Day three got off to a good start. I woke up feeling better, my room mate hadn’t disturbed me, the breakfast was good (even the sausages that I’d said I didn’t want) and it wasn’t raining.
I picked up the car from outside Whitley Bay Comrades Club, where the balloons were still flying from the night before, set up the satnav and let my little Smartie take me on my way….
The only problem with a satnav is when it gives you a choice of routes, and you’ve no way of checking which is the best. I went for the quickest, and didn’t realise till I was well on my way that it involved the dreaded Tyne Tunnel Toll yet again. This time I would be prepared.
At the first red light I unzipped my purse and peered in. Two £2 coins, a few coppers, a 20p and a 10p, not the £1.70 I was hoping for. Not to be daunted, I swung into the next garage, bought just enough petrol to get me the right change from a £20 note, extracted the £1.70 and put it in the coin holder by the steering wheel. Smugly, I drove towards the toll booth and threw in the coins. £1.50 registered. ’20p’ flashed up on the screen. I glanced in the mirror at the growing queue behind me and scrabbled desperately in the coin holder for the missing 20p. It wasn’t there. I knew I’d thrown the correct money into the scoop. A car hooted behind me. Angrily, I grabbed a £2 coin from my purse and threw it in. The barrier lifted and little Smartie edged forward. Tyne Tunnel 1: Jill nil.
I thought Whitby would be small and compact and easily accessible. It wasn’t. It took me three circuits of the town, two bridge crossings and four tours of packed car parks before I finally found a space and headed off with the trusty cameras.
Much as I loved Whitby’s quaintness it wasn’t really what I’d been expecting – yes, it was picturesque, yes, it had some interesting little shops (which I sailed past with only a quick glance – today was all about pictures, not purchases) and yes, it had boats and seagulls and crammed together houses. Maybe it was all the tourists that put me off.
Despite the filling breakfast, I knew I had to sample fish and chips in Whitby. It was an entertaining meal as the couple behind me were obviously in the early stages of a relationship. I lived through his divorce with him, his sadness and anger at the loss of his dogs (his ex wanted them even though she NEVER walked them, and then he went to pick the kids up one day and the dogs were gone. The ex had got rid of them. Cue long, significant pause) Meanwhile, it was obvious to me that the woman just wasn’t interested. In him or his divorce. She was making comments that subtly sided with the ex. Unfortunately he didn’t realise and ploughed on. I left before she’d given him a decision on whether she would join him on holiday. My guess is no.
Back to the car and three more tours of the car park in an effort to get out, finally following a large sign which stated unequivocally, NO EXIT THIS WAY. There was.
Next stop Scarborough, where I was anxious to check that my pre booked Airbnb was still available after messages from me had gone unanswered. Following the Satnav I found myself in an area that I can only describe as ‘dossy’. It was a square of grand houses that had seen far, far better days. Every front garden was full of rubbish – broken tables, chairs, bottles, cans, fag ends – and amidst the rubbish were pairs of scruffy looking men, smoking and looking menacing. My heart sank, and I actually felt quite intimidated. I thought about some of the less salubrious areas of Blackpool and decided I could cope with my own familiar run down areas, but not these in a strange town.
Being the sort of person who never lets anyone down I decided I’d just have to grit my teeth and stay the one night I’d booked. Stepping over broken glass, I approached the front door with trepidation. There was no doorbell or knocker, only a keypad whose code I wasn’t privy to. Feeling eyes boring into my back I knocked. There was no answer. I walked back to the car, sent a message cancelling my booking, and desperately searched for another room. Which is how I ended up feeling like I’d stepped back into Reidy Street when I arrived at my hastily booked room to find half eaten spaghetti hoops on the table, four naked children running around the house, their dad watching footie and mum apologising for the chaos. It’s a shared bathroom, there’s no lock on the door, and I need to be out by 7 in the morning as that’s when they go to work. I don’t care, it’s clean, warm and safe.
I’m now laid on the bed, surrounded by empty yogurt pots, cuppa soup packets, laptop, phone and cameras. I’m shattered from an afternoon being shown around Scarborough by a lovely couple who volunteered through my Kickstarter campaign.
The McFlurry that kept me going……I must be feeling better
Tomorrow I’m homeward bound where I’m going to upload images, prepare for Road Trip part two and sleep. For a long time.