Saturday, 29 July 2017

Up North Again

Everything Old Is New Again
Sometimes when you return somewhere you see things anew, see things you didn’t see before and think things you didn’t think last time. So it was a pleasure to take Harriet to see Chatsworth: House Style on a less crowded day than last time. With the added bonus of a family picnic for Emily’s birthday.

Summer jaunts
Those who know me well know that I’m a fan of pavements and buildings, cityscapes and hygiene. Yes, I love the countryside – walking, enjoying views and smelling fresh air – but I like to walk on designated paths covered in woodchip and not be too far away from the nearest running hot water…. I’m not a typical Yorkshireman in being psychologically allergic to mud. So I even surprised myself by wanting to go to this year’s Great Yorkshire Show where the animals were real and the smells of the animals even more real. And the animals thought nothing of pissing and shitting in front of me. How rude. Of course some of them – like Atkinson’s Action Horses – were dressed up like the film extras they were and well drilled in their theatrical behaviour.
Protect and Survive
Somewhere I’d never been before was the Cold War Bunker near York, now looked after by English Heritage. It brought back memories of the booklet Protect and Survive which households were issued with in the early 1980s. I have strong memories of taking part in a touring T-i-E project at the University of Manchester called Going Up which attempted to make fun of the leaflet. Visiting the Cold War bunker recently it was clear how extensive the preparations were for monitoring nuclear fall-out in the event of an attack or accident. Our perky guide had plenty of startling anecdotes about the Royal Observer Corps who staffed the bunkers and who were only completely decommissioned in 1996.

Bring Me Sunshine
A return visit to Morecambe is always welcome – the vast bay and extensive promenade provides plenty of opportunities to stretch legs and blow away cobwebs. The difference this time is that we visited on a very sunny day unlike previous occasions when the waves crashed onto the footpaths and the views across to the Lake District were obscured by mist.

St Patrick’s Chapel
The walk along from Morecambe to Heysham is always worth doing to visit the atmospheric church of St Peter’s with its graveyard overlooking the bay and its Viking hogback stone. A few more steps take you to the ruins of elevated St Patrick’s Chapel looked after by the National Trust. The enigmatic rock-cut coffin graves are startling.

Nostalgic memories
A new Retirement game is to chase the sun on a day out. So we made the west coast sun in Morecambe and more recently found the east coast sun in Bridlington. Another oft-visited place seen through new eyes at a new stage of life. Bridlington was the “big town” when we spent childhood holidays at nearby Reighton Gap caravan park. Later on I took my own children when they were tiny to build castles on deserted beaches when British seaside towns had, for a time, become unfashionable. Now the beaches are busy again and “staycations” have become more popular. The North beach is quieter than the South beach and walking on the sands by the North Sea is one of the top pleasures in life.