That’s right, instead of Key West, we visited the North Yorkshire Coast for our annual holiday, which actually included a walk. Yes, a real live walk, complete with walking poles and a haversack.
For a blog about trekking in Nepal, the observant amongst you will have noticed a distinct lack of anything Nepalese or related to trekking in recent months. It’s mainly been due to that virus that’s been going around.
A small, but perfectly formed former fisherman’s cottage was our home for the week in the quaint fishing village of Staithes, just sixteen miles north of Whitby (famous for the ruined Abbey, Dracula’s landing place, Whitby Jet and the best fish and chips in the universe).
Our cottage was eminently instagram able, complete with Smeg oven, cosy blankets and fluffy duvets. It did however, suffer from being sandwiched between two slightly derelict cottages that had retained their hovel authenticity from the turn of the last century and a surfeit of extremely vocal nesting seagulls.
Ever Patient Husband lost his patience with the gulls and could be heard at 4am muttering about his shotgun and stuffing pieces of bread with bicarbonate of soda which is apparently a reliable method for ‘getting rid of’ unwanted birds. It’s best not to ask how he knows this.
I suggested he wear the ear plugs that had been thoughtfully provided by the owners of the cottage so he felt slightly less murderous in the mornings.
”Let’s go for a long walk.” I offered as a way to distract him from the screeching gulls, with all the enthusiasm of a character from Enid Blighton’s ‘Famous Five’ novels. In my head I imagined delicious artisan sandwiches, homemade lemonade and gingham picnic cloths artfully draped on a sandy beach in the sunshine as we sat lazily together hand in hand watching our Youngest Daughter frolic in the azure blue sea.
Then I remembered we were in Yorkshire, so I made cheese and pickle butties, stuffed some biscuits into our backpack cool bag, grabbed the picnic blanket that has seen better days and which to my knowledge has never been washed, hence the array of dubious stains, donned our walking gear and set off to the trek the three and a half miles from Staithes to Runswick Bay.
”Why can’t we just take the car?” Enquired Youngest Daughter hopefully with the tiniest hint of whining. She’s eleven and is on the cusp of thinking that everything her parents do is boring or weird. She occasionally loves us, but the spontaneous moments of affection for us are moving further and further apart. For the most part, she thinks we are just plain stupid.
”Because we’re going for a family walk.” I replied, then added, with emphasis “and it will be lovely.”
Ever Patient Husband had disappeared during the picnic making activity part of the morning and magically reappeared when I had finished packing all the bags, so I made him carry the heaviest one.
I have to admit that the day went rather well. We happily walked to Runswick Bay in the Yorkshire sunshine, said ‘hello’ to fellow walkers and spent a rather enjoyable afternoon watching Youngest Daughter turn an interesting shade of hypothermic blue as she frolicked in the North Sea. There was even a cafe serving socially distanced tea, coffee and ice cream which made the whole affair bordering on the idyllic.
On the way back to our designer fisherman’s cottage we stopped at the pub at the top of the village in Staithes and ate large quantities of chips and sea food before turning in for the night, happy, smug with our achievements and flushed with Yorkshire sunshine. Pip and I have a grown up walk planned for August, so watch this space....
Ever Patient Husband reached a significant milestone whilst we were away and as previously mentioned, we were supposed to be at Hawkes Bay Resort on the Florida Keys to celebrate his fiftieth birthday, but found ourselves at a loose end in an old fishing village where time had stopped still about 100 years ago wondering how we were going to celebrate this momentous occasion.
”Mum!” I sighed inwardly, knowing that there was a request coming from Youngest Daughter that would either involve cash or playing a board game.
”My friend Sarah told me there is a Go Ape near here. Can we go?”
EPH and I looked at each other with mild terror in our eyes. For those of you who don’t know, Go Ape is a fun-filled activity which involves clipping yourself to trees, fifty feet in the air and dangling on wires and ropes as you attempt to walk in a dignified manner across tightropes, rickety wooden rope bridges with huge gaps in them and then launch yourself into tarzan nets and then throw yourself down death defying zipwires.
It’s such fun.
A quick interweb search found that the nearest Go Ape was in fact only forty five minutes away from our John Lewis infused abode and the only date they had available was EPH’s birthday.
“Do you want to do Go Ape on your fiftieth birthday darling?” I asked, secretly hoping he would put his foot down and say how ridiculous it was to expect a man of his age to dangle fifty feet in the air off a tree.
”Yeah, that would be great. What else are we going to be doing?” Came his unexpected reply.
”Oh, I don’t know....” I thought. “Sitting in a five star luxury resort sipping negronis and whilst you wait for your next indulgent spa treatment perhaps.” I said to myself.
”You’re right darling. Let’s do it.” I said out loud.
We arrived at our allotted time and I quickly realised I was poorly dressed for the occasion as Ms Fit repleat in her Lululemon outfit bounced around with her equally well prepared be-lycra‘d offspring making eye contact with me as I shuffled uncomfortably in my boyfriend jeans, baggy jumper with lots of opportunity to catch it on ropes, sticky out metal bits and the moving wheel thing we had to attach to each zipwire as we launched ourselves off narrow platforms (did I mention they were fifty feet in the air?). She’d even tied her hair back. The nice instructor man child called Will who was about nine years old, suggested I tie my hair back too lest I find myself hooked into the moving wheel thing as I whizzed across the forest canopy.
It took my right back to school where my physical prowess was constantly under scrutiny during PE lessons and found wanting, particularly by the overtly aggressive hockey girls who I spent most of my time running away from.
Rather than explain what happened dear reader, I have chosen to be terribly modern and upload a video. This is a first for the Bec and Pip blog and in no way constitutes a shift to modernity, but offers you a brief insight into my baby gnu prowess that Pip often comments upon
As the video loads, I leave you with one other thought this week:
EPH persuaded us to go fishing. He’d booked us onto the local fishing boat slash bathtub which was skippered by a proper salty sea dog, complete with yellow wellies and orange boiler suit. We were to be fishing for mackerel and since it was only a two hour trip, I felt my stomach would be up to it.
There were six blokes, myself and Youngest Daughter on the trip. I won. That’s it. I caught the most fish. Ha ha. Stick that in your “I’ve fished for Scotland“ pipe and smoke it EPH. It’s the small victories reader that keep us ladies of a certain age going and beating your semi-professional fisherman husband at his own game is a moment I will never let him forget.