Tuesday 1 January 2013

New Year's Day 2013

To Whitby for a dash in the sunshine. Parking on top of the cliff the wind naturally tried to grab my hat and throw it in the sea, but I'm wise to that trick and had it firmly fixed on.  Walking down in to the town there is the protection of the cliffs so the wind drops.  As you may have seen, the rain combined with poorly maintained drains have caused a serious landslip just below the church.

None of this deterred the thousands of visitors today so the restaurants, pubs and any shop which cared to open did a fair trade.  Lunch was at Mr Chips in Church Street, down beyond the swing bridge in the sheltered moorings of the Esk, where Mr Raft had the selection platter to try everything.

As this is the Goth Capital their seasonal decorations were in the festive Goth colours of  red, black and silver. So, just like normal really, but in a festive arrangement which should be easy to copy and requires no maintenance since none of it is alive.

After lunch we wandered along and found an alley which I had not noticed before although it has always been there.  Since 1982 - how on earth can can I have missed it? -  it has housed the Washhouse Pottery where Laureen Shaw produces pots and tiles which riff on traditional Delft designs.

She and her husband also rent out the house they restored, Pottery Cottage.  The third photo down on that link is of the pottery which leads in to the courtyard where the cottage is.  Bought a sweet little slab coaster for the desk in a fish design.

 Walked back to One-O-Five, the jet workshop where Kevin Dixon was spending the last day of his season producing jewellery and carving exquisite jet sculptures.  As of tomorrow, he's shutting up the shop and going to his annual retreat and source of inspiration, watching animals in the jungle. I think that's why his tiny lizards, bats, rabbits and snakes seem ready to dash out of the display cabinet. He'll be back at Easter, ready for another eight months.

The snag with the job is that it is a seven-day-a-week business now that Whitby has visitors from Easter to New Year.  Kevin remembers when they used to roll up the road just after the summer holidays and store it with the deck chairs in the pavillion.  Unfortunately for Whitby, it is ruled from Scarborough which has failed to get on with setting up the park and ride schemes which tourism needs if lack of access is not to deter people from spending their money down in the town.

Whitby has much more in common with the other towns along the Esk valley; they should be making their own decisions in their own interest, not being treated as a source of  car parking revenue for Scarborough's benefit.   Freedom for Whitby!


Richard said...

I used to visit Whitby often as a child, and I have an abiding love for the place. My most recent visit was c. 20 years ago, when with my mother and daughters we rented a flat for a week. It was above a flight simulator machine, next door to 'The Dracula Experience' and on the other side was a bait shop. Thus we had noise and disturbance for 23 out of the 24 hours. Hard to blame Whitby for that, though. The fish and chips are amongst the finest on Planet Earth.

Thanks for this post, it brought back some happy memories.

Electro-Kevin said...

Happy New Year !

Woman on a Raft said...

Unfortunately, Richard, you chose the noisiest spot in the whole town. The Dracula Experience is still there, the arcade is still next to it, and the crowds and the gulls are more exuberant than ever. the Steam Bus also gives an extra toot as it rumbles along there. Perfect if you like being in the thick of it, hell if you don't.

Alas, this gives a terrible impression of what in most other places is a bustling but peaceful hippie enclave except for the area around the fish market.

Woman on a Raft said...

Hello E-K. Hope you and the boys had a fun New Year celebration.

Richard said...

It was so noisy it was funny. My Mum joked about it to her dying day. We had the DE all day, the arcade all evening, and the bait shop opened around 3 am with banging doors and the ubiquitous gulls. The girls still talk about it today, so that's pretty good value, I would say. I've always liked Whitby - this was just another, and unexpected, side of it. Hell it wasn't.

Barnacle Bill said...

Happy New Year to one and all on the Raft.

I think you're right about Whitby and Scarboro'.
I've always felt that Whitby was the odd one out, in a nice way of course, from the coastal trio Brid/Scarboro' & Whitby.
Property certainly keeps it's value around there. I was surprised at the cost of houses in Whitby when I was looking at moving there in connection with possible shore employment.

Anyway all the best for 2013, I hope the floods don't push the raft from it's moorings!

DtP said...

Bridlington's where people treat suicide as a career option, the place makes Luton look special!! (I lived in 'ull for 3 years and so this is all completely based on screaming racism). But Whitby is an absolute joy and the fish suppers truly are incredible. I'm sure the gulls have becoming more chavtastic though, over the years, it used to be that they wadlled or hovered plaintively requesting a scrap of chip or the like but now the buggers go all peregring falcon and dive bomb you from great height - something must be done! (air pistol or, as in Londonistan, maybe get some hawks - although the size of them may require some eagletastic intervention).

