Time for a relegation vacation! Norwich is a long way away from Blackpool so it made sense to break up the journey with an impromptu hollibob. Plans began with a stop off in Cleethorpes (where I go every close season anyway for the best fish, chips and gravy in the world) and Lincoln (where we’ve been the last couple of close seasons since we’ve been in different leagues). And somehow this grew into a full week’s holiday. I think Blackpool’s impending relegation may have had a hand in that. So lots of adventures to follow in this seven (SEVEN) part blog. So grab a drink and buckle up…
The Night Before
The night before heading off, we went to Morrisons to buy healthy snackage for the cool bag (Paddington was coming with us to keep me on track). However, halfway round the store, we switched into hollibob mode and I ended up with a Chicken Balti and Tricolour Rice from their takeaway range.
Back home, after demolishing the curry, I decided to think of Future Me and clear the Naughty Cupboard of the chocolate I’d accidentally acquired, courtesy of a Millwall fan who’d brought it to Friday’s match for me.
Now in full on fuck it mode, of course I cracked open a beer to wash all this down.
Whilst all this face-stuffing was going on, we got to the end of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. We’ve been working through the Star Treks in some sort of chronological order, mixed in with whatever is on currently. So we’re totally up to date on Enterprise, Discovery, Picard, Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks. But I was itching to crack on with my favourite Deep Space Nine, so we started with the opening episode tonight as a treat. I loved it and it even helped me to understand the series ending (which I HATED at the time). Anyway, there was a great scene in there about time not being linear which stuck with me (thus proving the theory). More of that very soon in your future (technically my past, but also my future, as I haven’t written about it yet).
Car packed with a week’s worth of clothes, toiletries and drinks and a couple of days worth of snackage, we headed Eastbound around 0730 on Tuesday morning (in good time for the match the following Monday). At 0800 I received a scheduled call from BBC Radio Lancashire, where I wanted to talk about anything but the football but they insisted so I called for the appointment of Stephen Dobbie as manager and some shoring up in the boardroom at Blackpool. Listen from 2’11 here.
With our first stop being Bridlington, I searched for musicians from there for the playlist. Nope. Nowt doing. Well we’re going to Hull tomorrow (not in the car, find out why in Part Two), so let’s cast the net over there. This threw up The Paddingtons (how could I resist?), Joe Longthorne, Roland Gift of Fine Young Cannibals fame and, of course, The Beautiful South. As the journey progressed, we tucked into our snackage (apple and cinnamon overnight oats for me) so didn’t need to stop off for food, on course for a direct run through to Bridlington…
…until I spotted a brown road sign that was too intriguing to drive past…
Who could resist a Deserted Medieval Village? Not us! We weren’t on our usual strict timetable today, allowing us the freedom to veer off to investigate. We followed the brown signs until we finally found a little car park. Here was a sign warning us of a three-quarters-of-a-mile walk to our destination. Now ordinarily that wouldn’t faze us at all. But I really needed a wee. Hmm. Well that couldn’t be helped. I’d survived worse than this (that time with a bellyful of beer on the Leyland & Chorley Seasiders minibus on the gridlocked M5 en route to Bristol City on Balloon Festival weekend).
Our walk took us down the most deserted path I’d ever been down.
‘Do you think those brown signs have been put up by a serial killer? No-one would ever find us here.’
‘Well I suppose they’d find the car. You could go for a wee there? No-one’s around to see. I’ll go and stand over there.’
‘Er I’m not quite that desperate thanks. I’ll try and hang on for a toilet. Maybe there’ll be one at the other end?’
Dear reader, there wasn’t. But, on the bright side, we didn’t get murdered either. Although there were some terrifying HUGE cows that almost had me turning back at one point. They were looking at us as if they’d never seen a human before. Perhaps they hadn’t? It was THAT remote.
Anyway, here’s what we found at the English Heritage site.
There was a graveyard at the rear of the church which was both haunting and inspiring. My mind returned to the concept of non-linear time. This village and its inhabitants were no longer here – and yet we were here sharing a space with the remains (and the spirits?) of those who had once lived here.
Right! That’ll do. Back to the car and onwards to a loo post haste!
It was an uphill walk back but hills don’t faze me like they used to. For the last 12 months we’ve been in training on the treadmill at the gym, walking on an incline. Now I rarely notice when I’m walking uphill. The big test would follow on Saturday (Day Five) when we’d face Steep Hill in Lincoln.
