Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Whitby day 3

Culture 'n' that. Planned a visit to the Whitby Museum and Art Gallery, sited in the middle of Pannett Park, in turn named after the Victorian philanthropist benefactor who felt that those hard-working little trolls from the mines and mills should get some air a bit more often.

After some of the traditional Dunphys rolling down a grassy bank, we spent some time sitting by the lily pond and rock garden, this a clever juxtaposition of nature and artifice, no better articulated than by the discarded hoodie amongst the water-lilies. Joseph attempted to contribute to the ambience by mis-frisbeeing Gerry's cap into the pond, but overshot more due to luck than judgement. Dad rage temporarily averted.

Bored with chilling out, we ascended up to the rather grand-looking museum building. Unfortunately the first rooms encountered contained the (free) art exhibition, and although some of the work was pretty good the boys' tolerance of locally produced landscapes quickly expired and the lure of the play park outside gained dominance; we resolved to come back to see the museum 'on another day' (AKA 'never').

The usual plot then played out: Gerry acquired followers, Joseph wowed some little kids with his prowess on the play equipment (easy when you're taller than me but weigh about half as much) and Michael had a teen angst drama episode, involving lots of Dad-to-son-back-to-Dad lecturing in an adjacent quiet seating area, apparently designed specifically for this purpose.

Exhausted, we sought lunch in an Italian joint, undaunted by its cheesy name ("Cosa Nostra"), the fact that it used to be a church or the lack of any other customers. A good move: the food was good and the proprietor a friendly Italian gent - always pays to use your kids as PR assets in Italian restaurants. Others piled in once they saw us eating; I should have asked him for a finder's fee.

Then came the highlight of Emma's week, and a totally Yorkshire thing to do: shopping in Boyes, purveyor of all things cheap that you didn't think they make any more. Ostensibly looking for some socks for Gerry, we took the opportunity to browse hats, fishing gear, wool and stationery. A strange urge almost took me when I chanced upon a camouflage gilet, unsure whether it was early-onset oldness or a leaning to conspiracy-theory survivalism, but recalling my last holiday dalliance with replica military goods (see final instalment of the 2012 Cornwall blog) I recoiled and moved on.

Returning to the cottage, Joseph offered to make the tea. I gratefully accepted, temporarily forgetting the barrage of questions that would ensue: how much is an ounce? How do you turn this oven on? Do you think these potatoes are done yet? Nevertheless the fisherman's pie was tasty and things always taste better when you don't have to cook them, even if you know that every single cooking utensil will have been used and piled up on every available surface, atop an amalgam of flour, peelings and grated cheese.

Rounded off the day with a game of "Pit" which I'd purchased in a games shop that afternoon, enthusing a little too much about how much fun it had been when I played it as a kid with my family. As I explained the rules to the boys I was overcome with a sense of dread, anticipating a unanimous judgement that "Dad this game is shit, kids must have been really bored in the olden days." My trepidation was unfounded - it was a hoot and even Joseph gave his approval. Points scored and banked, nice one me.

The weather forecast for the following day being "biblical", booked tickets for the North Yorks Moor Railway. More later...

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