And we're back!
I left Yorkshire and its fabulous reefs a couple of weeks ago and headed south, though not before meeting two mad night cyclists, Jim and Carl, at The Hart Inn in Sandsend (until recently the wife-swapping centre of Yorkshire, apparently. As I don't have a wife to swap, I just had a couple of beers.)
Jim invited me to Sunday lunch a couple of days later, with his lovely wife Lisa (who is far too nice to swap). I repaid them by not recognising them when they turned up at my place (well, the car park where I had been sleeping all week). That's gratitude for you. Alas, I didn't get a photo.
I headed south, via a quick coffee with my god-parents, who greeted my unannouced appearance with admirable equanimity and hospitality.
Actually I had to make my own coffee. In the van. So maybe their legendary hospitality isn't what it was. Or perhaps I've blotted my copybook (I knew I should have been more assiduous with my thankyou letters). Though the fact their aga was being replaced might have had something to do with it.
I duly saw Karen off at the airport. I would post a photo of her at the departure gate, but an Officious Official (the best sort) insisted I delete it. So I deleted the one that was out of focus. And kept the other one. I would post it here, but I'd probably be arrested, if the O.O. was to be believed.
(Brief mini-rant: I can't understand the prohibition of photography in places like airports and even underground stations. If you're a terrorist intent on blowing up public places, there are plenty of ways to photograph them surreptitiously. Any terrorist who can't work out how to conceal a camera is probably going to struggle with assembling a bomb. Meanwhile we have the draconian regulations restricting photography that used to apply in the Eastern bloc thirty years ago - and which used to be the source of both disbelief and mirth.)
In an unrelated incident, I went undercover to photograph Victoria station.I was en route to a party.
It's just a shame it wasn't a fancy dress party.
But if you're wondering where to get a pith helmet in sunny Hertford, the answer is Ken Weeks. They're almost de rigeur in Hertfordshire these days, I hear:
After ten days of easy-living, central heating and running water among lily-livered Southerners (and a Scot), it was time to hit the road again. I was tempted to head straight for Norfolk, but something was calling me back to Yorkshire. And it certainly wasn't the weather.
I arrived last night, delighted to be back on the road. To celebrate, today I managed to surf twice, in an attempt to shrug off my idle Southern ways. Actually I had just decided not to bother with the first session, at the North Bay in Scarborough, but Morgan, a local lad I met at Sandsend a couple of weeks ago, turned up, and I didn't want to look like a Southern wimp. Unfortunately, though, it turned out to be gutless on-shore slop, and as the tide came in, any latent power was dissipated against the sea wall. But after two weeks down South, it was just great to be in the water. A wave's a wave. Even when it's small, brief and gutless.
In the afternoon, I headed over to Caton Bay (the famous Bunkers). The forecast is for the swell to grow over the week, but I'm beginning to learn that it's better to have a decent surf now than wait for a great surf tomorrow - it usually doesn't materialise. A board in the hand is worth two in the mush, or something. And it was great - shoulder high on the sets, mostly clean, and with a gentle off-shore keeping it smooth and glassy.
All in all, it's been a great return to Yorkshire. It's just a shame about the rain. And tonight's forecast. 2º. Not ideal in a van that has already reverted to its damp status quo. The only solution is, like now, to take refuge in a pub with a real open fire, of which there are plenty. They even have a local beer named after a local break, North Bay. And it's a similar colour.