To start the new year, I am re-posting from last year on the Norman tradition of a cool dip on New Years Day. Just a fastastic way to start the year.


Is there a good way to start the new year? Celebrate midnight in style, and you wake up with a headache and a mess to tidy up, and at least one resolution broken in the first twenty-four hours. This year, with guests to entertain, we decided the headaches had to be ignored. And the mess: we decided to leave it behind.

But where to go? New Years Day was both a Sunday and a bank holiday. Northern France was closed for business. Not a museum or a restaurant to be visited. There were many small children in our party, so a walk in the forest wouldn’t be easy. That left the beach. Perfect.

I like beaches best in the dead of winter. Preferably stony, with the wind whipping salt through my hair, and a moody slate-grey sea. I am not the bikini type: for one thing, my skin fries in the…

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