The most important thing I wanted to do when in Northumberland was go on a boat trip and try and take more photographs of grey seals and Puffins. Despite all the boat trips being fully booked up yesterday, we booked tickets for early this morning and headed out on the sea at 10:00am. My boyfriends' Mother had once again given me a box of fruit, however today she had (thankfully) toned it down so it only consisted of some strawberries and two small apricots which I decided I'd eat them for lunch later.
Unfortunately the weather wasn't nearly as nice and as we paid for the tickets we were warned 'We might not be able to get to the island due to the swell of the sea'. I never knew that when it was a bit choppy it was called 'swell', so that was my new knowledge for the day! As we headed out on the boat, I was rather shocked at how rough the sea actually was and it wasn't long before we were going up...and down.. and up, quite vigorously. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a rollercoaster person - the most scary thing I'll go on is the teacups ride, so I can't say it was a fun experience. Thankfully seeing the grey seals stopped my mind focussing on the rough sea and despite being at the back of all the people, I think I still managed to get some really nice photographs.
I think the grey seals are so used to people, none of them batted an eyelid and a few even swam near the boat as if to say 'Oi, you lot.. what are you up to, then?' It was lovely seeing them in their natural habitat and even nicer knowing that they're not affected by people in a negative way.
Before long, we were heading towards the Farne Islands and Staple Island and everyone on the boat was on the lookout for Puffins - Northumberlands favourite bird. We didn't have to wait too long until we started seeing the comical looking sea parrots, flapping their little wings as fast as possible to ensure their stumpy little bodies stayed in the air. I've seen Puffins at the Farne Islands before and I was amazed at how small they actually are. You think they'd be a fair size, but they're much smaller than you'd imagine and even this time - when I knew this, I was still amazed at how small they were.
Unfortunately the captain told us that the sea was still too rough for us to embark onto Staple island which was disappointing as I knew I'd be able to get far better photographs of the Puffins when on stable land and not on a very shaky boat - still, these things happen so I tried to make the most of the situation presented and took some shots of the little birds standing on top of the rocks.
As we headed back to the mainland, the talk turned to 'What shall we eat for lunch?'. As we were at Seahouses the most obvious choice was traditional fish and chips, however I really didn't want to eat battered fish, let alone chips. My boyfriend, as supportive as ever, was happy to eat whatever I suggested, so I suggested we focus on the fish van near to the dock which sold amazing hot smoked salmon, prawns, lobster tables and crab. Soon after we got back to land, we headed to the fish van and it wasn't long before I was eating a pot of smoked salmon and a tub of prawns. Despite there not being much volume to either pot, I was decidedly full before eating all of the salmon so gave a little to my boyfriend and hand-fed the last piece to a rather cheeky (and large) seagull that seemed to be edging closer and closer to us as we happily munched on our lunch.
Once finished, we started our drive to Mellerstain House in Scotland - where we'd arranged to meet my boyfriends' parents after lunch. I happily munched on my fruit in the car and was happy that the strawberries had warmed up as they were in the fridge all night long and were rather chilly! It was just over an hours drive away from where we were so not too far at all. Half way up, I spied my favourite word on a small wooden sign on the edge of the road 'Antiques' :-) It would be rude not to go and see what was being sold, wouldn't it?
We actually visited two antiques shops on the way up and I managed to find something in both of them - I've been looking for antique mirrors so I was rather chuffed we managed to find 2 really nice ones for our house that we haven't bought yet (and probably won't for another 6-9 months) however it pays to be proactive!
After getting to Mellerstain House, we met my bofyriends' parents and spent a really enjoyable hour walking around the house, admiring both the antiques and the architecture before heading outside to look at the beautiful landscaped garden. The sun was finally shinning and the house and gardens looked really beautiful - I think the lack of people also added to the beauty, there were literally about 10 cars in the car park so it was almost as if we had exclusive access to this amazing place.
Once we'd exhausted ourselves walking around, we grabbed a quick cup of tea in the cafe (I managed to steer clear of the cakes) and started the drive back to Northumberland, which is where I am now. Tonight the plan is to go out to a restaurant with my boyfriends' parents which should be nice and relaxing as I think it's a restaurant which is quite close to their house.
Willpower will be required, however I'm hoping I can remain mindful about what I'm eating and not go crazy :-)