Thursday, 26 August 2010

Guest Blog: From Coast to Countryside by Emma Louise Frost.

Today 24 year old writer, blogger and noticer of all lovely little things in her surroundings Emma Louise Frost tells us about the contrast between the homes she's known.

All photographs by Emma Louise Frost.

In May 2008, I moved from the little coastal town in Lancashire where I grew up to the furthest away from the sea you can get in the entire country, Northamptonshire. It's a bit of a culture shock, to be honest, and yes, I did it for a boy.



You never really notice the seaside's magic until you can't visit it every day. The way the smell of salt and seaweed wraps around you like a comfort blanket in the biting cold when you're walking along the sea wall in January and the wind is lashing at your rosy cheeks. The soothing sound of the waves swishing and crashing on the breakwaters. You crave Fishermans Friend lozenges even though they taste like chewing on a tablet made of Ajax and you even miss the sounds of squawking seagulls rousing you from your sleep at ridiculous o'clock in the morning.



If you take a walk along the promenade of my hometown, you learn everything about the area. You see remnants of what was once a thriving fishing port, before the Icelandic Cod Wars, a proud heritage of trawlermen who are now gazing out to sea wistfully. The P&O ships going out to sea, honking its foghorn proudly. The statue of the lady waving out to sea, with her bronze children, welcoming her fisherman husband back home, a monument to all the fishermen lost at sea. Children racing each other up a sand dune and not caring that the spiky sea grass is prickling their legs.



Despite being in the middle of the country and the town of Northampton being pretty much a thoroughfare for transport and logistics companies setting up to get things to somewhere else, much of Northamptonshire is very rural and there are lots of pretty villages dotted about, any number of which you can fall in love with just by wandering down the market street.



Farmers markets galore filled with such treasures as prize-winning sausages, home-made chutneys and the Northamptonshire honey is known to be the best in the country. Little country parks where you can walk and watch the butterflies fluttering in the breeze (after all, it's actually warm enough this far Down South to see any butterflies!). Beautiful old buildings made from bright yellow stone brick. Wonky little 17th-century cottages that are somehow annexed onto shopping centres or office blocks. I worked in an old mill house which had sadly been turned into offices but it meant that I could wander around the dilapidated attic and look at the mill workings and the beams and feed the ducks at lunchtime and peek through the round windows with the thick walls made of ancient sturdy stone.



Of course, you can't mention Northamptonshire without mentioning its rich motorsport heritage, with Silverstone circuit being the most prestigious in the UK. And walk along the little lanes of Silverstone village to discover street names such as Stewart Drive and Graham Hill (I kid you not).

And any county town that is famous for shoes gets a gold star from me!
My heart will always belong to my native little bit of coastline, and I'll always love the sea more than the countryside, but having so much countryside accessible to me has helped me settle in to life in the Midlands, knowing I can find comfort in the hilly A-roads, farmers markets and country parks.




Thanks Emma. If you would like to write a guest blog for the UNdane, e-mail iris@undane.co.uk.

More of Emma's photographs can be seen here.