Norfolk had only ever meant playing live shows up until 2012 when it became home. We have been discovering new and amazing elements of the coastline since then. I first visited Holkham when my son was born, so around six years ago. He loves the outdoors. It’s been an even split between pretending to be a pirate and calm contemplation of the beautiful surroundings. We go back whenever plans allow for it.
As Morgan has got older, we’ve ventured into the sea, gone on long walks with a fishing net and taken snacks so we can spend a while there. Right nearby to Holkham is Wells-next-the-Sea, which has more of a seaside town feel. Arcades, fish and chips and brightly coloured sweets – reminding me of the places I’d go as a kid.
When I was growing up, beaches in Rhyl, Blackpool and Formby were the places we visited as a family (trundling from Northwich), and just the mention of their names invokes memories. Holkham is where I go as a parent and we are enjoying making our own memories there. There’s a beautiful walk before you arrive at the beach – through some woodland – so the excitement builds. There’s samphire all around and a new viewing area complete with telescopes – it’s a haven for birdwatchers and we have seen seals and muntjac deer, as well as what one of us was convinced were dinosaur footprints.
When we’ve been writing Charlatans songs, Mark Collins and I have often headed to the coast to help us with ideas, from Los Angeles to Dungeness to the Costa del Sol. There’s a solitude that is best felt by the sea and the enormity of what’s around you helps put you in your place in the universe. Life in the studio and on tour has a rigour and pressure to it. Being by the sea simplifies things.
Living in Norfolk for nearly a decade will definitely have had an influence on my new album. What can people expect? Hopefully some songs that they’ll find themselves humming along to. Maybe something they can put on in the car as they drive to the beach. It would make a great soundtrack to any adventure.
Tim’s new album I Love The New Sky is released 22 May on Bella Union.