Three Days in Yorkshire – 1: Whitby
And so finally to Whitby.
Whitby. The start of “Just three days” in Yorkshire. We left Joe (see Joe’s Story) at the famous swing bridge and walked on along the quay. A beautiful sunny day in September. The old life boat was advertising trips round the bay. £3. Not bad eh? So off we went. We could see the cottage we used to stay in from the boat. From there we walked to all those familiar places.
Bertie… I always went on those holidays and surveyed the scene from the upstairs lounge window while the family went off for fun. Quite often leaving me and Diddley watching the world below in peaceful contemplation. And a glass of wine.
Bobby… The times we had in this lovely town were some of the best of our lives. Summer family holidays in August. Granny and Grandad with the grandchildren. A really lovely fisherman’s cottage. Narrow, but four stories squeezed up by a wooden spiral staircase. High above the town looking down on the harbour; the swing bridge; the constant movement of boats. The church opposite and the ruined abbey of Dracula fame. The lifeboat station below. Down by the quayside; a sea of fish and chips munching humanity. Funfairs, slot machines, fortune tellers, oysters, ice creams. Across the bridge, the old cobbled streets; the jewellers selling Whitby jet, from earrings to necklaces; 199 steps up to the church. Looking across the harbour to the town’s famous son, Captain Cook. The whalebone arch commemorating far off whaling days. And the station, where steam trains to Pickering are now a favourite holiday day out. Folk festivals; the regatta, but never clashing with the goths.
Down south, maybe, something to avoid, but I really do think Yorkshire folk are different. In any event, we always had the peace and supreme position of the cottage. There were donkey rides on the beach. The beach miles of perfect sand and a very safe sea to mess around in. Boat trips on old lifeboats, the pirate ship, the speedboat, but, most of all, those yellow boats. Just a couple of quid for a ride round the bay. A bit more for the speedboat. Diddley’s birthday and the regatta were always in the middle of those holidays. Including her 60th, which became a proper seaside birthday. With a special cake from the best baker’s shop in Yorkshire. E Botham of Whitby.
I did my own thing on occasions and walked the Cleveland Way north to Staithes or south to Robin Hood Bay and Scarborough. We had “boys” days to the North Yorks Steam Railway. Nowadays, I plan my Yorkshire trips to coincide with galas at that brilliant heritage railway. (Next week’s blog). And we drove over the moors to Middlesbrough, to see Diddley’s Yorkshire relatives and friends.
It couldn’t last forever. Nothing does. Illness came to both our family and the owners of the cottage. Diddley succumbed to hers. I recovered to where I am now. The owner of the cottage is well again but had to sell up. So, that period really is set in stone now. With masses of photos to record those special years. But back to 2016. I went to see Sue Tingel, the proprietor of Isobel May. A beautiful upmarket gift shop where Diddley had struck up a once a year friendship. Isobel May: her granddaughter who had died of illness at just 6 years old. We smiled and we laughed at the memories of summers gone by and those to come. However sad life can be, we are lucky to have had those times with those we love and the memories are with us forever. Too much love is invested in Whitby to stop going there.
An unsuspecting bride walked on the beach for wedding pictures and had two wet bridesmaids she had never met before. Or again.