We were travelling to our Alpine ski holiday on an early morning flight from Newcastle airport – as, it would appear, was half the population of the north east of England. All the airport hotels were fully booked, so we took advantage of South Tyneside Council’s offer to host one night stays in a temporary camp site on the beach at South Shields.
TPR and I squeezed ourselves into the last remaining sand dune pitch. Our hearts sank when we saw our immediate neighbours: a huge family of three generations that included at least one toddler and a baby, and a couple testing out a DIY tattoo kit on one another’s legs.
When the grandfather of the family lit a cigarette, I had no choice but to ‘have words’ with him. We managed to maintain civility between us as we agreed a couple of concessions: he would smoke away from us all provided that I looked after the baby while he was gone.
My duties over, I took off along the beach for a wonderful run to the far end of the bay where enormous rollers crashed up the shore. I had no idea that the seaside of South Shields was so beautiful.