It was always risky choosing Robin Hoods Bay to celebrate my Birthday, most especially as we were staying there on the Saturday night, meaning my Birthday would officially occur on the Day-after-the-night-before.
There are some very very good pubs in RHB :: friendly, quirky, old and cosy, they tempt you to snuggle in, admire the sea views and drink. And J and I do like to drink intoxicating liquor together on occasions and Saturday night was deemed an Occasion.
So this is how it goes::
We enjoy a few delicious pints of beer, well ok, five to be precise, we laugh a lot and the evening passes into night with much merriment.
Next day, my big Birthday-day, waking up in the rather grand four poster bed I detect the light traces of a hangover lurking. My hair also decides to go absolutely, ridiculously sticky-uppy bonkers that morning and I am so shocked when I see myself in the mirror that I almost fall over backwards. You would've laughed if you'd seen me, it was quite a sight. Even J is rendered speechless. I realise with some alarm that I have not bothered to pack any type of hair-taming equipment at all, no shampoo, no miraculous hair products, not even a brush. It's a tense moment, but I quickly find my sense of humour and get down to the business of being Birthday-ish.
There are cards to open, and delightfully wrapped presents too.
Paper and string and pretty things.
Then there's a delicious breakfast to enjoy, and preparations to be made for the day ahead.
There's blue sky, fluffy clouds and dazzling Autumn sunshine.
And there's walking to be done, views to take in, sea air to breathe.
We start out on a ten mile circular walk from Robin Hoods Bay to Ravenscar and back again :: the first half of the walk follows the old disused Whitby to Scarborough railway line.
The path is beautifully tree-lined and carpeted with the first of the fallen Autumn leaves.
Old, mellow stone railway arches to pass under.
Quirky signs alerting us to the local inhabitants......
.......who right on cue appeared in front of us to cross over the track.......
......quacking gently, going about their Sunday business.
And after five miles or so of trees and tracks, bridges and ducks, we emerge at Ravenscar to take in the stunning view of the bay.
There is hot morning coffee and some chocolate, a little stone seat to sit on and look out to sea.
The second five miles of this walk is deceptively hard work. This is a typical coastal path along high cliffs with some serious ups and downs. We can see Robin Hoods Bay nestled on the cliff edge in the distance, and we know that between us and it we have two descents down to sea level followed by two steep ascents back up to cliff top height.
It is hard work climbing steps with sticky-up hair and a slight hangover when you have just turned forty.
I do a lot of panting and silent cursing at how unfit I am.
Make plans in my head to get myself to some exercise classes in the immediate future.
I eat more chocolate for energy.
And the red-roofed houses of Robin Hoods Bay do eventually appear closer, and we finally arrive back at the bottom of this charming little village.
I am only staggering slightly.
And I am charmed as always by the sight of this village, by the way it seems so precariosuly perched on the very edge of the land, the little houses almost tumbling down the steep hill and into the North Sea.
There are endless cutesome little old cottages, I love looking at all the little windows and chimney pots and red tiled roof tops and pretty gardens. Colourful front doors and charming names :: Sail Maker Cottage, Ocean View, Dock Cottage, Robins Nest, Heather Cottage, The Little House, The Locker, Sunny Place.
There are bright late summer flowers glowing in the afternoon sunshine.
There are many folk spending a sunny Sunday afternoon here, there is the smell of fish and chips, the sound of the waves and the gulls, of chatter and laughter.
A delicious toasted panini for lunch (crispy bacon, brie and cranberry if you'd like to imagine it), we eat it sat on a bench in the shelter of the sea wall, the sun warm on our faces.
We head up through the village, up the quiet, narrow cobbled back streets brimming with flowers.
There is a little cafe hidden away on this narrow street which we love.
It has a terrace over looking the sea, and serves mighty fine cappuccino and Tiffin just fit for a Birthday girl who is having a bad hair day and needs revival.
It's late afternoon now, and suddenly I miss the Little People very much. Time to quickly browse a second hand bookshop and buy some cards from a gift shop on our way back up the steep hill to the car.
Finally home again, and all is well.
I get the most ginormous birthday hugs from my Little People, and we proceed to eat chocolate cake and drink champagne together.
Friends arrive and there are more presents, laughter, age-jokes and more champagne.
My hair is finally looking slightly calmer again, and I am happy, and I am home, and I am suddenly overwhelmed with tiredness.
I am longing for my bed with its new feather duvet and my ripple blanket and rosy pillows.
Its been a wonderful day.
Into a bright new decade, and I couldn't be happier.
Just need to tame the hair.