Christmas Day Walk on Burnham Beach

29th December 2013

Sun, Sky, Sand

We have had a quiet Christmas time, lots of walks, not too much sitting around eating, peaceful and serene when the wind and rain stopped.

Sunlight and Clouds

On Christmas morning we packed supplies: golden cheese and bacon scones, prosciutto rolls stuffed with creamy goats cheese and black olives and a couple of apples, a slice of fruit cake and some  Niederegger chocolate marzipan and our little flasks for tea and headed to Burnham beach for a walk.

High LIghthouse We raced  up the access slope and down onto the hard sand and headed along the beach towards the old Lighthouse. (Steep Holm in the background above)

Zeb at Lighthouse

3 Burnham Beach Post

We waved at other dogs and chatted to friendly walkers, I liked these two in their Santa hats! We did a lot of looking at the horizon, and trying to figure out which bits of South Wales we were looking at… is that Port Talbot? …. squashed the strange  mud pebbles that appear in the sand, wrote birthday greetings with old sticks to my Dad whose birthday falls on Christmas Day and a quiet In Memoriam to my Mother who died nine years ago on the same day and just listened to the waves and the wind, held hands and smiled.

4 Burnham Beach Post

When we came back to the seafront we got out our little picnic and sat and munched away while the dogs had their biscuits. We drove home as the sun started to fall away.

Zeb BeachThere is something so elemental and peaceful about a beach in winter, there is nothing that comes close for me. I just love it. The dogs kick up their heels and skidaddle around, letting out little wuffy barks of joy. They pick up bits of weed and salty sticks, they chase in and out of sea puddles, they hurtle off to see other dogs and circle back and around and away again and my eyes follow them and I smile to see them so engaged in the here and now, nothing else mattering but the feel of the sand beneath your feet and the horizon beckoning your gaze.

This photo is my favourite, dog with two reflections or shadows, life is full of shadows and reflections but also moments of joy which carry us through the darkness and back onto the beach.

The dog of two shadows

Note: Dogs are only allowed on Burnham Beach in the wintertime, * so we make the most of it ! It is a short run down the motorway from Bristol if there isn’t too much traffic and is less muddy than Weston or Brean.

* Edit: Have since realised that the dogs can go on part of the beach in the direction of the lighthouse all year! Yay!

All photos are by me or Brian, but I have left them without text on them as I think they look nicer. Please respect copyright as always.

48 thoughts on “Christmas Day Walk on Burnham Beach

  1. Suelle

    What a great way to spend Christmas Day! I do miss long walks with dogs – a dog (or two) always adds an extra interest factor. I hope your new year starts just as well!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Morning Suelle! I love trying to see the world through the dogs’ eyes, it definitely adds another dimension to being outside. All best wishes to you too :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I have walked on that beach with her and Tim when he lived at SC. We have all walked on that beach on and off for many many years xx

  2. Misky

    Such a peaceful and calm-at-heart piece of writing. May I extend my heartfelt good wishes to you and Brian, and the dogs, for the new year. Much love to you.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thankyou Misky and my best to you too, I think my happiest walks are almost always on beaches, lucky we live in the UK with its fabulous coastline, one is never that far away. Do you have a special beach that you visit sometimes.?

      1. Misky

        There aren’t many beaches where we can take Molly, but there is a small stretch just outside of Eastbourne with lots of little pebbles that we (all!) enjoy. A long, open beach like Burnham is perfect for a dog to run.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I guess one somehow has to live each day with the feeling of being on the beach, either that or move to a lighthouse ;) Very best wishes to you too xx

  3. sallybr

    Cold, but beautiful! I love the way your dogs walk by you without the leash. If we tried to do that with Buck or any of them, even old Chief,, they would run away and be found in Scotland or something. Maybe France! ;-)

    Happy New Year!

    1. Joanna Post author

      There was very little wind and what there was blew in from the south so once you were walking it was really very pleasant and not cold at all. Most dogs like running about on a beach. I saw lots of Buck’s relations having a good time; though a fair few were on the lead, some were not. Maybe a dog trainer could give you some help one day?

      Happy New Year to you Sally!