All the best for 2013 and I hope you have a very peaceful year. The commentators already seem to have written 2013 off as a damp squib and Mike Smithson over at political betting has some stats that give rise to the opinion that the Tories flush is already busted so, unlike in the Brown years, I intend to adopt an air of insouciant apathy and just let the gits talk to themselves.

Happy New Year Mrs Woar.

Woman on a Raft said...

Hello, Bill. Yes, the limited supply of property there keeps the prices up. Sandsend at the other end of the bay and the villages further up the valley can be more reasonably priced if you don't mind a little extra travelling.

Hello DtP - funny you should mention the seagulls. There's a row going on about the fines which have been brought in for feeding them. I've some sympathy for that; the chip not the natural diet of the gull and it does neither them nor the town any good when people encourage them.

In a way there is a strange parallel between politicans and gulls. A few are alright, within the means of the environment, but keep feeding the buggers and you get loads of them. Culling. That's the answer.

Elby the Beserk said...

Whitby! Hurrah! My ex and I lived there and its environs for a couple of years in the mid 70s. If our little boy was mardy, pop him in the pushchair, up the pier, and the wind shut up up for sure. The Magpie Cafe! The kippers. Cameron's Strongarm Bitter. Hash in every Thursday on the weekly tramp steamer from Rotterdam, and best of all - living in Lythe up the coast during the '76 drought. Babber wore nothing all summer, me just shorts and we grew such fine weed in the back garden. Told the farmer next door when he enquired about it that it was Moroccan Artichokes.

Happy days!

Elby the Beserk said...

BB. Us and another couple bought a four storey house in 1975, in Victoria Place, a minute from the harbour, for £4500.

Woman on a Raft said...

Kippers are a vexed subject at the moment. Fortunes are still where they were but they are right under the landslip and there is a possibility of more earth shifting.

No matter how seriously you take your fish, it isn't worth being crushed for it. As of this week they are back in there but they are poised to evacuate. I think it may be wiser in the long run to re-locate the smokehouse and going by the look of that cliff, quite a few other properties.

Even the cliff under the Cook statue was shedding rock; part of the pavement has been cordoned off in case any lumps fall on pedestrians, although there was something symbolic about the tape and cones. If a rock really wants to fall from that height I don't suppose it will bother too much about landing neatly inside the taped area.

JuliaM said...

Ahhh, Whitby! My mother's favourite place in Yorkshire.

The fish and chips are indeed excellent there, as they are everywhere in the North, being mostly fried in beef dripping. Last time I was there (must be 20 years ago now) I got a fishbone stuck in my throat and had to trundle off to the (tiny, deserted) little A&E clinic to have it plucked free with forceps.

The on-call dr asked if he could keep it, as it was the biggest he'd ever seen!

Giolla Decair said...

As one of those dodgy gothic types that invade Whitby it really is a wonderful place and incredibly welcoming and tolerant of a bunch of black glad wierdo's on a week long bender. Though the local paper does cheat by not being hungover for the Sunday football match.

Scarborough council do at times "seem" to be doing as much as possible to try and stop Whitby being a success - trying to get events like the goth weekend to relocate to Scarborough. Which is typically short sighted as a bit of decent investment (hell even just decent maintenance) would see Whitby earning a lot more and that wouldn't hurt Scarborough councils budget any either,.

Elby the Beserk said...

Kippers. Yes, WOAR, so I gather. Very sad. I had an uncle who was a kipper fiend, and he, and arch (and very successful capitalist) and I (a youthful and stupid socialist) would have stand up rows about politics. When we ended up in Whitby, I mollified him and demonstrated that at heart I was ok by sending him a box of kippers.

The dressed crab sarnies that were sold from what I recall appeared to be the windows of peoples' living rooms were very fine as well. Such fond memories of the place, and us moving there, and subsequent contact with Botton Village Camphill Community led my ex and I to send our four kids to Steiner schools, a decision which cost us a fortune and was so the right decision to make.

Must get up there again. Is the Sutcliffe Gallery still there? We knew the family that ran it, indeed, daughter and (then) husband lived in the house in Lythe where we ended up for the drought.

Yeah, happy days!

Woman on a Raft said...

The Sutcliffe Gallery is booming.