Happily, there was a WC sign not far away once we’d set back off in the car. This led us to a log cabin in a picnic area.
Now comfortable again, we continued our journey to the first scheduled stop of the day, passing signs for surely-made-up places such as Wetwang and Thwing.
We were here today in an attempt to tick something off my bucket list.
Puffins are the cutest little things and I’ll confess I can’t quite believe they’re a real thing. I mean, look at their beaks. I’ve wanted to see puffins for years and that’s what we were here to do today.
I got chatting to one of the hosts from RSPB, who told me where to look for puffins – and also dolphins, which often swim by here.
We headed out to the recommended viewing points for the puffins. And blimey there were a LOT of birds on these cliffs.
It was amazing being by actual cliffs. Being from a beach resort – and mainly visiting the same on our travels – it’s easy to forget there are cliffs on our coast. The RSPB guides told us that half a million birds come here to nest every year. It really was an awe-inspiring spectacle watching thousands of birds swooping in and out to sea. This was nature and it was beautiful and strangely peaceful despite the cacophany of calls.
The little puffins were notoriously tricky to spot – but spot some we did, with the aid of local spotters. The first we saw flying back in from the sea, feeding its family through a tiny crevice in the cliff. The second we saw through a well-positioned telescope. This little dude was posturing on the spot for such a long time (EVERYONE was having a gander through the telescope) that we began to wonder if it was really there at all or if there was a little film rolling at the the of the telescope to keep the tourists and twitchers happy.
We could have stayed here for hours but we were getting hungry now so made our way back to the car, via the gift shop.
But there’s one thing we always look out for in gift shops – and we found TWO versions here. This was the one we bought.
Now it was time for the short drive to Bridlington. We checked into our AirBNB, tucked into more food from our cool bag and played Top Trumps before heading out to explore Brid.
But now it was time for a
beer meal so we were heading for a place I’d hunted down via the CAMRA GBG app.
After a generous glug of mild I was ready to consider the menu.
Paddington ordered me the chilli from the main menu.
Sorry, Paddington, I was that famished, I did tuck into some of the nachos (and Lee’s chips) but I didn’t touch the green stuff.
I quickly guzzled a second pint of mild before conducting a loo review.
Well that was a pleasant – and much-needed – interlude. I’ll confess I was ready for bed by this point (we’d done a LOT of walking today) but there was more of Brid to discover. Martin had recommended visiting the Old Town, so we headed off in that direction.
There were tulips EVERYWHERE in Brid. The birds were very tame. And the shops were unusual.
It had been another long walk into the Old Town so of course it was time for a little sit down in a pub.
This is one of those pubs that I simply can’t resist. We entered the courtyard underneath the pub sign. The entrance to the pub was on the right.
I opted for the Wonky Donkey because it was the local beer and the one I hadn’t tried before.
We sat outside because it was a mild evening and there was plenty to look at out here.
The music from the excellent pub jukebox was piped out here and we found ourselves singing along to some Beautiful South numbers.
Before leaving I conducted a loo review.
Woah there – what’s this? This wasn’t on my radar.
I cursed the CLOSED sign but scurried over anyway because I needed to know more.
I scuttled over to the door to check the opening hours. I was not going to miss out on this beer. Hmm. It was open 12-5 tomorrow but we’d be in Hull at that time. Well, there was nothing else for it – we’d have to delay our departure on Thursday to be here for opening so I could pick up some bottles to take away. Hurrah for not having a rigid timetable to stick to!
Meanwhile I was actually heading for the micropub round the corner.
When I spotted the above sign, I was convinced not only that non-linear time was an actual thing but that we had, in fact, died at some point today. I mean, come on, when had we last seen our flexible friend Access? It’s been defunct since 1996. No way was this still a thing.
On our arrival back at our AirBNB (very nice, by the way, with two bathrooms), the apartment was FREEZING. I ramped up the heaters and boiled the kettle before retiring to bed with a brew and (oops!) these biscuits that had been kindly left for us by our hostess.
All in all, it had been a very odd and tiring day but what a great start to our week’s adventures. I’d ticked puffins off my bucket list; we’d time-travelled from medieval times to, er, the 1980s; I’d found an unexpected brewery tap; and the 23,903 steps walked meant I felt not a shred of guilt scoffing half a pack of cookies in bed. Happy days. Join me for Part Two when the time-travelling continues and we receive some good news…
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Next Up: Far East Tour: Day Two – Bridlington & Hull.