This morning Tigger felt better. After yesterday’s rather chequered food programme, we decided to start the day with a good breakfast. We went around the corner into Grape Lane to the Grape Vine Cafe.
The cafe turned out to be a double shrine, firstly to the Heartbeat TV series and secondly to Elvis. The decor consists of photos relating to both themes and related issues together with assorted objects such as an old radio and a couple of police helmets. The atmosphere was comfortable and friendly and we had an enjoyable breakfast.
From here we went to the bus station, intending to travel Harrogate. Because of their atmosphere and physical configuration, the seaside towns here often remind us of Cornwall. Another way in which Cornwall is brought to mind is in the rather desultory nature of public transport. It often requires a certain ingenuity to work out how to get to places, given the sparse timetables, and, just as in Cornwall, you have to take care not to miss the last bus or train home which in some cases departs at an unusually early hour.
We caught the Middlesbrough bus which again took us through beautiful landscape with glimpses of the sea. At Guisborough we took a break because this is an old market town and promised to be worth seeing. Sarevi’s small coffee shop provided refreshments.
It is a sunny and cloudy day, meaning that just as you are about to click the shutter on a scene, the sun disappears, changing the light. Then again, in England, unless you can afford to wait around for perfect conditions, you learn to take things as they are. Otherwise, buy postcards. Personally, I prefer my photos to show what I saw as it was when I saw it.
After a quick tour around Guisborough we took the next number 5 bus and resumed our journey towards Middlesbrough through sheep-speckled landscapes with vistas of wooded hills.
When we reached Middlesbrough bus station, I went off to the loo, leaving Tigger prospecting for buses. When I returned, she was almost literally hanging onto a bus for Newcastle that was about to leave. We boarded and settled down for the journey, which took about an hour and three quarters.
On arrival at this iconic city, our first priority was lunch which we found in a pub called The Goose, conveniently adjacent to the bus station.
Given time constraints, this could only be a short visit. Tigger had previously come to Newcastle on a courier run and I had been unable to accompany her on that occasion, so she wanted me to get a glimpse of what there was to see.
I was quite impressed by what I did see and we have tentative plans to base ourselves here another time. At the bus stop, while we waited for the 16:00 Middlesbrough bus, the lady serving in the tiny cafe regaled us with a list of all the good things there were to see in the area. The only question is: when will we be able to fit it in?!
We are now aboard the X10 to Middlesbrough, powering along the dual carriageway like a plane on take-off.
In Middlesbrough, we went for a walk hoping to find a cafe for refreshments. By now, however, everything was closing. We ended up in a Walkabout bar. After consuming out coffee, there seemed little to do but go back to the bus station and wait for the next bus out.
While it might be unfair to form a negative impression of Middlesbrough on so short an acquaintance, a negative impression is nevertheless what I received. Perhaps if I stayed longer or saw more of it I would form a better opinion of the town.
The 17:15 bus was the slow one which stops at all the towns and villages en route so the journey was quite long. Apart from sections in town or beside works, the journey is a very pleasant and provides a cheap tour of the beautiful and varied countryside.
Even so, I was glad when the bus finally pulled up at Whitby bus station and I could stretch my legs at last.
We have decided on an Indian dinner tonight (no surprises there, then) and chose the second of the three Indian restaurants we had found, called Passage to India.
The decor is smart and modern and the service efficient. There were no items on the menu specifically for vegetarians. Apart from side dishes, all we could find was a vegetable balti or a vegetable curry. We added mutta panir side dishes.
Tigger was happy with hers but I was less content. Not that there was anything wrong with the food. I would just like something a little more exciting than vegetable curry.
I looked for L J this morning but saw neither him nor Jane. As we approached the hotel now, I spotted a familiar silhouette atop the bridge lamp nearest our window. Yes, it was L J looking alert and vigorous as ever, keeping tabs on all that was going on in Gull World.
L J considers the lamp his own and doesn’t hesitate to chase away other gulls that perch there, not to mention lesser beings such as pigeons or collared doves.