A summer of Covid times…

At the beginning of May I wrote about our life in Lockdown, here on the north-east English coast, starting with a glorious pic of the view from our home. Writing now – some four months later – I can’t help but reiterate “the banner pic really says it all – it is glorious as ever at our Seaview home, even in these Lockdown times. How very lucky we are.”

Looking back on what else I wrote in May, there was gardening, pottering round our home, sewing and knitting projects – and of course, walks! All of which have continued much the same.

But there have been the relaxation-of-lockdown treats. Going back to the hairdresser for one …Stephen opted to attend my Seaview barber shop (complete with cat comb and my best dressmaking scissors) in late May …And very best of all – visitors! The first lot came up from London,  here socially-distanced on our lawn in early July …Followed by more family in August, this time travelling up from Devon and Cornwall.  The weather started cruel (particularly considering it was August) …But then turned benign … And there was the first meal out at lovely Atelier’s in Berwick … That felt like a very big thing as Berwick and our local coast have been packed with visitors who – presumably – couldn’t get to their usual continental destinations for their holiday.

A repeat walk to Cocklawburn beach in August left us very taken aback! Look at all those cars – and revisit my May blog to see how empty this beach was in early Lockdown. Very good for local business, of course – but just a trifle discomforting for us locals …That lurch from cruel to benign and back again has been the story of the last few months’ weather (and perhaps other things in the national covid story).

The black poppies flowered exquisitely in July …And then the pots had to be brought into the house to protect the flowers from the powerful gusty – and unseasonal – winds. It has been so very windy this summer! I  think the winds of summer 2020 will remain in my memory longer than the covid restrictions …There have been a awful lot of damp and foggy days – this was June … And even though the flower beds looked glorious with August colour, so many days have been overcast … Sometimes it’s been nastier than overcast – truly a miserable August day here, but, yes, there was light on the horizon …And, of course, when the weather’s gloomy, the beach empties – but it is still insanely beautiful … And fascinating to explore the seafoam – even us adults can’t resist …Despite some awful weather …We have been to the beach often enough to find some fascinating new beach treasures. I’ve never found old leather shoes before … This has to be one of the haggiest hagstonesUndeterred by the ups and downs of the weather, we have walked and walked, exploring inland Northumberland as perhaps never before. The countryside is so immensely varied round here – we have managed to find delightful places to explore for every sort of weather the gods have deigned to send us.

In late June’s scorching temperatures we headed for Hepburn woods to walk in  the shade of the trees  …It had a primeval feel to it …July saw us walking along the Tweed from Horncliffe – a day of sunshine and showers. Not my favourite walk – I can’t quite put my finger on why. Perhaps because it was overcast most of the way so the Tweed definitely wasn’t looking its best, and perhaps because this is all very much managed angler country. Still beautiful …Mown pathways – really to provide ease of access for anglers – make for easy walking …Interesting to see the weirs …July also saw us heading up Humbledon Hill on the edge of the Cheviots. This lingers in my memory as a star of a walk. For starters, the summer flowers were stunningly lovely. Whether it be banks of wild thyme …Or the intermingling of flowers and grasses and views …Or heavenly walking on soft springy grass up gentle gradients amid majestic surroundings …Or the view at the top – it was all just lovely. I dream of it still …But then July’s Cornhill walk was good too. This was along the old railway track that used to run from Berwick to Kelso. Wonderful wild flowers, easy level walking …And old bridges making such a powerful statement in the landscape … August saw us back in the Cheviot’s – this time walking up Great Hetha. We’ve climbed Great Hetha several times before, but never followed this particular route previously. Starting in the College Valley, we headed up through forestry plantations to little Trowupburn Farm, nestling in the folds of the hills …Then – on and up and up – To the glorious top – and the view …What a place for a picnic!We were back walking the old railway line again in September – these are great walks when the weather on the coast is just too windy for comfort. This time we followed a circular walk from Wark-on-Tweed …In the weeks since we last walked the old railway line, autumn has come …Fields have been harvested. So very beautiful …Last week we headed back to Hepburn woods, not to walk there but to use it as a base to climb up to Ros Castle Camp. Stunning views of the Cheviots and the Glen valley were the reward for this steep climb … Up and up through the heathery moorland …Then the next climb up to Ros Castle Camp itself …At the Sir Edward Grey memorial on the trig point at the top …With views over the moorland to the North Sea …And a brief stop at Chillingham Church on the way home – but alas, the church was still shut under Covid regulations … Back at home most of the fields have been harvested now …The last of the summer flowers are still hanging on as the golden field is ploughed brown …Our thoughts are turning – with the rest of the country – to winter and the fears of another Covid outbreak. At one time there were reports in the news of cats carrying the Covid virus …Are we bovvered? say Eggy and Ilsa – Naaaah!Alas, I cannot say with the cats that I am not “bovvered”. Our Seaview sanctuary has offered great solace through these summer months, but fear and worry are not far away. Some of the younger members of our family are looking for employment and some are travelling back to work again. Older folk have Covid in their care homes. Hearts for so very many are heavy. Stay safe.