  4. narf77

    Your Christmas Day looks sunnier than ours was! Chocolate marzipan you say? CHOCOLATE MARZIPAN!!! Where has this temptress been all of my life?!!! Off to Google “Chocolate Marzipan” right bleeding now! Hugs from Tassie where narf7 and her intrepid Stevie-boy and a small cast of slaves are just about to undertake the mammoth task of sanding and painting the deck, the hand rails and part of the house…wish us luck…we are going IN! (But not before I go and find “chocolate marzipan”…I think you may have just introduced me to the narf7 equivalent of crack cocaine…)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Narf – one of life’s essentials, will have to see what i can do in that department for you – good luck with the deck. The wind and rain are back this morning and it is as dark as a ferret’s armpit :)

      1. narf77

        The ferret appears to be omnipresent at the moment. There is a cyclone off the coast of Western Australia (regular occurrence through our summers) which is pushing some rain and ferrety weather down our way. I wouldn’t mind (good for the garden) only I know what is on the flip side and it will be a couple of 30C+ days (ech!). Marzipan + chocolate = lust. I have visions of making an enormous batch of marzipan and dipping the huge wodge of it into a vat of chocolate. Debauchery on the lines of Henry the eighth but whatchagonnadoeh? Sometimes heaven comes in small chocolate dipped packages ;)

        1. Joanna Post author

          Yes, do it! Channel your inner Tudor King, I am sure the results will be awesome!! I was reading up about marzipan and found this German Food Guide page particularly interesting, the varying proportions of almonds to sugar etc. I recommend going to the German marzipan site (I added a link in the post just for you) where there is a jolly little slide show of the history of marzipan xx

          1. narf77

            If you have ever watched The Simpson’s you will have seen Homer drooling. The mere mention of the word “Marzipan” has me salivating like Pavlov’s dog. Cheers for the linkies, I am off to watch. Coming from German stock as I do (my maiden name was Stahl) I figure the Germans would cut through all of the frippery and get straight to the almondy sweet point. Bonus points ma’am! :)

  5. heidiannie

    That looks so peaceful- and really beautiful. We didn’t go to the shore this year, so I’m enjoying your walk vicariously. And your picnic sounds divine. Especially the scones. Thanks for sharing, Joanna- the pictures are lovely!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I know you are a big beach fan too Heidi – I too get vicarious pleasure from your trips to the sea, so I am delighted to share our images with you. I really love the sounds of the sea and the sand, and the way that as the light changes bits of the welsh coastline appear and disappear, I always see something new :) Xx

      1. heidiannie

        Well there is something intrinsically magic about Wales, isn’t there? So I’m not surprised it keeps disappearing, at all!
        I have little snippets of ocean sounds from quick videos I’ve made whilst there- but the light placement would be wonderful. I’m going back to the eastern shore in February- I’ll share some of my pictures with you then!

  6. hotlyspiced

    It looks very peaceful, beautiful and serene. How lovely that you’re allowed to let your dogs run free on this beach. That’s unbelievable that your father was born on Christmas Day and that your mother, very sadly, passed away on Christmas Day. The day must be so emotionally charged for you. I love the photo of the couple walking along with their Santa hats xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      There are lots of beaches where dogs are allowed fortunately. Some beaches are dog free, others only in the winter time, but we make the most of what we are allowed to do :) There were dogs in tinsel too but they raced off before i could grab a shot! xx

  7. cecilia

    JO! These pictures are just fantastic. When i was a kid we only had our beach to ourselves in the winter and as you said it was so special, so still yet deeply mobile. Your beach is just stunning, (and your picnic) such long serene shots.. thank you.. you know how much I miss the sea.. c

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Celi, there were people about, but the beach is very flat and the tide goes way out leaving a vast expanse so people look very small. I like thst. Your NZ beaches always look amazing in photos snd movies, hope you get to visit again one day soon. Thankyou for liking the images xx

  8. Jan

    So lovely Joanna and such a peaceful way to mark the day and all that it means to you. We too had Christmas by the sea and a small dog to share it with. Little Annie took us for walks and jogs and we ran and laughed and threw sticks sharing in her childlike pleasure. I still have the imprint of the early morning sea colours in the forefront of my mind and can hear the sound of the sand under my feet. Your picnic sounds delicious and I completely endorse Narf7’s emotional response to chocolate marzipan!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am so pleased you had Christmas by the sea too, sounds absolutely delightful!! I bet you are all out in shorts and swimming. Isn’t that where Australians spend Christmas? I was warmly clothed in layers with woolie hat and sunglasses, not my best look :))) Good to know you are a member of the choc marzipan club Jan xx

