Journeys: Holkham Beach Norfolk

Holkham Beach, Norfolk


“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” Kahil Gibran


This morning I spoke to my Dad who is away birdwatching in Norfolk. I caught him just as he was getting out the car to walk across Holkham beach, pictured above. We reminisced happily about being in that exact spot in Norfolk with Mum. L was 5 months old, I remember stopping behind a sand dune to feed her, now she is 9, in fact I just said goodnight to her after giggling over a facts of life book and debating the point of breasts, so you could say life has moved on since then.

We have a picture in the house, of me in a red hoody I bought in Canada, feeding L, also wearing a red hoody. It is amazing to look back at such little pictures of her. That’s a post in itself, for another day!


We battled with the buggy along the sand – with hindsight the sling would have been better, but as a new mum I was still getting to grips with those kind of choices. I was also trying to wean L that week. Rather a lot to juggle!


5 years ago this week, we lost Mum. I keep finding my mind wandering into it’s many vortexes, often back and back to the heavy hospice room where, just as the sun rose, she left us. But, speaking to Dad reminded me, I also want to open up the vortexes back to the happy times, the cherished memories, the holidays, days out and joyous times I refuse to let become tinged with sadness.

She was an amazing Grandmother, Mum had an absolutely endless patience with children you don’t see in many people, I certainly didn’t inherit as much as she had. She would spend hours helping L discover new things, and absolutely delight in it. I think this is them inspecting the paintwork on Cromer pier, which was another lovely place to potter in North Norfolk.


I love the joy in this one!


This one has always been harder to look back at, but, it is time to reclaim the memories as happy, not sad.


Somehow L and I were colour co-ordinated that day. The sun shone too, she was getting sleepy here.


We stayed in Blakeney, I think in the pink cottage, feasted at the Deli and ate at the local pub. North Norfolk pubs are something else. We went out to see seals in a boat and took blustery walks on the beaches.


It is lovely to see photos like this, because they make me feel everything she taught me is still there for me.


And that it is absolutely okay to laugh. L still pulls this expression now – just before she launches into a stand up comedy type routine –  it is so her.


My parents gave me the best gift in teaching me to appreciate nature and to travel. Norfolk is the place I bought my first pair of binoculars, or ‘noculasses’ as I called them as a kid. After the beach we drove through the grounds of Holkham Hall and watched barn owl after barn owl fly past. I’ve never been so close to these amazing birds and to this day they remain a favourite. Dad has been raising more money for nest boxes with the RSPB, so last week I donated enough for a barn owl box.


Grief is tough, but always something unexpected comes along and helps me find a way through. A phone call, a memory, a donation for a bird box, a nine year old who wants to know what the point of breasts are, a blog post and family and friends who keep on being kind.

Thank you.


Go to Norfolk! There are lots more great ideas of things to do in North Norfolk in these posts here and here.



    • parentshaped
      30/01/2016 / 8:15 am

      Thanks Alice x

  1. 27/01/2016 / 8:36 am

    What a totally beautiful post, your Mum oozes kindness, care and fun from her smile. I am sure I know someone else with that smile xxx sending loves to you all xxxxx

    • parentshaped
      30/01/2016 / 8:15 am

      Aw thanks Ali xxxx

  2. 27/01/2016 / 10:39 am

    What brilliant memories. Your mum is so beautiful with that smile. So sorry you lost her and thinking of you today xx

  3. 27/01/2016 / 11:01 am

    Such a beautiful, moving post Penny. Your mum sounds wonderful and the pictures are beautiful. Sending you love. xx

    • parentshaped
      30/01/2016 / 8:15 am

      Thank you Sarah x

  4. Jane Taylor
    27/01/2016 / 11:39 pm

    What a poignant and moving post, Penny. The thoughts, pictures and memories of your mum and all she meant to you moved me.

    • parentshaped
      30/01/2016 / 8:14 am

      Thanks Jane x

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