Sunday, 2 August 2015

Whitby day 6

Day trip to Scarborough, of which I have fond but vague memories from my visit with a bunch of mates around ten years ago, mainly involving the inside of pubs but also wandering around the Victorian gardens, albeit late at night and pissed.

Following recommendations from friends we visited Peasholme Park, an unreconstructed relic from the days when people went for a "constitutional" and philanthropic industrialists built parks and open spaces to improve the health of the workers in 't mill. Themed around the Willow Pattern (?) the park is all cartoonish renditions of Chinese lanterns, dragons and pagodas. And very nice it is too - the place was spotless and everyone we spoke to seemed really friendly and happy.

You can hire pedalos and the like to drift around the central island - not exactly Joseph's usual white water kayaking - and Gerry set his heart on a rowing boat. A tense discussion ensued about who wanted which type of craft and who would have to sit next to who etc., and after determining that I could only satisfy all demands by taking a boat of each type and cloning myself, cut short the negotiation and opted for a single rowing boat large enough for all of us. I propelled us out into the lake, and we then spent 10 minutes rotating on the spot while Gerry tried unsuccessfully to move both oars in the water at the same time. Michael then took a turn, enduring tutting and corrective comments from Joseph, who sharp changed his tune when it was his turn and found how tricky it was, given the silly little oars that didn't stay in the gunwale pins (thanks Pete). Yes that's how it's spelled.

Gratefully disembarking, thoughts turned to... yes, food. Tripadvisor recommended North Bay Fisheries for the inevitable comestibles, but this is a chippy with seating only in the form of wind-blasted picnic tables on the concrete slab patio out front. We opted instead for a nearby café called "The Coffee Bean", a name suggesting coffee made from real coffee beans as exotic and a bit posh; undaunted we entered but our suspicions were confirmed: a 1970's time capsule, all PVC tablecloths and plastic palms. Actually it wasn't bad at all - the service and grub were nice and it was a bit of a throwback to friendly tea rooms of yore, although Michael was clearly deeply uncomfortable with all this 'old stuff' and looked like he was sucking a lemony thistle with wasps on it.

Strolling back to the car park around the lake, Joseph starting winding Gerry up and some cap-misfrisbeeing reoccurred, this time with the expected consequence: cap in lake. Exasperated, I ordered J to find a stick and/or wade in, but the aforementioned public friendliness was evidenced by some lads in a passing pedalo paddling to the rescue.

The afternoon's main entertainment was the Scarborough Fair Museum, which annoyingly isn't actually in Scarborough but in a holiday park a few miles down the coast. Arriving at what looked like an industrial estate adjoining a golfer's gulag, we paid in apprehensively. The entrance lobby is filled with comedy distorted mirrors which gave the boys some big laughs, although I thought one or two of them improved my appearance.

Entering the main building, dismayed to find a large dancehall half-filled with old folk dancing almost motionlessly to turgid music played by a bloke on one of several Wurlitzers. Looking around for something to justify the entrance fee, spotted a barrel organ which Gerry started winding furiously. The unexpectedly loud music that ensued drowned out the organist asking over the PA for us to desist while the dancing was on, but a grumpy old lady charged up and stopped G in his tracks. Our card was marked.

Round the corner another room was filled with an impressive array of vintage cars and a large fairground carousel. There was also one of these street organ things you used to see at fairs, a lorry-sized contraption covered in pneumatically operated instruments. I gawped at this, but the gawp was slightly less when seeing the next one, and the next, and the next... This was a *collection*, borne of mild mental disease.

The last room thankfully contained a group of actual fairground rides, you know the sort: old oily-looking machines apparently made from old packing cases and food tins, the excitement chiefly arising from a lack of confidence in the mechanical wherewithal/motivation of the grubby proprietor rather than the design of the ride itself. The boys had a thrilling ride on one of those things where the cars/bikes/horses hurtle round at breakneck speed moving up and down as they go; the operator said it was only running at quarter speed due to children being on board (!?).

After navigating the "cake walk", they all had a go on the dodgems. Apparently you're not supposed to bump the cars into the crash barriers around the edges, or so another angry old bag ranted at Michael - clearly word had gone out that there were some troublesome types in the building.

After a go on the Ghost Train - crashing through plywood doors, dangly things hitting your face, klaxon going off behind your head, strobe, UV light etc. (Gerry: "That wasn't scary AT ALL") we rounded off the day on the Caterpillar, an antique Edwardian death trap; again you bomb around and up and down, but this time you're entombed by a stinky canvas canopy giving the impression of being in the intestine of a large animal bounding over the Serengeti.

Tea: pasta and sauce, note not Pasta'n'Sauce.

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