboard.

Shed, small and not that untidy but still full of junk that could be useful elsewhere.

Have I anything to add to the sum of human knowledge, golfing or otherwise?  Probably not.  There are opinions aplenty – on LIV (don’t care that much about the product but regret the belligerence and bitterness); the Ryder Cup (of course Brooks Koepka must play) – but most of them are best examined off paper, sorry, screen.  In the pub over a beer or at home over a glass of decent wine (The Wine Society has never let me down but I’d be a much wealthier woman if I hadn’t inherited Dai’s membership; only monetarily, though) or a cup of tea or a glass of water.  The words will flow whatever the alcohol level and temperance is no guarantee they’ll be temperate.  But if they’re not written down, they’re easily retracted, changed, modified, mulled over, reinstated, whatever.

Let’s get together soon for a proper natter.


This is no place to put the boot in.  My Dubarrys, first worn at the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor (2010, mud to the eyeballs), newly restored in Lichfield by Jonny The Shoe. Hope it’s a while before I have to test them out.  Shine on summer.