May 2014.

I've bought a campervan as a 60th birthday present to myself, made some curtains and a patchwork quilt, waved goodbye to my family, and set off. My aim is to explore the coastline of Britain, anti clockwise, starting in Kent. I have no idea what will happen.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Two days with Hebe

Hebe came to stay for the Bank Holiday weekend. We stayed the first night at a campsite at Robin Hood's Bay – a popular seaside resort near Whitby - and were in the family field. (I hadn't booked, and  campsites were full, and expensive.) It was wet but not miserable: there was an all-girls football match (aged about 5 – 14); happy campers squabbling and laughing, putting tents up in the rain; small children getting overtired, their parents getting over-refreshed... while the rain lashed down on the awnings. Lots of dogs, particularly spaniels and shitzus There was certainly enough to keep the keenest people-watcher amused, and Hebe is as good as her mother on that score. We went out and had excellent fish and chips in Whitby.
The next day opened to the strains of Acker Bilk (I promise!) floating out across the site. We walked to Robin Hood's Bay, about half a mile away. It's lovely, a bit Cornish, with narrow streets and stone steps, the tide was out and an ice cream van was busy on the beach. I am sure small children remember a holiday like this, crabbing and rock-pooling, just as fondly as a week in the Mediterranean with all that entails.. Not so warm though.
Beware the mixed seafood tray!
We had crab sandwiches for lunch in the pub in Staithes and earmarked a cottage on the front which we would rent for a perfect family summer holiday. This region is where the 18th century explorer and cartographer Captain James Cook came from. He went to Staithes when he was 16 to work in a shop and it is said that he first became entranced with the sea here. He obviously didn't enjoy shop work. 
Bank Holiday Monday on Scarborough beach was bustling. Deckchairs and picnics, ice-creams and donkey rides,. It's a huge sandy beach and the tide was out, perfect for sandcastles. Vast Victorian hotels look grandly out from the clifftop, and we had a good view from the top of the ferriswheel! I bought a couple of crabs from a van on the front and we thought we'd try a mixed seafood tray – £3, with a little fork. I should have know when I saw the crabsticks - crab, lobster and prawns (they were real, frozen) – that it was reconstituted. Seafood Spam, it all tasted exactly the same with a dollop of Marie Rose sauce.
I felt sad seeing Hebe off on her train from Scarborough, and headed south to Flamborough Head which I had hurried past on my way to meet her two days before. It was wonderful, the sun was out, the car park machine wasn't working, and the sheer white chalk cliffs were teeming with birds – gulls, cormorants, and puffins.
A puffin at Flamborough Head

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