Wednesday 19 October 2016

“Ô, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.”

During a chat outside of Seth's school one morning, the seaside town of Seaham was brought to my attention. In all our times visiting various beaches we had never ventured in that direction and I wouldn't usually consider driving 3 1/2 hours for a beach, unless it was somewhere we were staying for a few days. As it is well known for its sea glass though, I thought it sounded well worth the drive.
If Opeie and I are driving a fair distance I like to break the trip up as it can't be much fun for him being in the car for that long. So I Googled Seaham to look at the surrounding area (because my geography is awful) and after a short discussion with my co-pilot we decided on an afternoon adventuring in York to break the trip up, followed by a drive to County Durham to camp for the night, ready for our beach combing glass hunt.

When we arrived at York we parked up and removed our trusty Micro-scooters from the boot, sometimes I honestly don't know what we'd do without them now, they make getting about so much easier. The older roads in York (for obvious reasons) were not scooter friendly but we were able to get from each historic landmark to the next with the greatest of ease! As soon as Opeie had spotted Clifford's Tower high up on that hill, he made it very clear that he wanted to go up to the top. I was wishing I had one of Micro's shoulder straps all the way up that old winding staircase as trying to carry two scooters and hold Opeie's hand was a pain. At the top though we were rewarded with a great view of York, which took me right back to the last time I visited when I was around 10.

I would have loved to have taken Opeie to the Jorvik centre, which I remember being really fun when I was younger but sadly it is still closed after the flood from the river banks breaking last December. We did however still get our fill of Viking history by visiting the Home and Abroad exhibition at St Marys, where we learnt about the life of a Viking and their industry. We also met a very interesting Viking while there who told Opeie all of the Viking history surrounding the amber necklace that Opeie has worn for most of his life. Opeie didn't look impressed when he asked his age and then was then asked why he wasn't out working. The exhibition isn't huge but there is plenty of fun activities inside including making Viking jewellery and learning about Runes.

Concerned about pitching a tent up before dark and not actually having anywhere to camp at this point, we decided to scoot back to the car and continue our journey to County Durham. Opeie was clearly shattered and dropped off straight away, leaving me to soldier through the drive on my lonesome. When we arrived at Seaham we pulled over so that I could Google local campsites and found a lovely campsite tucked away called Strawberry hill. People obviously have more sense than us, camping on a cold night in autumn as we were the only ones in the field. Suited us though as we didn't have to worry about noise.

We popped the tent up really quickly and then using lots of blankets, two huge thick duvets and of course our sleeping bags, we built a nest in one of the bedrooms and settled down for the night. 

While getting Opeie off to sleep I made that classic parenting error and fell asleep at the same time (around 8:30). Which meant at 3am I was wide awake, sitting outside the tent making myself a coffee in the freezing cold. Opeie followed suit and woke up full of beans around 5 and we made the crazy decision to pack the tent up in the dark and head towards the beach (which was 20 minutes from where we were staying). Our crazy idea paid off though when we pulled up at the beach front around 6 and ate our cereal in the car while watching the sun rise. It was one of those beautiful moments you hope your children will always remember.

 When the sun had come up a little we headed down to the beach in search of some shoreline gems! We were both suprised to see that we were not the first people on the beach, there were some serious sea glass hunters down there with their carrier bags at the ready to hold their booty. We picked a quiet spot that hadnt yet been searched upon and began our hunt. I assumed you would really have to look to find the sea glass but there was lots of it about, it was the bigger pieces and certain colours that you really had to look for. Opeie was in his element and it was lovely to see him wrappd up, hunting for glass and interesting rocks at that time of the morning.

After 3 hours investigating the beach the early morning adventures had started to catch up with Opeie and I could see that he had possibly had enough. We had filled a jar with various colours of Sea glass and I had a very heavy backpack full of rocks that Opeie had found interetsing and also big ones to paint for Halloween. We should have a fun seaside themed craft week ahead. If you can get to Seaham it is definitely worth the visit, but if you are going there looking for Sea glass get there early, I was genuinly shocked at the amount of people on the beach by 7:30. It was lovely chatting to people as we hunted though.

We've got a couple of fun idea's for our next seaside adventures and we are hoping that the next one will be a visit to our friends at Micro, so watch this space.

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