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10 thoughts on “A summer of Covid times…”

  1. Love your blog. I live nearby to you. You describe all the walks I have, and still do. Born in the Cheviots eventually living at the bottom of Humbledon Hill. Travelled away now back appreciating this great area.

    On Wed, 16 Sep 2020, 10:11 something from seaview, wrote:

    > kaydeerouge posted: “At the beginning of May I wrote about our life in > Lockdown, here on the north-east English coast, starting with a glorious > pic of the view from our home. Writing now – some four months later – I > can’t help but reiterate “the banner pic really says it all ” >


  2. I came across your blog a couple of years ago and love your descriptions and photos of the area where you live. We know the area well as some of my husband’s ancestors lived in the Berwick area at Scremerston Sea House and were well ensconced in other places in Northumberland such as Ford village and Dotland Park in Hexhamshire.

    We live in Newcastle so it’s not too far to travel to these beautiful places. Looking forward to your next blog…. thank you!


    1. Thank you, Tina. Must have been amazing to live at that Sea House with the waves crashing at the feet of the cliffs! So glad you enjoy the blog – we truly live in such a wonderful area – I count my blessings daily 🙂


  3. What fabulous walks you have up there. I love the wildflowers, confess I’m envious! Devon is lovely too, but only the moors offer this wildness, solitude. Had no idea you had such bad August weather. We had another heatwave, punishing temperatures. We closed windows and curtains and stayed indoors until evening. But since then it’s been mild and warm, still very dry. Steve is shelling beans in yard as I type this. Sad to hear some of your family are looking for employment. Jenny is still on furlough, not holding out her hopes but is applying for things. How hard this is for people with mortgages and other financial commitments and young people embarking on their careers. Ironic that us older folk are the most vulnerable to Covid, yet the younger generation is paying the price for keeping us safe. The only good thing about this virus is that many companies have realised the benefits of working from home, with all the benefits for climate that it brings. Hopefully this will give a boost to regional towns.


    1. It is amazing here, Mandy – you would indeed love it. And the wildflowers are just fantastic. Very interesting to read about your weather – so different up here! It’s just been so changeable – extreme wind one week, and then amazingly still and sunny as it is today – and lots of grey days. I don’t think I have known a summer of weather quite like this. But doubtless that will get forgotten as the Covid story takes over. Which is indeed truly horrific and worrying for so many people, especially the young.


  4. Your haircuts are brilliant You look so happy. Black Poppies are quite unusual. Your weather in August with the fog looks like ours except ours was SMOKE and it was horrific. Had to remind myself that we were not burning and didn’t have to evacuate. we are clear now and will finally get some rain. Most of those fires in California and Oregon won’t go out for months.
    Miss the sea terribly. Your July walks look exhilerating. I am still in the woods with the doggers every morning and Need to do this or I will be ‘bovvered’ LOL
    Hagstones, eek, had to look that up and you really have ‘treasure’. Be well and here’s hoping for best for employment and health for your family. Virtural hugs.


    1. I was really happy after that haircut, Susan! I guess my shaggy hair really symbolised how out of control we were because of lockdown measures – really a bit of an eyeopener.
      Those fires in California and Oregon have been absolutely terrifying – the terror of losing your home and perhaps your animals and your livelihood, and the pervasive smoke to endure for so very many west coast Americans. It reminds me of when we have floods here – individuals are just helpless in the face of these terrifying challenges.
      Like you the walks kept me sane – so very glad to hear that you and your lovely dogs are out in the woods regularly. Keep that up – and take care K x


  5. I enjoyed your blog very much Kay. Your part of the world has been calling to me for some time now. Every time I pass through on the train Southwards I wish I could get off and stay and explore. Something for the future I hope. Those of us who live in beautiful countryside with interesting walks nearby are the luckiest in the world right now are we not? Being outdoors in relative safety lets me forget all about the global pandemic for a while and that is such a relief from the endless jibber jabber from the Media. At least once a week we vow not to watch any more news….but inevitably we end up gawping at it the political nonsense and fear-mongering, which only makes everything so much worse. The nearest I’ve really been to your part of the world was a short visit to Melrose many, many years ago, and a tour of Hadrian’s wall (again, many years ago) with my children. And once, on a trip South for a family wedding, my daughter and I stayed overnight in Alnwick which was lovely . We visited the Castle gardens. But I still haven’t been to the coastal places which is really sad. But having read your blog I must get my act together and organise that holiday to the North East that I have been wanting for ages……but not until things are a little less fraught. In the meantime, well….I’ll keep following your blogs, and dreaming. 🙂


    1. Yes, we are very lucky indeed to live in these beautiful places, but like you we are endlessly drawn back to the news – you can’t really avoid it, can you? I hope one day you get to travel to the north east of England to explore, but in the mean time thank you for your kind comments on my blogposts 🙂

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