  9. maree

    What a lovelly way to spend a day that is so special in so many ways. I really like the idea of chocolate marzipan too!!
    Take care . XX

    1. Joanna Post author

      The best thing about the German marzipan is that it is not very sweet so you can think of it as food rather thsn a sweet. Hope you had a good break Maree and best wishes from mr xx

      1. maree

        Thankyou yes I have had a good break so far….Like Narf I have been painting, (between showers of rain). With a bit of luck I will finish today and then off to the beach on New Years day.
        Thinking of marzipan as a food…ohh joy!!

        1. Joanna Post author

          Definitely food, emergency supplies even, my mother always kept a ‘loaf bar’ in her handbag for sustenance and times of trouble. ‘Here’, she would say, ‘eat this, you must have low blood sugar.’

  10. Ann

    What a lovely post – beautiful pictures. I can’t imagine it being warm enough for a picnic on Christmas Day having grown up on the Northumberland coast. We had such beautiful white sand and rocks and castles but freezing winds!
    We have a dog beach near me but, like Sally, I daren’t take Spot there because I would probably never see him again. One of the problems of having a rescue dog – but there are many more plusses to make up for it.
    I’m afraid I don’t like marzipan – chocolate ginger, now……..

    1. Joanna Post author

      Do you think rescue dogs run off more or is it maybe a terrier thing? The dogs that always seem to wander here are beagles, not sure why… A thermal silk vest is the secret and new lined winter walking trousers, top with a woolie hat and as long as it isn’t too windy and the sand isn’t the blowy about sort .. I have only been in Northumberland in summertime but it is so very beauriful, what a wonderful place to grow up Ann! xx

      1. Ann

        It is a bit of a terrier thing, Spot”s predecessor was an Australian Terrier we had from a puppy and she was ok off lead in the park, but if she ever got out of the front door she was off and into everybody else’s garden. She was not really a beach dog and in spite of the little dog showers provided at the dog beach it was impossible to get the sand out of her hair! Spot has taken off a few times – he always came to me nicely ( “what took you so long?”) when I eventually caught up with him but by that time he had crossed a couple of roads and nearly given me a heart attack so it’s not worth the risk.

        1. Joanna Post author

          One of the many good things about this beach is that the tide comes in very high and so the sand when exposed is very hard and the dogs don’t pick up that much of it at all, plus they don’t go in the sea so they don’t get very wet and they are not rollers, when we have been on very soft sand beaches you are right it is a nightmare trying to wash it out of their curly coats. One time we were in Norfolk and Lulu came in the sea after me, I was paddling in the best English tradition with my trousers rolled and then she rolled in the samd to get the water out of her ears and got it everywhere, sand in her eyes, so I don’t encourage them into the sea these days. Like with Spot one has to figure out what works and what doesn’t for you and the dog.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hej Barbara! Gott Nytt År till dig och till alla mina underbara kusiner! Stora kramar och kyssar xx Joanna and Brian

  11. ardysez

    Just now read your Christmas day walk on the beach, lovely. Am now attempting to post this comment to see if I have the new two step authentication thing figured out… cross fingers…

    1. Joanna Post author

      By George! I think you’ve done it! Yay! Skippy dance!!! (I am going to avoid the 2-step dance it sounds like it has given you nowt but trouble) xx

  12. michaelawah

    Dear Joanna,
    Did you remember the tea cups this time?? :)) (in case you don’t get what i meant, you had me laughing in your last post when you wanted to fling yourself off the cliff because you and Brian had gone off on another walk and you had packed everything BUT the cups :))).

    Such a lovely calm and collected way to spend christmas—and attitude in general. Must get there one day…. :) Happy new year! May it be a good one for you and family and pets (four-legged, of the leafy and yeasty variety, all)!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Yes! We did remember and i am in a far better headspace than I was then. i suspect I am funnier when on the brink of despair but it was funny, my life measured out in dogwalks and cups of tea in a post TS Eliot attempt at irony. i am looking forward to this year, I have no idea what lies ahead but lets hope for some fun. Sending my very best wishes to you and yours and thankyou for being you :)

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