Last weekend, the Ginge and I went to visit my Grandmother in my second home, the Northeast. The run-up to the weekend was relentless and saw me finishing my textbook-writing and completing my degree with my viva (I got a first, so I am chuffed to bits) and the Ginge up to his eyeballs in editing for other textbooks. Why do we do this to ourselves, you ask. Sometimes, we wonder that too, but it is fun most of the time. Anyway, we most definitely needed a weekend off and there are few places I would rather be than up north. My Grandmother lives on top of a hill in the quietest house in the world. The views are beautiful, the air is clear and her amazing home-cooking is always on-tap (I'm sure I put on weight every time I visit, but it's worth it). She doesn't have a television, so you have to find your own fun by listening to radio 4, finding family in old photographs or playing old boardgames like Boggle and Coppit. It is a perfect haven for relaxation and comforting family time. We spent Saturday at the seaside, just along from South Shields at Souter Lighthouse and Marsden beach. The Northeast coastline is one of the most beautiful in the world (not that I'm biased) and holds so many happy memories of my childhood, but I had never been to this particular area. What a fascinating place! Lots of exiting geology to gawp at and rock pools to poke around in, but also something I have never seen before: a lift shaft down to the beach. A man called 'Blaster Jack' built a house into the caves, which was later converted to and still runs as a pub. In the 1930s, the brewery company running the pub built this amazing tate-modernesque structure, which still works as a lift. It was beautifully bizarre and eccentrically English! It was so wonderful to be by the sea where the wind blew all the cobwebs away and the sun warmed freckles onto our cheeks. What a perfect way to end and remember the summer, now that we are officially into Autumn.