Day 22 begins
The sleep beneath the bridge had been less comfortable than I had planned on or had thought it would be. The constant noise of the small waterfall below me had kept me awake half the night. It hadn't rained either so I could have taken the chance to sleep overlooking the beach, but then again, the tent was still dry and maybe I could get around to re-proofing it later, with some of the liquid I had bought in Beverley. It was shortly before 6 am and I couldn't dare have dreamed that anywhere would be open this early, to take a breakfast. I made my way down through the Peasholme park towards the north shore and found incredibly that the public toilets were open for my needs. I then set out towards the beach which I could hear a short distance away.
Incredibly, almost unbelievably there was a cafe open opposite the beach and serving fine cuisine too.The place was very busy with people as well which sort of surprised me. The Watermark Cafe is a fantastic place to sit and listen and watch the world go by, especially at this hour of the day. Paula a lovely waitress full of smiles took my order and I occupied a booth in the window. I fancied a small breakfast and hot tea, tea is a life saver each morning, but it has not been so easily available thus far. Still I count my blessings and today seemed like it would be one of those days too. Like the day before yesterday and the people at Hunmanby Gap.
I got into conversation instantly with a man called Paul Walker. He was a very curious and chatty person, himself a walker who had recently been involved in a sponsored walk of about 42 miles I believe. Sadly I cannot remember where it was exactly (Sorry Paul) but I believe it was in the dales somewhere. Anyway he was very keen to ask about Imagine, the aims and why I had changed my name and things, so we got on like a house on fire. There were also a lot of taxi drivers who came everyday to eat and catch up of a morning before heading out to the station and other jobs. One guy joked that I had been sitting in his seat, and therefore wasn't going to give me a very good response to my enquiries about the better nature and kindness of people from Yorkshire. Of course he was smiling when he said it and everyone found it amusing, again showing how we as a nation do like to have a sense of humour and be jovial in company. I liked the flow of the conversations though I did hear some of what could only be described as racist dialogue, but I am not here to judge only observe and as long as no-one was being directly abused I didn't feel it appropriate to directly involve myself with counselling anyone about political correctness. From what I have seen in my life, racism goes so deep that it cannot be removed with a set of rules, it has to be addressed in another way entirely. And I have no idea why this person who seemed otherwise kind and friendly would be so vocal about others of different skin colour. In some way we are all a bit lenient with racism, but in the main we are trying to stamp it out with every means available, and I don't think that strapping someone down and electrocuting their feet would help.
Paul is a plasterer with his own business and he told me that work is lean at the moment, as it is for most people of the building trades. He has been traveling a few miles to jobs in the hope of keeping afloat and was a man who seemed reasonably content with his lot in life, despite 'economic downturns'. A term created no doubt to avoid people using the horrible expressions that drive panic into people. Terms like job cuts and redundancy and fuel cost rising and house prices falling and bankers bonuses going through the roof....!!!
Hesther the lady from Pickering had put the seed into my mind about visiting the inland town, where there was a castle and a steam train and many nice people, so today I was going to go there by bus. It would have taken me a day to walk each way so better for the moment that I use public transport and have time to see the sight and even meet other interesting people on the way.
My breakfast was delicious and yet even then it was too large for me, so I asked Paula if she could have the toasted bacon sandwich I had made, wrapped to go. She also offered me a few pieces of cake, which was homemade and looked divine. The very courteous Paul paid for my breakfast, and he said that he would check out my ongoing progress as he got in later. I really am being treated very kindly by people from everywhere I go. I hope they don't feel the stories I tell are designed to shame them into like minded offers of kindness. I am just trying to share stories with people that I believe would help give a feel good factor, and then the kindness that they offer will be amongst the cannon of new stories I will pass on. Paul gave me a goodbye handshake and I thanked him for his generosity and his wealth of information shared during our chat. Another really great person to add to my list of doers of kindness.
Paula came over a few times between serving others to ask me things, and I felt that she would have also been a great source of local information had it not been that she had had to work. I find it a bit awkward that I want to chat with some people but also realise that they have other things to do, unlike me at the moment. This is why I aim to walk with people as the main focus for learning, because in spending so much time in these other pursuits, I could gain a much deeper understanding of people and their lives and other related subjects. Not that I don't love the random nature of just chatting briefly with people, I do, but I hope that you get my meaning about the relationship with not having work to do and real concentration on getting to know someone.
I thanked Paula who has an amazing smile and clear blue eyes and then left to climb the hill towards the station on the other side of town. She wished me well and off I went.
