We decide to go to the seaside for the weekend. In November. In
Lancashire. We're not being over-optimistic, just nurturing our sense adventure.
We drive to a chocolate box town, leave the car and take the train across rugged farmland, past Railway Children stations, a brief pause in respectable
then on to the end of the line. Morecambe. Lancaster
I admit I'd only heard of Morecambe because of the cockle pickers. And even then I thought it was in
. In fact it's a stunningly situated seaside resort, with views across its extensive bay to the hills of the Kent Lake District.
I've looked up what to do if it's raining and the best I can come up with is tea at the elegantly restored Art Deco Midland Hotel. Well I have married an architect. Fortunately the sun is out, albeit very low in the wintery sky, turning the exposed mud flats into a vast lake of molten silver. We make straight for the beach and issue the kids with a bucket and spade each.
That's the next two hours taken care of, as if the bucket and spade are magic keys to a world of harmonious pottering. And curiously the perfect castle-building sand takes second place to the mud and gloop and seaweed and unmentionables that constitute the ingredients for 'chocolate pudding'.
It gets cold and pretty dark by 3pm but before we succumb to the allure of the Midland Hotel we happen upon an accordion player on the pier and a maze cut into the stone: more harmonious pottering, now with a musical accompaniment.
It's the simple things in life. We reach our B&B hardly noticing the amusement arcades, the Wacky Warehouse, the discount stores and the derelict buildings. I haven't a clue what the rest of Morecambe's like (apart from a surreal dog show on Sunday morning), but the seafront on a sunny day is pretty special.