Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Home again...

... for brief and frenzied spell of unpacking, washing, and re-packing for camping trip this weekend. Luckily, am still feeling relaxed from lovely week in a magazine-perfect holiday cottage in Whitby on the East Yorkshire coast, and am making huge efforts not to compare its pristine paintwork and uncluttered surfaces with home.

Whitby is a strange and completely wonderful place-- a mixture of laid-back surfer cool, with vast, empty beaches pounded by north-sea rollers, and old-fashioned English seaside charm (the breeze is spiked with a vinegar tang from all the fish and chip shops along the pier.) However, these are both offset by an intriguingly dark undertone which sets it apart from other seaside towns. The beaches are pretty much devoid of shells, but are littered instead with fossils and jet, and thanks to its Dracula connection (Bram Stoker wrote part of the book while staying in Whitby and looking over to the ruined abbey on the clifftop opposite) the town boasts the title of Goth capital of Britain. Daughter #2, aged 9, has decided she wants to be a goth when she's older, and spent a long time gazing wistfully into shop windows draped with black crushed velvet and vampiric jewellery.

One of the best things about the week, apart from the miraculous weather and the plentiful supply of cold Pimms was the fact that for the first time in 4 years we were not staying in a tent. Camping has its charms, but after the last few deadline-dominated, sleep-deprived weeks I'm not sure I was in the right mood to appreciate them and it was bliss to soak in a bath (a gorgeous claw-foot Victorian bath, at that...) and fall into a proper bed at night.

However, all good things come to an end. Back home, the rain has returned, making a proper assault on the mountains of sandy washing inadvisable, and I keep coming across reproachful piles of beach 'treasures' which a proper mummy would no doubt display imaginatively, but which induce in me a spiralling apathy. Worst of all I am unable to ignore any longer the fact that none of my clothes seem to fit anymore, and am forced to contemplate a bleak spell of abstinence from cake and chocolate. (Am cheered by the thought that Pimms is still allowed-- actually, is virtually an essential diet component, probably containing 5 statutory portions of fruit if you drink enough of it...)

Anyway, must go and re-load washing machine, and dig out list of camping supplies for forthcoming expedition. Please, if anyone can think of a creative use for 57 flat stones, a handful of ammonites and 4 revolting limpet shells do let me know.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Send them in a box to your Editor, I'm sure she would love them and it would distract her mightily from thinking about sending you revisions. In fact she'd probably be so overjoyed she'd accept your book in a flash...
(I'm staying anonymous for fear of reprisals)

India said...

Abby Green-- out yourself immediately. Or I'll do a full and frank blog post about our forthcoming Bloomsbury escapade...

Amanda Ashby said...

I'll raise your 57 flat stones and see you a zillion fan shells, a truck load of bark chip and some other treeish ping pong ball looking things that my daughter has set up (at the front door). Now I'm starting to think that living near the beach isn't such a great thing after all!

Michelle Styles said...

Ah, well. Mine went through the stage of digging up crockery and bottles from the stream. A shoebox stored at the back of the cupboard is always a good option.

I am pleased you had a good time.Enjoy your camping trip. Pimms can be essential.

Kate Hardy said...

Welcome back :o)

LOL on the ammonites. I'd display them. The stones... Well, we have a corner next to the front door which is meant to contain a bit of gravel and several pots of flowers. But... the gravel has been covered in seashells and looks much prettier for it. (Think yours might be too old for the seashell bit.)

India said...

Amanda and Kate-- I was thinking of you while we were there and I was crunching over the drifts of sand that had gathered all over the kitchen floor. Is that a permanent state of affairs for you coastal dwellers??!

Amanda, hurrah that the book is now out!! My hot little fingers are itching to get hold of my copy-- long on pre-order from amazon.

Michelle-- the shoebox holding bay seems like a good plan. With the exception of the fossils, which at 14 million years old or so probably deserve to be treated with respect, the rest can be held on bail for 30 days before being sentenced to the bin. Or the garden, as Kate says.

Anonymous said...

How did you know that was me?! Not fair...do you think Bloomsbury is ready for us? I think not...hee hee...
x an outed Abby

Eva said...

I have more ideas for what I might do with Pimms - sorely missed since we moved from England - than with sea treasures.

Annie said...

I think you should adopt daughter #2's fashion tastes and become a goth yourself right now - not only is black slimming, it also means the last fashion your daughter would want to follow would be her own mother's. Reverse ygolohcysp and all that.

Kate Hardy said...

India, I'm 30 mins from the coast... but yeah, in summer there's always a bit of sand.

I read a report somewhere recently that women come back from the beach with 7kg of sand, on average (on wet towels and clothing, apparently... that sounded way too high, or maybe we're just weird in that we brush sand off ourselves and the kids at the edge of the beach. And that's because I'm a slattern who loathes hoovering the car.)

Brown said...

Would it work if you pasted the rocks on a picture frame, complete with the odd shell/starfish and called it art?

Glad to hear you're back, safe and sound. And I say, pants are over-rated. Buy a cape, mumu, and call yourself and new-age romance writer. That way you can eat all the chocolates you want and no one (not even the bathroom scale) will know.