I was wondering what to do about the fact that last night I was quite cold in my tent, and that the old tent was becoming a liability, having outlived its watertight threshold and serviceability. From the corner of my eye I caught sight of a shop full of the delights to a walker like myself. Crag and Moor was a cavern of special equipment and an assistant called Matthew came to inquire of my needs. He showed me several sleeping bags, all good quality, but my main concerns are firstly warmth, secondly weight, as I have to carry it and then of course cost. The one I wanted was of course one of the dearest, a hundred pounds. Then the tents, again there are several cost efficient versions, but the weight issue being a constant concern made me look seriously at the Vango Banshee 200, which was again above a hundred pounds. Now the twenty quid tent from Sports Direct had done me proud these past few weeks, but now I was seriously considering the more long term options and the fact that in Scotland I might need to be a bit more protected from the weather at night. I eventually decided not to choose just yet as I was still going to be here till at least tomorrow.
Matthew came up with a great second option, he invited me to stay at his apartment tonight and then I could decide in the morning. I was grateful of his kind offer and he took my number to contact me later and show me to his place. He would be out climbing in the afternoon but home later.
When I arrived at the train station, from where the buses also leave, I had missed a bus by a few minutes and the next was over an hour and a half away. I found a little cafe called Cafe Bar/roque on the corner of the main shopping street, and went in for a coffee and to watch the busy tourist town flocked with people now that the rains had stopped for a day now. Just as I was about to leave the cafe a group of ladies came in and sat close to where I was and we got into conversation, mainly because of the size of my bag. When they knew that I was walking all over the United kingdom in the hope of raising money for charity, they all made a donation which I shall pay in as soon as I get a chance to. I was so amazed to see that kindness was not limited to any one part of society, or age group. The ladies, who asked for my card and said that they would check out my project, maybe with the help of a grandchild or two, all gave me a real boost in my aims to help the less fortunate of our world. So a big thank you to, Barbara, Thelma, Eunice, Gabriel and Mavis for your sincere kindness and love.
The bus was on time and there were a lot of people waiting. I waited till last as I had no hurry to get on and besides I didn't want to knock anybody with my bags. I found that the bag storage area on the bus was empty so tipped them there and took the seat next to it, that is normally reserved for disabled or older passengers. At the next stop a woman with a buggie was getting on so I moved so as to give her the spot with room for her child. I had to move now to the rear of the bus where some selfish person had put their feet on the seats and left creamy clay mud on them. I cleaned it off as much as possible, huge lumps of it. Inconsiderate people don't put any thought (precious little) into what harm they do, on the environments of others but we can't execute them for this so we have to love them and try to deal with helping them to learn a new way to integrate with others.
A black guy got onto the bus a few stops along the route and came and sat opposite me as there were few seats left now, the service here well used by the locals. I could see he was traveling light and had places still to go, but I struck up a conversation with him. I was also keen to see how others would accept his being here. I mean that I had not seen any other black people for several days and maybe Yorkshire people are not as used to people with other skin colours here in this particular area. However, my observation was that the majority didn't bat an eyelid and even a few of the other travelers joined in our conversation easily. Two of the other ladies on the bus also knew the 'Famous', Hesther Richardson and I asked that they pass on my thanks and best wishes to her, as it would seem the W.R.V.S. engagement she would have been at would be over now it had moved into the afternoon.
Winston the black guy was a really funny and interesting character. He was full of beans, with plenty to talk about and it was great to listen to someone else who could talk the hind legs off a donkey.... (Only joking Winston) I liked this man from the word go, and found that he had a wealth of inter-actional skills that helped engage easily with others, the other passengers found him delightful too. Our new group of revolutionary reactionaries got down to the heart of several spicy topics and we passed a very pleasant three quarters of an hour, and I hardly saw anything of the countryside. Sadly I didn't have enough opportunity to get the names of the two Yorkshire ladies traveling with us but they were very good company for two random strangers to the area. Winston said that he would look me up as soon as he got back from his next job. He was one of those guys driving hire and lease vehicles to and from customers all over the country. He came from the Birmingham area and loved football as do many people, not me included. He said he was a Manchester United fan, and that he had been to Old Trafford several times. His family came from the Caribbean and he was a first generation member of the United Kingdom having been brought up in the Wolverhampton area. Winston was a kind man and he was so positive towards my project that I felt a kind of kindred spirit here. He called me brother, maybe in that slang terminology kind of a way, but I felt that it was more sincere than that, possibly he saw me as a friend too.
Well my stop came along and we all said our see you laters', and I disembarked into the town of Pickering.
Boy was it a pretty little town, with old stone cottages and buildings with flower baskets overhanging the streets and lots of people milling around. I found the old rail station easily and went on to the platform to have a look at the train waiting there for departure. It looked a bit pricey for my pocket, but I imagine it would be worth every penny to a train enthusiast.
