Friday, 10 April 2009

Singing Hinnies and Stottie Cakes

I love the sea. I adore living so close to the coast, I do probably take it fore-granted though. The North Sea is beautiful in a very unique way: it is not twee or picture-postcard pretty, it is surging, slate-grey and icy. The cliffs are angular and treacherous, the rocks and pools are strewn with jet black, glossy, slippery seaweed. I love the drama of the place and the soft grey light. In summer we get a lot of sea fret, sometimes the fog horn sounds for days on end. I love that sound so. It really does sound like home to me.

This morning, after dealing with the police and conducting our Miss Marple investigations, Madame Rouge and I headed off to the coast. We walked along the cliffs at Marsden, the setting for many a date with Rochester. I felt rather sorrowful, remembering those joyful and optimistic times with the geordie gigalo. I do miss him, terribly. But, it was a beautiful fresh and blustery spring day, scented with ozone and salt.

Madame Rouge and I chatted about university life, and the 14 years that have passed since we saw each other. She is lucky beyond measure, she met the love of her life at university and they have been together ever since. No traumatic love affairs, internet dating or heartbreak for her, and two beautiful children too. So fortunate.

We retreated to the National Trust tea shop at Souter, a charming little place. I hadn't been there for years. It has lots of northern specialities on the menu: stottie cake sandwiches, singing hinnies, panackalty, pease pudding. We had toasted cheese sandwiches, huge wedges of home-made cake and a big china pot of tea. A lovely setting and the perfect ending to a relaxing couple of days.

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