Where has the year gone?

You’d think with all the to-ing and fro-ing between Home and Harrogate we’d done over the previous months, that when my mum’s house sale was finalised, and the dreaded drive up the M42/M1/M18/A1 motorways were behind us, we’d choose a different direction for a holiday.


T had decided I needed a holiday, the last year had been a stressful time to say the least, so after arriving home on 19th June, he booked us onto a campsite for a week from 24th June.

We’d had a glorious week at this site in May 2012 that had left us with some wonderful memories –

Yes, anyone who has read my blog will realise this was Whitby Holiday Park, and yes, it meant another dreaded M42/M1/M18/A1 again – but I’d got to the stage I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do anymore, I didn’t want to go on holiday and I didn’t want to stay at home.

I know T had meant well when he booked the holiday, he knew how much I’d enjoyed it before and he also knew how I’d felt my Yorkshire roots had been severed when I finally pulled the door to on my mums house, which is why he’d decided on Whitby.

The 24th arrived, but I still couldn’t summon up any enthusiasm for the holiday, I felt as if I was trapped in a bubble, so apart from putting my clothes in the motorhome, T did everything else. IMG_0401_1 Four hours later we pulled into the holiday park.

Everything looked exactly as it was the day we left in 2012, even the sun was shinning as it was then, my mind immediately drifted back to Jasper, had his spirit joined us I wondered.

This holiday followed almost the same pattern as our previous visit, though we didn’t venture offsite with the van this time.

The walk down onto Saltwick Bay was easier, as both Sal and Cindy took the steep slope down in their stride. IMG_0409_1 Looking down to Saltwick Nab from the Cleveland Way footpath. IMG_4990_1 We walked into Whitby a couple of times, along the Cleveland Way. IMG_4994_1 Parked just outside Whitby Abbey, this was just screaming out to have it’s photograph taken, an old series ll/llA Land Rover ice cream van 🙂 IMG_4997_1 A monument to Captain James Cook, b.1728, the famous Yorkshire Explorer looks out over Whitby harbour.

On the Saturday we decided to visit the picturesque fishing village of Staithes.

So another walk into Whitby along the clifftop, then down through the town to the bus station.

Im sure every dog and his person had decided to do the same thing, I counted seven dogs (with their people obviously) waiting in the queue with us.

It was certainly worth the trip, as I got my first ‘Big Hairy Dog’ fix while sat outside the Cod and Lobster pub, from an enormous German Shepherd Husky cross.

This dog could moult for England, and after a ten minute cuddle, he had donated most of his coat to me, the rest was floating around the harbour  like snow 😮 IMG_2075_1 Staithes Harbour. The Cod and Lobster is the cream building in the centre of the photo. IMG_5002_1 An artist at work in the harbour. IMG_0402_1 We were treated to the wonderful east coast sunsets again, and by the end of the holiday, I’d started to unwind a bit, typically, just in time to go back home.


A month later we were packing the motorhome again for another holiday revisit.

This time it was Charmouth in Dorset.

I had bitter sweet memories of this holiday, last year as it had been Jasper’s last holiday, so I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or not. Last year’s holiday site was fully booked sowe’d decided on another one just outside Charmouth. IMG_2150 A beautiful well maintained site, but a major drawback with its location.

We usually hook the motorhome up, then either walk or use public transport to get about. We knew we were a couple of miles from the beach via road, but had hoped there may have been a shortcut via a footpath, but no such luck, and the nearest bus stop was over a mile away.

The walk wouldn’t have bothered T and me, but the temperature was in the 30’s and Little Sal, who had recently been diagnosed with kidney disease, had slowed down considerably.

So the next day, we unhooked the motorhome and set off for Charmouth

Could things get any worse, our holiday last year had been in June, and we’d spent some quality time on the beach with the dogs, but here we were, confronted with big signs everywhere NO DOGS allowed on the beaches July and August.

We went for a short walk along the cliff path, but both dogs were struggling, so we went back down and sat on the grass at the edge of the River Char.

IMG_5051_1 Looking down at the dog UNfriendly beach.

Luckily Michelle our elder daughter and Louis her son, had arranged to join us later in the week, so the next day we decided to just chill on the site.

