Soon the A1 turned muddy as the tarmac ran out and the car got stuck in a tractor rut so we pulled off and found ourselves by the sea. This was the very coast where Christianity first arrived in this country of course, and without Aiden braving the Vikings, the scots and the tourists all those years ago we wouldn’t have anyone to chain themselves to railings outside Jerry Springer the Opera today. Pilgrims still come to this spiritual stretch of coast to this day to drive out onto the Holy Island Causeway as the tide is coming in to be baptised by the North Sea in the comfort of their own car.
There, amongst the dunes we came across the object of our quest, the ancient cross of Saint Cuthbert, leaning over with the very weight of it's antiquity but still reaching towards the heavens after all these centuries. I thought of all the weary travellers who had stood at this sacred spot and thought their holy thoughts, thought ‘I wish it wasn’t the eighth century and blogs haven’t been invented yet so I could share these profound insights I’m having right now because if I write it them a book they'll only end up in a vault in London where nobody can see them’, perhaps listened to the eerie voices of wind and the waves, then looked at their watch and wondered if they were going to miss the rush hour, then thought it’s a pity that great big castle spoils the view, damn developers, then turned their tired and sandaled toes south and bid farewell to the angels.
Soon that time came for me too. I turned to the children and smiled. I had my own angels, I thought, I didn’t need any one else’s. ‘Mummy’, said Tilly. ‘I love you too’, I said, knowing instinctively what she was going to say. ‘I need a poo’, she said. ‘Come on then’, I told them, sawing off the cross and putting it in the boot. We got in the car and shut out the wind, I typed ‘the north’, into the Satnav, and in the back of the car an angel passed.