Monday 7 November 2016

Withernsea (part three)

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The wind farm operators had picked the right spot to build their towering turbines because as we came to find out in the first three days of our holiday, the Humber estuary is a windy part of the country. Not only that but it rains a lot too. Although Norfolk is not too far south it felt like a different part of the country, and when I opened the curtains on Monday morning to see the tents flapping in the wind, and people packing them up to go home, my heart began to sink. I am on holiday and all I want when I'm on holiday is sunshine. I don't mind the odd shower of rain like you get in the Caribbean, but I want the sun to follow behind quite quickly to dry things out, and cheer up my bedraggled soul.

The wife had suggested driving to #Scarborough . It didn't look too far on the map and as a traditional seaside holiday town, it should have a lot more to offer the family for entertainment than #Withernsea. The great sixties singing duet Simon and Garfunkel had a worldwide hit with their song Scarborough Fair. We estimated it would take about forty-five minutes to get there taking the coast road. How wrong was I? Vey wrong! We got lost twice and eventually arrived after nearly two and half hours. The rain was pouring, the wife and I weren't speaking to each other, and the kids just wanted to go back to the amusement arcade on our holiday camp, plus everyone needed the loo. But we persevered. We arrived in the rain, parked up and then nipped into the local McDonalds to use the toilet. Then we decided to head to the beach and took the famous cliff top railway to the seafront.

It was still raining as we huddled in a concrete shelter with a whiff of urine under our nostrils and with other sodden holiday-makers as we ate our cheese sandwiches and crisps. We brought a jar of olives with us to give a fleeting moment of foreign luxury. But to be truthful by then I could have driven all the way back to Norwich Airport with the family, handed over my bank card and said, "put us on the first flight to somewhere sunny, and hang the cost."

We then crossed the main road and headed towards the harbour. There we found a small Fun Fair and the kids were suddenly happy. 

They wanted to go on the bumper cars, so the two of them and the wife had a car each as I looked on while keeping an eye on our travel bags. It was at that precious moment as I took pictures on my phone that something clicked. My mood, that up to that point had not been in holiday mode, suddenly thought, "fuck the weather, the family are happy which means I'm happy, and I've got nothing to worry about for the rest of week because I'm on holiday."   

By the time we left the funfair the rain had stopped, the wind had died down and the sun was threatening to come out. We popped into a souvenir shop to get my customary fridge magnet which has become a tradition for me when I travel to somewhere new, plus a newspaper. By the time we sat in a seafront cafe for afternoon tea with cake and I had settled down in a comfortable chair wth my newspaper, the sun was shining and it was warm enough for me to take off my jacket. We then headed for the beach. The children got into their swimmers and dived into the sea as I kept a watchful eye on them while paddling along the shoreline.

It was lovely. The sun was beating against my face, the grey clouds had been replaced by blue skies and light puffy clouds, and when you closed your eyes you could imagine being anywhere in the world. As the sun began to set I decided to treat the family to a fish supper. We headed to The Famous Fish Pan  and what a good choice we made. A traditional fish and chip shop with a restaurant next door. All the food is cooked fresh and very good value for money. Just good old fashion British fair.

I had Haddock and chips with mushy peas plus two slices of bread and butter. Landed that day in the fish market just a stone-throw away and cooked fresh as you wait. What more can a man ask for? It was lovely and the rest of the family tucked into the same. Afterward, we decided to walk off the fantastic meal and pay a visit to the fish market. As we looked around the fishing boats bobbing in the harbour it brought back powerful memories of my youth. In my late teens and early twenties I was a fish auctioneer on Lowestoft Fish Market (until the European Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policy destroyed a thriving and world-beating industry). I took some more pictures and I just had to text one to my old boss, mentor and friend Andrew Bagshaw. Even though we may only see each other once a year now, he is a person that still to this day I am truly grateful that came into my life, and I will always hold him to my heart as a friend.

As we drove home we passed around the outskirts of #Bridlington which was once home to my mother-in-law and everyone had enjoyed themselves, and glad we had made the effect to go for a day out in Scarborough.



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