Wishing everyone a very happy New Year and all the best for 2017. I am the sort of person who would admit to having very mixed feelings about New Year Resolutions. I do confess that I do however take a deep breath at the start of a New Year and make a private promise to myself to learn lessons from the year just past, and to try and focus on the things that can be done in the year ahead and the opportunities that are there to be taken. It is a sort of 'note to self' to be positive, to step into January with a commitment to making things as good as they possibly can be, whatever 2017 might bring - always a helpful thought when the days are short and Spring feels a little too far on the horizon. I've always found walking a particularly good way of focusing and seeing the positive (yes even in the rain - it can be done I promise!) and a walk around Amble between Christmas and New Year with my mad, chaotic family helped this cause. They had fleetingly arrived long distance from our family home in Cornwall and, not having been to visit for a while, we undertook a tour of the area on a bright but achingly cold December morning. What this walk made clear, was just how much there is around Amble to show off, even out of season. Walking across the Braid to the marina and looking across to Coquet Island; the sound of the boats' masts making that curious whistling sound in the wind; looking out to sea beyond the harbour lighthouse and back inland to see walkers on the little shore and the pastel-painted beach huts beyond. They were impressed with the little 'pods ' in the harbour village - Mocha Mondo selling fresh coffee to all those braving the winter cold - by the colourful boats lined up in the harbour and the backdrop of Warkworth Castle. For my nine year old nephew Jem and twelve-year old niece Carys the highlight was, I have to say, a bustling Spurellis and the promise of a huge choice of ice-cream. For myself and my sister - the fact that hot mulled wine was there on the menu just the thing for a bright but cold midwinter's morning in Amble. What did strike a chord was how impressive this town is when viewed through fresh eyes. Things are changing and developing in the town at a fast pace - so many new things on the horizon - new developments, a new hotel and new businesses will mean even more change and hopefully opportunities for us all. The challenge is to make this change for the good - not to lose sight of the fact that we live in a very beautiful place but to make it work for everyone, for those who live and work here as well as tourists - to keep it somewhere we are very proud to call home.