Whitby

It feels like it’s been an eternity since we last took in some seaside air. I think it’s just under two years. TWO YEARS…. That must be my longest ever inland run. Especially not great when you are a seaside child, born on the North Yorkshire coast. One day with patience.

This is Whitby. Here’s a few random facts about this beautiful little town.

  • Captain James Cook lived here and his famous ship the Endeavour was built here.
  • Whitby has some of the best Fish and Chips on the planet.
  • The black semi-precious stone Whitby Jet.
  • Bram Stoker developed the idea of his Dracula book here. The opening chapters are set here. Also the idea of Dracula taking on the form of a huge black dog is based on local legends.

When I was a kid we would come here on a day trip by train. While my parents went about doing parenting things, I would be sent up the 199 steps to The Abbey which is in the background of the second photo. My job was to hunt for Dracula’s grave. I never did find it but maybe next time.

I’m not sure that time wasting parenting excuse would have any chance of success with our son. More chance of him convincing me to go. These days we come to Whitby for the chips, the ice cream, the beautiful beach and a bit of dinosaur fossil hunting. This part of the country has been named Jurassic Coast for the number of discoveries it yields. This is one of ours.

So let’s hope it’s not long before the fossil hunting is back underway.

IT

Weather and more weather. Looks like an incoming horror storm.

Son was trying to understand why Stephen Kings ‘IT’ Book was not a great choice for a school book. I suspect it will be making an appearance on the school system as soon as I turn my back.

Dad do you remember that time I got you told you off not the teacher.”

How could I forget it.

It was very funny.”

******

I think that he was about 7 and in class his teacher asked what things the kids watched on TV. Most of the kids mentioned things like football, Peppa Pig, Dora the Explorer, Spongebob and Finding Nemo. That was until it came to a certain boy

My Dad lets me watch Dracula, Frankenstein, Ghost and Zombie movies…”

Understandably Teacher was not impressed. So I was asked to see the teacher after school. I was suitably nonplused until the penny dropped. Yes that is true but son failed to mention the fact that these were all with Scooby Doo….

Blood Red Sky

“Dad its a long time since we had a properly red sunset. I can only remember seeing 3 blood red ones.”

He’s right. We are lucky here. It’s a daft thing to say but we have a big sky here. Not much blocking it out. Well apart from Yorkshire Clag – that’s thick low cloud. When we get a clear sunset they are often stunning but very rarely blood red.

But very occasionally we get one.

I know that a red sky at night is a fisherman’s delight but I think it might be an omen. At the very least I would hope Dracula or the Hammer Horror movies were born from a blood red night. Just think what a nightmare it would have been if the Dracula or Hound of the Baskerville authors had come up with the idea looking at a sunset but finding that they were dyslexic. The stories may have been lost. How many great ideas have been messed up by not being able to write”

Think of all the great stories that have been made by people with Dyslexia. You just have to find different ways of getting things done. Plus what happened if the Dracula author took one look at the red sky and said ‘That reminds me of a cricket ball I’m going to write about a famous cricketer.”

After a puzzled look. What about if Stoker. You do know Stoker wrote Dracula. If Stoker had said that reminds me of a blood sucking chipmunk called Alvin. The first book would have been called Alvin Prince of Annoying Singing. That’s when you would have wished Stoker was dyslexic.”

Can’t argue with that. Another thing I can’t complain about it he is now starting to find some humour in some of his greatest fears. That’s a step in the right direction. Now what’s the odds on a blood red sky tonight being serenaded by a signing rodent…

Public Apology.

Unfortunately the last few posts have been a tad unfair to a great performer. Picked on him a bit. I do like him a bit really. No not talking about Bono and U2 – not even scratched the surface with them yet. I’m talking about Alvin. I would like to apologise to him and all his brethren. Singing Rodents are welcome here. Not you Bono – you can bugger off…

Whitby

I must admit even routine trips out seem like big adventures these days. Occasionally it’s good to return to the outside world. Makes me feel kinda grown up.

We had an afternoon trip to Whitby for a medical appointment. It was cold, wet, windy and misty. But as ever stunningly beautiful. It’s one of those places that when the sun shines it is just the most picturesque place. But in a wild storm it is truly a perfect place for Dracula to land and wreck havoc.

Son always calls Whitby Abbey, Dracula’s Castle.

If the weather had been kinder we would have ventured onto the beach and search beneath the cliffs. It’s a fantastic place to find fossils. It’s just wonderful to see him searching. Methodically digging and searching through stones. Then suddenly a bit of arm flapping and he is deep into a dream world of dinosaurs.

Once we leave Jurassic times a walk round the small port and Son is lost again in dream world. This time dreams drift 250 years ago to Captain James Cook. Whitby was his home port and his famous ship The Endeavour was built here.

At the medical appointment the consultant handed our son a sheet of paper which had his future appointment dates listed. Instantly son announced

I won’t sign anything before the terms are checked out by my lawyer”

Kids learn so quickly these days.

Thespian Advice

First up apologies for yesterday’s school rant. Probably suffering from Toffee Appleitis. It was heart felt but probably did come across as a bit of a winging parent. I suspect it might not be my last moan but I will try to keep a lid on it for the post.

The Toffee Apple update was quite positive. I did manage to find one rather sad looking specimen which apparently was quite tasty. While he was at school I moved away from the high science of Toffee to the more accessible chocolate approach. Chocolate is so much easier than Toffee – it falls within my very limited cooking range.

Chocolate Apple – success. Then the success went to my head – chocolate dipping anything I could find. Grapes, strawberries, banana, pineapple and melon. At one stage we had chocolate spectacles – but that was just an unintentional fumble. With the exception of the glasses – all chocolate covered items happily consumed.

After the chocolate eating fest our son brought up school and in particular drama. Apparently the class had a drama test which consisted of reading a script. No reading help was provided. When I asked how he coped his response was

“I couldn’t read the words but I didn’t panic, I just remembered the advice you gave me about drama”

This worried me on two counts. One I can’t remember any such advice and secondly the only thing I’m worse at than cooking is the performing arts. My only two ventures into the performing arts during my life have hardly been inspiring.

1) At school my class was entered into a singing competition. My signing was so bad that the teacher told me to stand at the back and just mime. I remember how he put it “for gods sake don’t sing or were buggered”.

2) A bit further down my educational journey I “performed” in the year end play. That year it was Julius Caesar. I was given the role of a centurion with one job. Stand on a podium (chair) and shout “hail Caesar”. Unfortunately on the big night I got a tad excited. I managed to let out a bellowing “Haiiiiiiiiiii” as I feel backwards off the chair, pulling most of the back curtain down.

So with trepidation I asked my son exactly what advice I had given him.

“You told me that if I had to do any acting and I didn’t know what to do then you should pretend to be a famous actor. Pretend to be someone like Christopher Lee playing Dracula”. ### he once watched a documentary about Christopher Lee’s career when he was appearing in Lord of the Rings and loved the Dracula bit ####

“So I just pretended to be Dracula stalking round the stage not saying a word. I later found out that it was some romantic stuff I was supposed to read”.

I couldn’t get the image of this vampire like figure stalking round the stage when they were expecting something more akin to Laurence Olivier or Colin Firth. Seconds later we were both in tears of laughter.

So in summary I can’t rule out future blog moans but I can categorically rule out any form of thespian advice.