J is spending a little bit of time away from work in the run up to Christmas this year and we've been counting down the weeks for quite some time.
Ages ago, when these precious days were marked in big happy letters on the calendar, I asked J if he might take me to see the sea one day, just the two of us, just because we could. We have just over six hours in a school day, so we figured it was do-able and I can't tell you how very, very much I've been looking forward to it.
I didn't care if it was raining (it wasn't) and I didn't care if it was freezing cold (it was). I just wanted to wrap up warm, wander on the vast sandy beach, stroll leisurely along the deserted promenade and drink a mighty fine Italian coffee in our favourite little cafe on the pier.
So this morning saw us walking along the beautifully quiet beach at St Annes on the Fylde coast - you might remember we spent a few days there back in February. It's such a lovely, peaceful kind of a place in winter time, very good for mind, heart and soul.
Our agenda was sparse and consisted of slow walking, gentle pottering, good coffee and a little picnic. We talked a lot, laughed a lot too.
In some ways it felt a bit strange to be without any accompanying Little People (I kind of felt we should have had a dog, as pretty much everyone else we saw was dog walking), but it was rather lovely to be just the two of us.
As the hours passed, I felt myself slowly filling up with giddy joy. The wide open views, the break from routine, the gentle exercise, the laughter, the soft winter light, the togetherness. But it was the fresh sea air that filled me the most, I just couldn't breathe it in deeply enough.
On the way home in the car, I suddenly had a flash of a memory - I recalled a beautiful paper cut by the fabulously talented Rob Ryan. I couldn't remember the exact words, but I knew that they perfectly described this kind of a day.....
'Can We? Shall We? One day very soon, let us go away together just you and me. Can We? Shall We? Call in sick one day and travel to the sea and hold hands all day. Can We? Shall We? Eat our sandwiches on the train, get drunk on fresh air and come home tired and never tell anyone.... Ever'
Exactly that....except of course I've shared it with you...