We have just returned from a heavenly week in Northumbria, where we spent our days taking deep gulps of salty sea air, sitting together in silence with our books, indulging in long, drawn-out meals on our cottage patio, long walks and bike rides through unfamiliar landscapes, and even an indulgent windy afternoon on the couch with some tennis.
It was a wonderful place to spend a week alone together, working through our individual troubles, making sense of what we have and how we can build upon it. Laughing, talking into the night, walking together in silence, drinking, sharing ice creams; being away from the chaos of real life gave us the space to find us again.
As soon as I faced the sea for the first time, which in the far North East of England looks so much more vast and endless than it does here on Yorkshire's coastline, a sudden river of grief poured over me and out into the blue ahead. There was a gradual unlocking and letting-go over the whole week, and passing a beautiful memorial bench on the final day, inscribed with the words "find me here, for I am not gone" allowed a couple of much-needed and unfamiliar tears to fall: slowly we move one step closer to what has to be the future.
There were endless empty beaches to warm our feet, moody skies and waves that curl into a scoop like ice cream on the surface of the water. The silhouette of one castle or another occupied every skyline, with towers to be climbed and ruins to be explored. Smoked fish, thick ice cream and local ale tempted us at every corner, and a fantastic rural folk night had us rollicking into the warm evening with satisfaction. A week just wasn't enough, but we continue to live it as we slowly return to our normal lives, and we try and try to hold on to that holiday way of living, where routing and order don't really need to exist.