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Our impromptu weekend away at the seaside

I am fast becoming a lover of the spontaneous weekend.

I’ve always been a planner. I like to know what I’m doing, when I’m doing it and what I need to do to make it happen. I enjoy the anticipation of looking forward to it.

I’m an endless list writer. I have lists to prioritise my lists and then notes to remind myself of those lists. Inevitably, along the way, I lose some of those notes and the whole thing descends into chaos but at least I’ve tried.

But last weekend, we had a spontaneous weekend away.

Whitstable has proved attractive to second home buyers
Whitstable has proved attractive to second home buyers

Our neighbours are lucky enough to have a holiday home in Whitstable, and spend a fair few of their weekends down by the seaside.

On Thursday night I got a call. (I know they live really close but it was quite late, dark and if you get free calls after 6pm, why bother putting your coat on?)

“We’re not able to get away this weekend,” said my neighbour. “Do you fancy a weekend by the sea? Take your mum if you want to.”

I looked at my husband, who took about half a second to say yes, and that was that. I rang mum, we packed our bags and the next morning set off for work ready for a weekend away as soon as the working day was over.

It was bliss. Having been caught completely on the hop, we had no plan and no idea what we were going to do.

As it is only a short drive away, we shared our reckless whim and called friends to join us for a drink. They did, and what could have been a usual Friday night crashed in front of the telly turned into an evening in the pub full of laughter, fish and chips by the sea and then more laughter late into the evening.

Our friends headed home and the next morning, the three of us got up and – as there was no food in the house – headed out for breakfast.

What should have been a day of back-breaking work clearing our overgrown garden became a glorious, if chilly, walk along the seafront to Seasalter and back, a mooch around the shops, another pint on the seafront and a dinner of local produce.

Another late night was off the cards because the sea air had caught up with us all. On the Sunday, we headed home early as we had other plans, but our two-night break had felt like much more.

This week, I’m off and all that’s in my diary is a lunch. By the time you read this, I may have headed to the Royal Albert Hall for a concert (never done it, but have always wanted to), jumped on the train to Paris, headed off to a hotel for a day or two to discover somewhere new or simply jumped in the car and seen where “left, right, left, right” takes us.

Of course, I’m well aware that this is a list of spontaneous actions, which kind of defeats the object but who knows what it will lead to?


It’s my 10th wedding anniversary on Wednesday.

The day we married was wonderful but, perhaps predictably with us involved, not without drama.

We married in the Lake District and it snowed just days before we were due to travel with our 20 guests. Right up until the day before, we weren’t even sure we’d get there.

We did, just, but dreams of fields of golden daffodils were replaced by snow-topped mountains. Not a bad swap, in the end.

Our wedding day. Picture: Matthew Walker
Our wedding day. Picture: Matthew Walker

On the day, a television crew wanted to come and film us after my husband had won a Lake District competition (it’s complicated) and we ended up sitting down to eat with our guests and the hotel staff wheeling in a TV set so we could watch ourselves on the evening news.

Our 10 years have had their adventures in more ways than one, but this one’s for you hubby, the best friend I’ve ever had.


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