I've been very lax about LJ recently, at least about writing anything in it. Specifically I haven't yet written properly about:
- Whitby: what we did, and what the bands were like
- Opeth gig on Thursday with Mike and Mobbsy
- Less Than Jake/Dropkick Murphys gig yesterday with Mike and Ernie
- All the other things I've been up to inbetween (mostly sleeping in :-)
Mike and I got the train up on Thursday with various people for company at different points. Gin on the second leg between Ely and Peterborough definitely made the trip go a little faster, but as usual the really slow leg between Middlesbrough and Whitby itself was lovely - it's such gorgeous countryside up there. We hiked our bags up the hill and then up to the attic to settle into our room at the Arches guesthouse, intending to head off to the pub pretty soon afterwards, but instead we had a long nap, then I took Mike for a walk to show off the West Cliff, saw Captain Cook's statue and the whalebone arch and walked down the cliff and to the beach, where the sea was fairly far in but left just enough room to walk round from the bit of sea wall at the end of the pier from the steps to the ramp. We took a quick stroll along the pier but it was dark and windy and we didn't head right out to the end. Then we hit the amusement arcade and spent a lot of 2ps on the machines and played pool until they chucked us out. Fish and chips from the takeaway bar at the Magpie were eaten sitting in the harbour, and then we bumped into David, Clare and Sarah outside the Elsi, but since they were leaving anyway we decided it was bedtime too.
On Friday we got up for breakfast and then went back to bed. We spent the early afternoon wandering through all the stalls at the Spa, the Met and the leisure centre where I bought a lovely skirt from Gabi of Gothic Haven and Mike bought a cuddly snake. As you do. We had a drink with Graham and Marisa in the bar at the Met but everyone else seemed to be on a train. We dropped off our purchases in the hotel room and then headed towards town looking for afternoon tea, which turned up in the form of excellent sandwiches and a shared scone with jam and cream at Botham's tea shop. We briefly considered the pub again, but I still had a pocket full of 2ps, so we headed back down to the harbour, where we found the sea was impressively high and wandered along the pier again to get a better look at the crashing waves. I was amused by how many people had climbed over the gate to the outer pier to get a better look - this gate is a fairly recently addition and is meant to close off that part when the sea is too dangerous. There were definitely waves breaking right over the pier! After our fill of waves we went back to the arcades and found they did have one-armed-bandits that ran on 2ps after all and managed to use them all up - though I was very disappointed to hit the jackpot and not get a quids worth of tuppences out - not enough to complain. We also played some more pool and I managed to even up the score, having lost rather thoroughly the previous day. Then it was time to get changed into my corset and lovely new skirt and head to the spa for the bands. I think I'll leave the music to a separate post/section, but suffice to say we had a pleasant evening, and despite tired feet danced for a bit afterwards before heading to bed.
On Saturday we had another lie-in after breakfast, which is a great pattern when on holiday. Especially when the breakfast is so good - better than average sausages, lovely thick bacon and good black pudding definitely gave it the edge over the Avalon in this respect. We spent Saturday afternoon over on the other side of town, after having been waylaid on the way past the Elsi for a quick drink with Graham and Marisa again. We didn't really get a proper look at the shops, but we went up the 99 steps to the church, had a windswept wander round the churchyard and the abbey where I took lots of photos, came back down the lane which was quite alarmingly steep in places, and then wandered along to the east pier, where I suspect Mike was probably less interested in the information board about how it's changed than I was. We wandered back along Tate Hill Sands where I scrawled our names in the sand, and failed to buy bonfire toffee because the sweet shop had sold out, which was rather disappointing. Less so was the excellent fish and chips at Hadleys, where I always try and eat at least once because I always have. And I do like to do the full fish/chips/peas/bread and butter/cup of tea thing when I'm at the seaside. We headed back to the hotel to nap and change and ended up watching some trashy tv too (Strictly Come Dancing has become a bad habit of late, and Robin Hood is compulsively awful). At the spa we spent less time watching the bands and more just hanging out, but generally had a good time.
Sunday we followed a similar pattern, but managed to keep the nap after breakfast to a minimum. We declined to join David, Clare and Sarah for a boat trip, and instead set out to walk along the beach. As usual the tide was too far in to walk far on the sand, so we joined the North Promenade instead and followed it along the bottom of the cliff, waving them on the Bark Endeavour when it 'sailed' past. When the promenade ran out we decided to keep going along the rougher sand at the far side, and braved the water for a paddle. It was nice to just sit on the beach for a while afterwards drying out enough to put our socks and boots back on. We ploughed on through increasingly difficult territory (soft sand is hard work to walk on) all the way to Sandsend, which is the next village up the coast, apparently about 2.5 miles from Whitby. We treated ourselves to a rather good icecream from the beach cafe before walking back along the road and past the golf course, back into town to try and find the football ground. Which we ended up walking right round in the end in order to find the entrance. We missed kickoff by a couple of minutes, but I don't think we missed much of the action. They have a match every year between the goths and a team made up by the local Whitby Gazette. Usually the Gazette have the advantage of having practiced in the last 6 months and trounce the goths, but this time it was a fairly close match and we only lost by one goal. It was good fun. And if you're wondering at me having taken to enjoying watching football I can only thank (blame?) Mike for kindling my enthusiasm. I used to love playing it as a kid anyway. We followed the match with another much deserved nap and having failed to get to the supermarket to buy something for tea before it closed we fell back on plan B, and ordered a pizza and ate it in the queue for Laughtons. As usual it was a great night, though I spent a lot of it sitting out just listening and singing along and bopping a little from the balcony with Mike for company, rather than monopolising the dance floor. There were definitely a few omissions from the usual set list (what no spinning right round like a record baby?) but it was a top night anyway. We headed off pretty sharpish when they threw us out though, since we knew we had to get up early the next morning for the train home.
And indeed on Monday that's what we did - rather confusing Dick at the hotel, even though we had warned him we'd be earlier for breakfast. The trip back was pretty uneventful anyway, despite a bit of a delay meaning we missed our train at Peterborough. Mike seems convinced the station is cursed or something, since he seems to rarely managed to come home through it without delays or cancellations. And that was it for 2006, and all that remained was to drop the hotel a line and book a room again for this time next year (I'm going to skip April, since it's too close to my sister's wedding). We spent far too little time actually being sociable with anyone else but I really enjoyed showing Mike why I love the place so much.
Phew. I think the rest can wait a bit.