Oh we do love to be beside the seaside . . .

The little harbour at Staithes also has a sweet beach beside

Early Monday morning, everyone is struggling to wake up and pack up for the off, after a delightful weekend of fish and chips, pizzas, and then a complete Sunday dinner. Food and drinks have been in copious supply, just like the sunshine.

It seems the whole country was filled with sunshine, actually, as the reports from Glastonbury confirm. But we were concerned mostly with our own experience, as the family got together to enjoy a prescient Christmas present.

I was thrilled that the three story holiday house, booked for the weekend, had a tiny alcove and desk, perfect for setting up the laptop to facilitate recording yet another sequence of joy. Sometimes it’s a special joy to find a quiet space to collect one’s thoughts, even though the hustle and bustle of family is a delight.

A classic writer’s garret is the perfect place for me to retreat to.

But for one grandson, armed with his special rock hammer, the quest for the weekend was always going to be the fossil foray. Runswick Bay was reputed to be the best place along the east coast to find ammonites. Vehicles organised, we set off and eventually parked safely up above the long beach.

While the grandparents rested on the handy stones at the bottom, everyone else headed off for the stony part far away at the end of the beach. Eventually, ageing bones feeling up to the amble, we ourselves followed. We got to the rocks, but about half-way back to our resting place, we realised that we’d gone further than our bodies were comfortable with. But we took it slow and steady, and finally flung ourselves back down to a horizontal rest. The boys were busy bashing away on rocks, and we would have to wait for the reveal when they made it back to show off their finds.

First auguries were disappointing, but they turned out to be fooling us; the rocky site had been a treasure trove for ammonites, as the blurb had promised. So everyone had a personal fossil to prize and cherish.

It was a wonderful capstone to the weekend, though the huge Sunday dinner was a welcome coda as well. And I got the ultimate pleasure of writing about it!

A pristine ammonite fossil was the prize sought by the family at the rocky end of the huge sweeping beach at Runswick Bay

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