When you wake up to sunshine and a cloudless sky on a sleepy Sunday morning the only thing to do is to take off for a ramble on the beach.
It is one of my greatest life ambitions to one day live by the beach. I spent my childhood summers in a cosy little chalet a stone’s throw from a beautiful sandy beach on the rugged Donegal coast and those mornings waking up, snuffling breakfast and racing to the shoreline for a doggy-paddle, a run on the beach and building sandcastles have stayed with me as the ideal for good living.
My vision for middle-age and retirement is to be by a sea, six or seven dogs running wild along the beach, somewhere calm to enjoy a morning swim, somewhere less calm to enjoy watching the waves ravage the coastline during those winter storms.
For now, I am city slicker, three stories high without even a flashing glimpse of the Mersey. But thankfully a beach is only ever a crowded train journey away, so on Sunday we threw an extra layer and a bottle of water in the bag, took off for Central Station and headed north to Crosby; there to admire dogs, Anthony Gormley’s 100 cast-iron replicas and scoff hot chips doused in salt and vinegar on the promenade.
It was a busy day on Crosby Beach with the sudden Spring weather clearly bringing forth crowds of dog walkers, families and Sunday drivers stopping off for teas, ice creams and a fresh-faced stroll across the dunes. The Crosby Coastal Park is a beautiful spot for a relaxed ramble with the Marina, the children’s playground and the hilly dunes for clambering up and down. For those of us after a more leisurely walk, the sun-drenched beach itself is such an expanse of golden sand, it’s just the change of scenery we urban dwellers needed after weeks of looking out at rainy, snowy grey streets and redbrick surrounds.
And so many dogs!
Again, the third floor living, nine to five working life isn’t particularly conducive to the half dozen energetic dogs of my daydreams but thankfully there are parks and beaches aplenty in Liverpool where pooches of all shape, size and floof run freely, making friends and stealing chips at will.
Top dogs on today’s walk included the bullet-fast Italian Greyhound who ran rings round everything else on the beach, a beautiful scruff of a Collie who, not content with pets, insisted on jumping up to plant kisses right on our faces and the half dozen adorable dachshunds who I can only imagine were in cahoots with my other half on his life-long campaign to persuade me that daxies are the dog for us.
With legs thoroughly stretched we joined the crowds at the busy catering van for the long-anticipated chips – hot, salty and soaked in vinegar. Sure you couldn’t beat it.