Tess is four and a half years old but has never been to the seaside. Yesterday we had to return my heart contraption to Middlesbrough and as that is almost on the coast we decided to pack a picnic lunch, take Tess and go on to the seaside.
An easy journey along the A174; we turned a corner and there - spread out in front of us - was the vast expanse of the sea. Wonderful. I love the sea and haven't seen it since going to Norfolk in May.
We turned down into a tiny side road to Runswick Bay which we reasoned would probably be less crowded than other places along that coast. And we were right. Going down the hill to the sea we spotted a place in the Car park immediately and moved into it.
There were few people on the beach, the tide was out and there was sand for Tess to run on. She was so excited, running here and there, jumping up in the air, greeting other dogs. Finally she dashed into the sea, gave a yelp and dashed out again! She tried a drink, visibly shuddered and ran back to us.
We ate our salmon sandwiches and our kit-kats and crisps here, drank our coffee and then decided to come home through the North York Moors National Park - that vast wilderness with incredible views, which a fortnight ago would have purple with heather.
Eventually we reached the top of Sutton Bank, where the Hambledon Hills fall away suddenly to the plain below. Here, at the National Park Centre, we stopped and had another walk, coming back along the edge, with fantastic views over the plain and also of Lake Gormire. The farmer loves this view as all the farming is laid out in front of us. It is a good time of year to view the land as (hopefully) most of the farming jobs are done for the year. The fields are harvested, the grass is cut and gathered in, the hedges are trim, the fields are ploughed and often sown with next year's crop.
We arrived home at half past four tired but happy after an enjoyable day out, but keeping awake through Strictly, Country File and Antiques Road Show was extremely difficult. Tess slept through the lot!