Whitby 2009 – 7

On the walkway
On the walkway

I awoke to heavy rain. Even the cries of the gulls seemed muted and there was less activity from them. I heard a familiar squawk and saw L J perched on the walkway below. A few seconds later, Jane landed nearby.


In view of the weather, we did not rush out but made tea. By 8am the rain was as heavy as ever and a uniformly grey sky suggested that this situation would endure.

The gull community was becoming more active but with less than the usual exuberance. Below on the walkway both L J and Jane were standing on one leg as though waiting for something, occasionally emitting a squawk or shriek at other passing gulls.

The rain seemed to ease around 9am so we put on our rain jackets and went out. As though it had been waiting for us to do just that, the rain now intensified to cloud-burst intensity. By the time we had gone over the bridge and across the road and taken refuge in an arcade, we were already wet and bedraggled.

Rainy view
Rainy view

We had thought of going to the Singing Kettle but found Mills’ Cafe closer. Here we had a very good vegetarian breakfast. There was some kerfuffle in the street and we learnt that the fire service was engaged in pumping out premises that were flooded from the rain.

We needed some shopping but once this was done, it was clear that the only sensible thing to do was to go back to the hotel room. By now, the wind was getting up and the surface of the river was choppier than I had seen it before.

We were going to look for a shop to buy the makings of a picnic lunch but as we turned a corner and received a blast of wind and rain in our faces, we both gave up and instead made for the hotel.

Back in the room we hung our wet coats in the shower and turned on the electric radiator to help dry our wet clothes. Then we could make tea and look out at the scene in the harbour: people hurrying along battered by the elements, their umbrellas being blown inside out.

The gulls have perked up somewhat and the air is full of their cries and calls, though there are fewer than usual. Needless to say, the pleasure boats have not moved from their moorings.

Shall we dash to Gatsby?
Shall we dash to Gatsby?

Tigger watched a video about Scarborough while I kept tabs on the scene outside. In the end both of us dozed off—well, we have been active the last few days.

When we woke up around 1pm, the rain had stopped though the sky was still overcast. We thought we had better make a dash for lunch while we could and crossed the bridge to Gatsby’s.

Looking out from Gatsby's
Looking out from Gatsby’s

After lunch, as the rain was still holding off, we went to the bus station and took the 14:50 to Sleights, just to see what was there. Without meaning any disrespect to Sleights or its inhabitants, we didn’t get off the bus. There didn’t seem to be anything that could be regarded as a centre and the bus just kept going. We eventually recognized landmarks we had seen on the way in and realized we were on the way back to Whitby.

A shop of many parts
A shop of many parts

In Whitby, the bus stops at the George pub and that’s where we got off. Near to it is a shop selling antiques, collectables and jewellery. We went in for a look. It’s a lovely shop* and the back room contains a beautiful old fireplace. This room must once have been someone’s living room.

I spotted an unusual silver and garnet ring with one square stone and one circular one. The ring as a whole is horseshoe shaped. You may guess that I bought it. I also bought a bracelet of blue glass beads alternating with magnetite ones. It’s too small for me but I can lengthen it when I got home by adding beads from my collection.

Tigger spotted a jet heart on a silver chain. We had quickly learnt that jet is very expensive, perhaps because of its fame and popularity and the status of Whitby as the centre of jet jewellery-making. Jet came into vogue during the “black” period of the Victorian era after Albert died, Victoria went into permanent mourning and funereal style became all the rage (one might regard this as the first Goth period!). This heart was not too expensive so we bought it too.

The colour of the water changed and...
The colour of the water changed and…

The rain is still holding off (4pm) and the gulls are busy catching up with the day’s business, L J among them. The surface of the river remains fairly agitated and the colour of the water has changed to a markedly brown hue, indicating that the mud from the bed has been stirred up.

We are back in our hotel bedroom cum observation post and have made tea. Because of the overcast sky, there is already an evening feel to the scene.

...a mist came down
…a mist came down

All at once a mist descended, blotting out familiar landmarks and presenting a new aspect of the town we thought we knew.

We had meant to reserve a table at Moutrey’s for our last evening but we forgot until 6:30. I tried phoning but it was by then too late: they were all booked up.

One possibility was to eat downstairs in the pub so we bookmarked this for later if needed and went out to see if we could find anything more interesting. We had tried Humble Pie ‘n’ Mash previously but they had been closing. We gave them another try this evening.

Humble Pie 'n' Mash
Humble Pie ‘n’ Mash

As the name suggests, their staple fare is pies, served with mashed potato and peas. We both had homity pie and naughty chocolate pudding with ice cream to finish. I also enjoyed the atmosphere of the place which is almost like that of someone’s house or a rustic tea room. The time frame is the 1940s and there are props and newspaper pages reflecting the theme.

After the meal we went for a stroll along Church Street enjoying the misty evening views. Over on the west side, a band was playing on the bandstand, the music floating over the water to us.

Black Horse Yard
Black Horse Yard
Evening sands
Evening sands
The Quay
The Quay
Market Place
Market Place

We returned to our room and watched DVDs and the gulls swooping outside.

The observer observed: L J in the fog
The observer observed: L J in the fog

*I failed to record the identity of this shop. If anyone can tell me what it is, I will be grateful and will modify this post accordingly.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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