Sunday, 13 March 2016

Embleton, Northumberland. Sat 12th March 2016

After last year, which, thanks to a number of reasons, turned into a bit of a fiasco holiday wise, we finally get to have a "proper" holiday again. Having enjoyed our previous visits to Northumberland, we decided to come again, despite knowing that at this time of the year, not only would it be cold but that a lot of the tourist type places would not yet be open. We know the area well enough for the latter to not have put us off, and the former is never a problem with a warm coat, hat and gloves.

This holiday was made a little bit more exciting with the purchase of a brand new car, a VW Polo, which we only picked up the evening before we went away. I drove the car home from the garage on the Friday evening, and Sally only had a very brief drive around the local area on Saturday morning before undertaking the four hour drive up here in it. Thankfully, she is an old hand at driving long distances in unfamiliar cars, and so it wasn't as daunting a task for her as it would have been for me. All I had to do was to stay awake and offer directions. Several times I disagreed with the directions that my phone was suggesting, and we did get here safely and without driving through the centres of Middlesborough and Newcastle, both of which the "Waze" app favoured.

The cottage is an old converted fisherman's one, and was originally two cottages that have been knocked into one, and extended at the rear. It is a good size, and has been beautifully modernised and fitted out. The owners obviously take pride in it, and haven't cut any corners or spared any expense it would seem.

The kitchen is huge and is nicely set out, although a bit more work surface would make it even better, but as our kitchen at home suffers from the same problem, we can hardly complain about this!  There is a dishwasher, fridge/freezer, washing machine and tumble dryer, toaster and microwave as well as the usual one would expect, the crockery and utensils are all of good quality and look pretty new. We are very impressed. The dining table is enormous and gives the kitchen a focal point, and also an ideal place for a snooker table if you are that way inclined.

The central heating keeps the cottage nice and warm, but for those particularly cold evenings there is a wood burning stove in the old fireplace in the kitchen. I doubt that we will need to use this as the heating is set quite high anyway. When we arrived there was a bottle of wine, a packet of shortbread and a card welcoming us to the cottage, and we also found a pint of milk in the fridge. This was all a really nice touch, and impressed us no end. Thoughtful owners it would seem.

A flight of four steps leads off the kitchen and down into the living room, which is part of the rear extension. This is a fairly large room with two sofas and a coffee table along with the TV. The owners appear to favour lamps which has gone down well with Sally, and every room is so well equipped with them that you don't really need to worry about the main lights. The rear wall of the living room has double doors leading out to the decked area of the small garden, complete with table and chairs for alfresco dining in the summer.

Off the living room is a shower room with a walk in shower, basin and toilet. The shower is very powerful and gets a big thumbs up from us both. It does seem a little odd to have this room where it is, but it does save one from having to traipse to the main bathroom when you are watching telly or just chilling out in the evenings.

Back up the stairs into the kitchen, we then go along a corridor into what would have been the second cottage. This has the main bathroom off it, which has a bath with shower over it, basin and WC. Further along again we get to the master bedroom with a king size and very comfortable bed, built in wardrobes and bedside cabinets. This room is very large and inviting, but does have a window looking right out onto the footpath in front of the cottage, so make sure you draw the curtains!

Opposite the door to the master bathroom are four steps down into the other part of the rear extension which is the second bedroom, with two single beds that can be joined together, wardrobe, drawers and what have you. This room looks out onto the rear garden, and seems to be the coldest room in the cottage, but as we won't be using it, we didn't investigate the controls for the heating in there.

Once we had unpacked and investigated all the rooms, we had the obligatory mug of tea, and ate a late packed lunch that we hadn't eaten during the journey up. We then decided to go for a walk, which took us briefly around the village. Embleton is actually quite tiny, and there isn't a lot to see here apart from the village store, two pubs and a small hotel. We then walked towards the golf course, or links, as we are on the coast! This took us down a lane for about half a mile or so, and once at the golf club you can walk across the width of the course and find yourself on the beach. 

It was absolutely wonderful to see the sea again after such a long time. It brought a big smile to my face, and I think Sally was quite glad to see it too! The beach is sandy, not very deep, but it does go in both directions for a few miles. By now it was getting close to dusk, so we set back up the hilly lane to the cottage. We weren't that hungry because of the late lunch, so just had a makeshift dinner before settling in for the evening, with us both reading our books. Once we got to 9pm, all of this stopped so that we could watch the final two episodes of "Trapped" on BBC4. 

Despite having watched every episode of Trapped and paying what I thought was close attention, the ending came as a bit of a surprise, and I'm not totally sure I fully understand the who's why's and when's of it. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it though!

Off to bed, where we discovered just how comfortably the bed was, and a good night's sleep was had by both of us.

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