One of my fondest memories of my most recent visit home is a walk my mum and I took down at the Tide Bank, not far from our house. It’s one of our favourite places to visit and if you walk right out to where the winding path comes to a halt and turn back on your heel to the car park you can cover almost 5 miles.
When our dog Bob was able to cover the distance we would let him off the lead for a run and the salty air would carry a thousand exciting scents to him on the breeze. It’s a popular spot with dog walkers and people who fancy getting a bit fitter and on a cool day it makes for a nice, flat run with a gorgeous view of Strangford Lough that seems to stretch out and meet the sky.
Last time we walked there we ran into friends and familiar old faces we hadn’t seen in years; petted pups and laughed about days gone by. We waved at aeroplanes taking off and landing at the air field beside us and made plans for the next time we’d get to see each other again. We pulled daft poses for pictures laughing at how when I was little I would pull a ridiculous pose as though I were doing an interpretive dance every time a camera pointed my way.
Today is the 7th anniversary of losing my father. I remember thinking at the time I would stay in that moment forever yet years have now passed. The memories I cherish the most of my father are the conversations we had about music and all the exciting things that lay ahead and, of course, our walks at the Tide Bank. Losing him made me realise that the things I cherish most are memories made with love, not material possessions.
I hope that wherever you are in the world today you take a moment to remind yourself of life’s simple pleasures and celebrate the ones you love.