Without becoming a stinking tourist trap, Whitby is one of the very nicest places to have a holiday in Britain. Giolla will no doubt confirm since that's exactly what thousands of people do at least once a year. Only, not right above the Dracula Experience as that's open all evening too now.

Also a must-see is are the crazy cottages clinging to the rock at Robin Hood's bay just down the coast. It is always surprising how that area is studded with microclimates; put up any kind of sheltering wall and you can grow sub-tropical plants there. I once observed the different sizes of clovers on a bank which grew larger as the bank curved out of the wind and made a sheltered shell at the end.

You and Lilith should go and speak to Laureen Shaw and her husband. He was telling me how they fetched up there in 1972 and ten years later started the pottery. It has been keeping them ever since. Maybe you knew them? The court is in Blackburn's Yard.

Woman on a Raft said...

You were unlucky JuliaM; you must have found not just the biggest but the only fishbone. I particularly enjoyed the haddock fillet I had that day as they remove the skin so you can eat all of the batter which remains crispy on all sides.

Elby the Beserk said...

Robin's Hood Bay. Watersons live there. When I and the other guy, of the couple with whom we bought the house, went up to recce, we went to RHB. Had borrowed some beat up car from a friend of theirs. As you will know, there's a steep hill down to the village.

Well, we couldn't get the car back up. In the end, I had to reverse it all the way up.

And Staithes of course. The old women still in their bonnets, twitching their net curtains as we walked past (quite a sight, us; my mate looked like Keef R, and I was pretty wild looking on those days. And 6'6" tall.

Don't recall the name. The guy who intro'ed us, with his wife, to Botton did the lighting for the Pink Floyd till around the time Syd left (Uncle Syd as their kids called him). Pete bailed out as it was getting to crazy with all the acid. Worked for him, doing lighting gear, in the Old School above the harbour. Could gauge the progress and regress of the summer by the Newky Brown cans that came over the wall. Formed a perfect bell curve.

Thanks for bringing back all these memories. Beach walks to Sandsend, and Mulgrave Woods ablaze in the Autumn. The church, which looked like a boat inside, and all the eroded gravestones. Some you could read. "Master Mariner. Lost in the South Seas". The 100mph+ gale we had one night, stacks down all over town and our friends flooded out when the harbour water backed up into the drains. Me and Pete, the sole young people in the cinema, to watch Gone With The Wind. Hankies out all round. Pat & Rosie ushering at the Bingo Hall just down the road.

Yeah. Thanks hugely WOAR. On a roll there. And I must take Lil up there, and see if Liz still runs the gallery.

Woman on a Raft said...

Hello Giolla.

I missed last year's Goth festivals due to other events but I was able to see the end of the Folk Festival with the Morris Parade.

It was glorious with the folk bands singing and playing in all the pubs all day. There was a marine flotilla where boats and rafts sailed in to harbour all carrying flag and some got up in theme. The parade had all Morris groups from all over the country performing and then dancing in the parade to the monument where there was presentation from the judges.

An acquaintance of mine plays for the energetic dancers Fool's Gambit - they specialize in in things such as leapfrog moves and stave work so there is the possibility of giving themselves a serious clout if they get it wrong. None of this flick with a hanky business.

I'm hoping to go back in the next few weeks. Although it is the quiet season the galleries, museums and the restored Pavillion Theatre are open.

Giolla Decair said...

Whitby is awesome, it's a lovely town full of friendly people - everyone should visit. I stayed in the lamp house above the Dracuala experience once and it was fine but then I was getting back late and well lubricated.

I keep meaning to do the folk festival, sometimes it's possible to do as a back to back with the goth weekend, as the goth weekend lasts for a week for most of us.

I missed the last goth weekend as well due to it clashing with Nov 5th, but I'll be back in April - if anyone fancies a drink. Also if you're in Whitby I'd heartily recommend both the Elsinore pub who are wonderful people and also Humble pie on the old side, cheap filling bite and pies that are so packed they must have used a sledge hammer.

Woman on a Raft said...

Whitby Goth Spring Weekend confirmed for 26-28 April.


I'll check my diary.

Giolla Decair said...

This news just in from a friend:
"Just caught this on Look North - Venus Trading and 7 other properties are experiencing major sturctural issues due to a landshift near the harbour in Whitby - SBC denying all liability, case being taken to court in Leeds on Friday."

I am of course utterly shocked that Scarborough Borough Council are denying all responsibility.

Barnacle Bill said...

I don't know if you've seen this update on the Whitby cliff slide problem WoaR?