The castle wasn't far away either and a short walk up hill to where the castle and walls stood majestically above the small town. I met with a man called Michael Flynn who was working at the castle and who was himself a keen walker, recently having done the coast to coast. I have heard a lot of people recently talk about this walk, so I have decided that I will continue up on my way through and around Scotland as planned and then go along Hadrian's wall on the way down. Then I shall cross back over to the west coast via the coast to coast walk and that way I can have done both of those too and add some inner country detail as well. If funds allow of course. But well It is another option to see some of the well hiked and amazing scenery of our wonderful lands.
Michael showed me the newly born hatchlings from a Kestral family. And they had some binoculars to view them out in the large open grassed area opposite the nest, which was in the walls of the castle. I had never seen baby birds of prey before, but they were a sight to see. The castle was in very good shape to be fair though few buildings were still standing. I could imaging the goings on of this 12th century dwelling, which had been lived in for a number of centuries down the annuls of time. I never knew that in the beginning they were wooden fortresses, before they changed to stone with moats and drawbridges and every horrible device known to man for defense of their property. I had a very pleasant time here and learned a lot about history from the many story boards to be seen about the old fortress.
The town was equally as interesting with a huge array of architectures from many eras. Few modern buildings could be seen though shop fronts were obviously new and yet there was still a good balance of old and new. I only wish I had been able to meet with Hesther again and thank her personally for her great recommendation. I was not in a rush to get back specifically but I had been offered that bed for the night by the young Matthew from Crag and Moor outdoor pursuits shop. The buses were still running till quite late so I figured I had time to pop in to the Bay Horse for a drink before the bus arrived. I soon got into a conversation with Benny and Jannette from a place north of here who live a simple life, in a small caravan up on a mountain top. It sounded idilic and a wonderful life. They had been together since teenagers, and were recently celebrating their 37th wedding anniversary. We chatted about my adventures and the life they led working on a farm, Benny helping the farmer with several new building projects to earn their keep. I marveled at how I was clearly not the only person seeking a similar type of simple less complicated life. Away from all the mod cons they were incredibly happy and loved the new days looking forward to each with a zeal for new experience. It would sound that they were able to live quite a comfortable life with much less clutter than they had been used to. They made me a very kind gesture towards my ongoing project and I smiled at the love shown and the further proof of the kindness of people towards a stranger.
I don't remember who it was that told me, maybe Michael Flynn the Irish man from the castle, but I had heard that a guy had written a book based on the life of a man who would walk through Ireland, telling stories as he went. He earned his food and loggings by doing this all around Ireland, as it would appear that back in history, before people traveled that these story tellers were almost revered as men of good character who brought news of the outside world and created magic in old communities. I kind of likened this in a way to the way in which I was constantly re-telling about the adventures I was having and the wonderful characters I was meeting.
I completely missed the bus and had to wait for the next but the joy of good conversation was worth every missed bus. In time I made effort to leave as the evening was drawing in. We said our farewells and I set out for the bottom of the hill and the bus stop. When I arrived I got into conversation with a guy that had just left the pub too and had overheard my conversation with Benny and Jannette. Tony a local man, was equally keen to ask about the walk and why I would be walking the whole of the United Kingdom in such appalling weathers. I was pleased that even inadvertently I was reaching people of all ages and from a wide range of areas and towns. Maybe this was the evolution of IMAGINE taking place before my eyes. My bus arrived and I needed to catch this one, but my new conversational partner didn't seem to mind a break in the chat. He waved me off and I thought what a great and entertaining day this had proved to be, despite not having really walked very far.
On the bus home there were few passengers and I got a chance to see all that I had missed on the journey here, embroiled in dialogue with all and sundry. I wondered if Winston had made his pickup and was on his way home yet.
On the way back into Scarborough there seemed to be a huge police vehicular presence approaching the town. I saw a field packed with traveler caravans and saw that a lot of horses were being drive out on the roads, pulling their passengers in open crude buggies. Gypsies were in town in their hundreds. (Well just out of town actually)
Finally off the bus I walked down to the harbour and waited for the call from Matt. He did call to say that he would come and collect me as it would be easier to do that than explain exactly were he was. We bought some food and sat chatting for a while in front of the harbour.
He had a penthouse flat with great views of the town somewhere high in the hills above Scarborough. He was a keen outdoor enthusiast, Kayaking Cycling and Rock Climbing particularly. He seemed to have a lot of gear for all those pursuits. It was getting on so we chatted briefly before retiring for the night. He had to be up for work tomorrow and so we cut the conversation reasonably short. It felt great to be off the floor and in a bed for a change.
And so day 22 came to an end, warm and dry.