Covid stories part 17 — Staithes, Great Fryup dale, West Ham

So it must be nearly 3 weeks since I last blogged on what has been happening at home. Quite a lot … or perhaps groundhog day. I’d probably say a mixture of the two, with a couple of short-ish breaks (and a week’s holiday) breaking up the day-to-day routine of wake-up-eat-work-eat-work-eat-watchTV-sleep …

So the day after my last blog (17th July), we took off for a long weekend, staying in a lovely little B & B in somewhere called Great Fryup dale which was actually something of a find. Perhaps not the B & B itself (which was fine), but certainly the location. We arrived late in the afternoon after calling at the Fox in Roxby and on the Friday night, I watched the next urgent instalment of West Ham’s fight against relegation v Watford (who were on the same points as us). All this whilst eating an amazing supper from the Fox but I have to be honest … I was stressed out of my mind even when we went 3 up before half-time. Micky with the first, Tommy unstoppable breaking into the box for the second and then Dec with an absolute peach from about 25 yards out. Even then I could see us fuck it up — see below for Ed and I’s whatsapp!

Switching away from the Great Fryupdale sojourn for a mo, West Ham were safe (if not mathematically) but the following Wednesday, we picked up a creditable draw away to United 1–1 and then on the Sunday, we closed the season with a draw at home to Villa. That was slightly disappointing as I hoped we could send them down but they stayed up, courtesy of the goal against them that was never given the first day back from lockdown. Bournemouth and Watford down (at least Deeney drops …).

Back to GFD — the following day, we took our first meal ‘out’ when we visited the Shepherds Hall Tea Rooms for a nice lunch (Carol had Ham and Eggs!) and then went on a really nice walk from Lealholm to Glaisdale and back again, alongside the River Esk. Carol spotted a lovely place called Poets Corner — somewhere we revisited a few days later. We actually stayed for two nights, although I can’t really remember what else we did — I think we spent the day on the beach, yes, that’s it. It was cool but sunny, and we enjoyed a tasty seafood lunch at the cafe. We also walked to Whitby and back (oh my days Whitby was a nightmare, little social distancing, loads of amusements) — we exited pretty rapidly and walked back up out of the town and back down to Sandsend. The Monday I had the day off and played tennis with Joe (I think that’s the last time I have played with him) and took him off to Rounday Reading Cafe afterwards. He also came over to watch us play United on the Wednesday — even though it doesn’t look like we will be able to get season tickets even if grounds partially re-open, we are intending to buy season tickets for when the ground re-opens at 70% capacity. I actually wonder if that will be anytime next season at all.

On the Friday of that week (24th), we took Veronica off to Stillingfleet for the day. We had a picnic outside beforehand and then a lovely walk around the gardens. And then of course a nice pot of tea in their gardens. I confess the woman who runs it drives me slightly mad (she is incredibly patronising) and yet Carol said she was really nice to Veronica as she knew she had dementia (Carol had rung ahead). The gardens themselves are really lovely — I particularly appreciated the water feature with mirror. Incredibly attractive. The sun shone, we took Veronica back whereupon I installed Alexa (not sure how much of a success or not it will be) but we tried. All in all, a really enjoyable day.

So the following week was my week off on holiday and part 2 of my root canal treatment (I had part one a couple of weeks before). The treatment itself was pretty much fine (slightly bizarre thing where they put a bolt round the tooth and then a plastic mask thing, presumably so you don’t have the aerosol flying round the room with Covid) but the following few days, it felt strange, maybe because this time there was a filling added to the mix.

So on the Tuesday, we took Joe off for a great cycle ride to Bishopthorpe and the planets, stopping off for an ice cream at the Co-op in Bishopthorpe. He proudly showed me each of the planets in turn, reading through all the information and was somewhat surprised that I knew the distance from the sun of each one (slightly cheatingly). He is so much fun, chatting away. I can’t believe he is 8 (read on for that bit!).

Thursday, we set off for our second mini-break to Staithes … the Sunday School is an amazing spot, really is. So spacious and comfortable. Carol had booked us in on a whale-watching expedition on the Friday and we had to be up at the car park for 830am. Except we had no car keys for us and the next place was across the valley so down into Staithes we went and up the steep incline on the other side. Some bird watching from the top of the cliffs and then off on the boat, with everyone wearing masks (interestingly, later that afternoon, a couple started to slip their masks down … grrr). The trip out on the boat was great fun but it was very choppy, surprisingly so to say how it was a beautifully sunny day … and also felt surprisingly cool. We saw lots of new birds (a Bonxie, a Manx Shearwater, gannets, kittiwakes, puffins) but alas no sign of a cetacean (which I discovered means whales, dolphins, porpoise …). We had our lunch not far out from Runswick Bay, seeing how it was rammed (it had just been voted British beach of the year) and then back to Staithes by about 4ish.

Saturday we had arranged to meet Alison at Sandsend but as the weather didn’t hold up as planned, we agreed to meet at Lealholm and again enjoyed the Shepherds Hut Tea Room and then visited Poets Corner. Wow, in one way perhaps a gardening centre, but that doesn’t in any sense reflect how gorgeous it is. Some really nice things there — Alison bought a tree! We had agreed to call at the Fox in Roxby to buy a seafood platter for Alison’s birthday tea. Lobster, crab pate, mackerel pate, salmon, prawns, mayonnaises washed down with some prosecco. Hope she had a nice birthday — we seem to have seen her a lot more this year and even a fair bit post loosening lockdown.

So a week later, I pick this up. And the problem with blogs — or really these are in some ways diaries — is that your memory becomes hazier even two weeks ago. I always find it bizarre in crime dramas when police expect you to know what you were doing three months ago on a Tuesday night at 8pm! I can’t remember what I was doing last Tuesday night.

Anyway, what I do remember about the following day (the Sunday) was that in our new aspiration to be more active, Carol and I set off on a walk to Runswick Bay in which the weather varied from quite bright sunshine to spotting rain (Peter Kay rain anyone?!). You go along the Cleveland Way and pass Port Mulgrave. I can’t remember exactly how far it is but having checked my fitbit, I noticed I walked 11.57 miles. It felt further, was a lot of up and down. We stopped on a bench in Runswick Bay and it felt spoiled by its recent vote as ‘beach of the year’ — gentrified … full of people wanting to do water sports, crammed (little social distancing going on). Staithes feels much more authentic, although of course down the hill, most people are affluent holiday-goers!

Monday we set off early (we had to be out by 10am) and took the Kelly kettle to Sandsend whereupon we had a fun bbq of bacon, sausages and tea on the beach before it clouded over and we set off for home. But it was a really enjoyable break. Our holiday of the Covid summer. I guess we are lucky — there will be loads of people who would love to just be able to have enough food, let alone holidays.

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Richard B

Richard B

Still love The Clash, inequality, class, social security, food, stigma. Trustee @ Welfare Benefits Unit. 5ker. West Ham till I die.