Shanks’s Pony Enjoys a Day at the Beach

My New Year’s resolution is more frequent use of Shanks’s Pony (Brit. idiom for walking) and I can’t think of a more picturesque and bracing place to do it than the North Holland coastline.  New Year’s Day in Holland was dismal and wet, so I took my traditional New Year’s walk on January 4 along the beach from Wijk aan Zee to the North Pier in Ijmuiden. The North Pier is a favourite spot for birdwatchers, I saw plovers and seagulls but a huge variety of sea birds can be seen here if you have the patience to stand and wait. The pier is only suitable to walk when the sea is behaving and it’s shut when the waves get above a certain height.

The world and his wife were out with their children and dogs so the two eateries that were open on the beach were heaving with people. Can you tell me why children turn public spaces into a playground? When I went to restaurants as a child I remember being told to shush for slurping through the straw of my milkshake too noisily. I wouldn’t have dreamed of getting up from my chair running riot and ambushing waitresses with lego like today’s offspring do. We headed into Wijk aan Zee and had a bite to eat at the lovely and civilized Gewoon in Wijk aan Zee They serve high tea or the traditional Dutch winter fare of erwten soep and chocolade melk. (Not usually consumed together!)

The Ijmuiden to Newcastle DFDS ferry shuttles mainly Geordies to and from the Netherlands for day trips or longer. Watch the ferry depart from De Kop van de Haven in Ijmuiden. This fish bowl restaurant is famous for its fish and chips, or kibbeling and patat as they call it here. Connexion Bus 82 from the Elandsgracht takes you all the way from Amsterdam to IJmuiden, or as I mentioned in this post, it’s FREE to park in Wijk aan Zee I guess I am a true Amsterdammer now, the way I luxuriate in any place that offers free parking! Although that’s the beauty of Shanks’s Pony (sometimes Shanks’s mare), you never have to park her anywhere 🙂


About susancarey

Angela writes using pseudonym, Susan Carey. She has dual nationality, GB/NL and lives in Nijmegen. Susan has had short fiction published on multiple platforms and was a runner-up in the 2018 and 2017 Casket of Fictional Delights Flash Competitions. Her writing has also been published and performed by amongst others: Mslexia, Liars’ League, Reflex Fiction, the Casket and of course the wonderful Writers Abroad. In 2020 she published her short story collection, Healer. Tweets at @su_carey
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4 Responses to Shanks’s Pony Enjoys a Day at the Beach

  1. christinehayes46 says:

    Great photos – especially like the birds 🙂

    Christine Hayes


  2. Reminds me of the old saying…. “Children should be seen but not heard”. Sometimes the old saying’s are the best. I have no idea what happened to the idea of good parenting? In the modern world it seems the children are in charge 😦 Have left many an eatery because of unruly children & now absolutely avoid venues that are children friendly 😉 So do sympathise with you 🙂 Will look again at Ijmuiden & might venture out on the number 82 bus soon as it has changed my opinion on this particular destination & I will look at it again in a new light. Thank you for posting this article 🙂


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