Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Day By The Sea

On Sunday our family, along with a group of international students, including the Calvin group, boarded a coach bus for a day of fun in the sun. It was about an hour's drive to the east coast of England and the scenery along the way was delightful. Rolling dales dotted with woolly sheep, steeper moors with dried heather, and hairpin turns as we began our descent into the ancient fishing town of Whitby. Presiding over the town, on the cliffs high above, are the ruins of an abbey built in the 7th century. It was deliberately toppled almost 1000 years later by King Henry VIII when he dissolved the monasteries in his efforts to separate the Church of England from the Catholic church. All because he wanted a divorce! What still stands, is majestic.

When we finished our tour, we traipsed down the 199 steps to the village itself (mindful that that was the only way to return as well!), to find some fish and chips, reputedly the best in all of England. We were not disappointed. However, at this point, my camera stopped working and let's just say my attitude needed a little adjusting. If I could not capture Jackson posed under the giant jaw bones of a blue whale, or posed beside the statue of Captain Cook (Whitby's home town boy who founded Canada, Australia and New Zealand), then really, we should just go home! Jamie encouraged us to absorb it all, and we would remember it together. Who was this sickly sweet Pollyanna man coaxing me out of my sulking? I wanted to stamp my feet. What good was a scrapbook layout if I didn't have enough pictures? We kept wandering, and the charm of this quaint little town was magic enough to leave a lasting impression. The steep cliffs, the soaring seagulls, the cobbled, crowded streets, the smell of vinegar carried by the ocean breeze, the fishing boats in the harbor with lobster pots lining the docks and most especially, the feel of warm sunshine on our faces in mid January, was certainly enough to restore me to good humour and to be nestled away for future reminiscence.

We browsed in a few shops where the kids got some post cards, bought some penny candy and then we dashed back up the 199 stairs (okay, trudged) to catch the bus to head down the coast to Scarborough. Think Atlantic City, only seedier. And Victorian. With surfing (sorry Bill, with no camera, you'll just have to imagine it). We were told however, that the best ice cream comes from this town, so in case anyone ever asked us for an ice cream reference, we thought we better try it. Delicious. Not as sweet as American or Canadian, but much, much creamier.

We boarded the bus once again for the return trip, nodding off along the way. Wind blown, sun kissed with wonderful memories dancing in our heads.

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