Wow – where has the summer gone? They say time flies when you’re having fun but this is just crazy.
It feels like a while since I’ve written a more traditional lifestyle post and so I thought I would let you know what I’ve been up to lately. Whilst not working on my book that is.
Following on from a recent sojourn in a Tenerife hospital, we opted to keep our adventures a bit closer to home this summer.
Whilst the allure of palm swept beaches never truly leaves me, we are really fortunate in Scotland when it comes to stay-cation options and Glasgow couldn’t be a better location from which to set off on a road trip in search of somewhere special.
Follow the Rising Sun
Armed with everything bar the kitchen sink, we headed east, kicking our holiday off by self-catering in the picturesque seaside town of North Berwick, located on the Firth of Forth, just an hour and a half or so from Glasgow by car.
My parents own a holiday home in North Berwick and for generations my family have spent summers convalescing away from city life there, breathing in the bracing sea air. That basically makes North Berwick my spiritual home, right?
Those familiar with the Great British seaside holiday will be unsurprised to learn that most of my childhood memories largely revolve around shivering in a bathing suit on the beach: either munching sandy sandwiches behind a wind-break; or, fishing for seasnails in rock pools with my younger siblings (also blue).
I’m sure you can imagine my glee when, somewhat uncharacteristically for Scotland, the sun came out for us for the whole week we were there! Huzzah!
Despite one of my cheery Caledonian cohorts being overheard grumbling that it was “far too bloody hot,” wild horses couldn’t have stopped me from stripping off on one leg behind a too small towel into my undies, just to indulge in some wild swimming with the local mermaids.
You may recall my New Year’s Day post chronicling the day that (in retro-spect) I had a minor nervous breakdown resulting in my very enthusiastic participation in the annual North Berwick “Loony Dook” in sub-zero temperatures? Read it here.
Well, I can confirm that the sea was still bloody freezing in August, but at least I managed to stay in for a good while this time once the numbness kicked in.
Another one of my favourite past times in North Berwick is eating out. For a town of its size, there are really too many amazing eateries to justify name checking just a handful, but the cuisine I lust after most of all when in town is lobster & chips (french fries).
After a seafood hiatus whilst pregnant, this was my postpartum meal of choice. We travelled here for our first wee family meal out topped off with a celebratory plastic glass of champers. That’s how much I love it!
Super-fresh and sustainably sourced, in my view, the al-fresco dining experience at Lobstershack showcases the local catch at its best. To be fair, the whole of the North Berwick and East Lothian region is a foodie paradise and there just aren’t enough meals in one day to cover all the possible venue options.
Another family tradition that we practice in North Berwick is hunting for Cowries. These tiny pink shells have become legendary in North Berwick for surviving the lash of the North Sea’s waves. Once initiated, it becomes extremely addictive trying to spot and gather them amongst the seaweed and other broken sea furniture. The result is that many a ten minute stroll turns into a two hour treasure hunt.
Here is what twenty years of Cowrie hunting looks like.
You never know, I could be rich beyond my wildest dreams post Referendum if Scotland is on a new currency hunt.
Fringe by the Sea Festival
Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention that North Berwick hosts an offshoot to the Edinburgh International Festival every year in August. “Fringe by the Sea” is a week long music, literary & comedic extravaganza centred round two Speigal tents set up along with street food stalls and a bar down by the harbour.
The programme is always excellent and is a great way to combine a Scottish seaside holiday with the Festival sans stress!
We were also lucky enough to head into Edinburgh to catch some comedy and cheer at the real deal and so I’m feeling suitably satisfied on the performing arts front at the moment.
The end of summer always makes me feel a bit flat. Well, just for a minute. Then I look out the window and see the leaves turning gold, smell the log fires and feel my clothes get cosy again as we descend into the big chill of winter.
Hello September you beautiful thing!
8 thoughts on “Lifestyle post: Farewell to summer”
North Berwick is a lovely place indeed. I am glad you got especially lovely (and uncharacteristic) summery weather for your stay there. I love your bowl of shells. I used to collect sea glass in different colours but it all got lost in one of our moves.
I love it so much, all the more when the sun shines! Are Americans as obsessed with the weather as us?! What a shame about your sea glass. You’ll need to start that up again next time you hit the beach. Best wishes 😉
I’m sure there are Americans who are as obsessed with the weather as British folk are but I’ve yet to personally meet one. I’ve found that weather forecasting here is more accurate here than in Scotland and that probably reflects a more consistent and predictable weather pattern. I think as Scots we are obsessed with the weather because we can have multiple seasons in one day so are always looking for the signs to interpret. Rubbish weather makes us neurotic obsessives.
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Sounds like you had a nice holiday. What a wonderful place Scotland is.
Even I’ve heard of your Lobster Shack and yes Americans are equally obsessed with the weather. It is always the main topic of conversation like, “I hear it’s going to be a really cold winter” or “is it going to rain, etc.”. Even though we mock meteorologists for being unreliable we share their weather forecasts on a daily basis. We follow weather folklore like that in the Farmer’s Almanac and forecast the winter by looking at wooly bear caterpillars. Of course I’m in middle America where if you don’t like the weather today it’ll be something different tomorrow. When I lived by the ocean my cowries were agates and it was as you said very addictive.
I just read your other story. What a brave (I’m being kind, lol) lass to go swimming in January.
Have a great weekend! 🙂
Hi Maverick! Sounds like middle America and Scotland have something in common in the fickle weather stakes. In fact, when through in Edinburgh that same week as ^, we got “trapped” in a beer tent as blazing sunshine turned to torrential hailstones and thunder in the blink of an eye. I mean – it was August!!! All very dramatic though. And all the better with beer in hand!
I just googled the agates – wow – very pretty! We should do a shell exchange sometime!
Have a great weekend yourself! 🙂
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I know what you mean – end of summer can be a wee bit sad. I am taking solace in getting to wear luminous tights again and furry boots!
That sounds super funky! I can’t wait until I can don my (fake) furry cape again!