By Tamsin Crimmens
Its been five years since I last came here and Ive been happier for it. Time has blurred the edges of my grief, but coming back makes it real again. It was just a few minutes walk up from this beach, in a terraced house with a red door and peeling paint, that my life veered abruptly off course and I found myself one of the girls behind the statistics a pregnant teen. As my feet trudge through the dry sand, my calves confused by the sudden change of pace in their usual sedentary existence, I think of the walks my 18-year-old self took, always accompanied by a hovering black cloud. My mission today: to find the prettiest pebbles on Tynemouth beach. My progress: slow. Distracted by the glorious horizon and spiralling thoughts, my eyes are torn repeatedly from the search so only two smooth grey pebbles knock against each other in my pocket.
I grew up in Newcastle and whatever you might think you know about the place, forget it. So its grim up North, is it? Piss off. My Dads a miner? Grow up. Yes I wear a coat on nights out; no I dont have a Geordie accent, and yes we do have Pret A Manger. I love it here, but growing up, life could be difficult for me and my sisters. We moved house a lot and Mum seemed to always be buried behind a pile of bills at the kitchen table a bottle of wine by her side, working her way through 20 Berkeley menthol.
Now, you might think youve got it all figured out and maybe you have, but it took me months of sitting in a beige roo More