Michelle arrived on the Friday morning.

After enquiring at the reception for the location of a dog friendly beach, we all piled into her car and set off for Eype. No wonder this was dog friendly, there was hardly any in sand in sight, it was full of big pebbles. Great for an athletic young dog, but not for a tiny Yorkie, who kept falling between the pebbles. Poor Sal was struggling to keep her footing too, so we called it a day and went to the pub.

Louis wanted to go onto the beach, so the next day, T stayed onsite with Sal and Cindy, and Michelle, Louis and I went down to Charmouth. IMG_5053_1 Louis befriended a young boy with a dingy, so at least someone enjoyed their holiday.

The next day we left the site early to go home. We decided August would be a no for holidays, so the next revisit was West Runton.


Laburnum Holiday Park really has made a mark on our holiday destinations. This was out third visit and it certainly won’t be our last.

This site is a perfect location. Five minutes walk into the village of West Runton, where there is a regular bus service into Sherringham, Cromer or further afield if you wish. IMG_5091_1 Pitched on the clifftop overlooking the North Sea. Just across the tarmac and standing at the fence…… IMG_5115_1 …..this was the view. IMG_5146_1 A ten minute amble and we were on the glorious Norfolk beaches, where, if the tide is out, it is possible to walk into Sherringham or Cromer.

We did the walk into Sherringham three times, catching the bus back to the village to save Little Sal tiring too much. IMG_5151_1   An amazing Trompe l’oeil on the seafront at Sherringham, depicting the crab fisherman for which the area is famous. IMG_5152_1 This was a puzzling sight on Sherringham beach. Had the sea lined up all the pebbles in a straight line, or perhaps it was the sea fairies.

The sun shone the whole week, we ate some good food, drank some good wine, and came home feeling rejuvenated.

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Here are a few more photos, from what is fast becoming my favourite holiday location.

Little did I know, it was going to be Little Sal’s last beach holiday 😦


Britain’s wEaST coast

Confused about the title? Ha!, let me explain.

We’ve just spent another week away in our motorhome, on the westerly coast of eastern Britain at a place called Hunstanton in Norfolk.

According to wiki…….Hunstanton is an east coast town but faces west and is one of the few places on the east coast in England where the sun can be seen to set over the sea.

This was our third holiday on the east coast since buying our motorhome, first was Whitby, Yorkshire, where the sun set over the sea, the second was at West Runton, Norfolk, where the sun set over the sea. Hmm?? Hunstanton, where the sun sets over the sea. It appears we’ve clocked up a 100% record of these ‘few places’ so far. 😀

We set off on the beautiful sunny Sunday of September 9th, arriving in Hunstanton around 15.00hrs. I’d previously checked on Google maps, the location of the nearest supermarket for our provisions, so we called in to collect what we needed.

T, not too impressed at me filming him after doing the shopping 😉

The campsite, which was almost opposite the supermarket, was enormous, extremely well equipped, and more like a small village with its own supermarket, take aways, cafes, bars, pools etc. It looked a tad too commercialised for our liking, but once we had found our allocated pitch, which, at the far end of the site was over 400 metres from the main hub of things, we realised we’d cracked it again. In fact we were closer to the beach, which was just a short walk away, than we were to the reception.

Once we’d sited the van, our main priority was to give Sal and Jasp a good walk, so following the beach signs, we set off, to find…..

…..another stunning Norfolk beach.

Whenever we find a beautiful beach, we always expect to find a ‘NO DOGS’ sign, but dogs were allowed for as far as the eye can see along this stretch.

Monday we decided to walk along the prom into the town of Hunstanton, which was in the opposite direction to the photo above.

The town of Hunstanton, which was very popular in Victorian times, has a lovely open and uncluttered feel to it, this pic was taken near the seafront.

This area of The Wash, is known to be extremely windy, and it was certainly living up to its reputation. The walk into the town was easy, aided by the wind. We had a coffee, then wandered around the sheltered streets for an hour or so, before deciding to head back.

The sheltered town had lulled us into thoughts of a nice leisurely stroll back along the prom, but now walking into the wind, we found ourselves being sand blasted, turning to check why Sal and Jasp had almost come to a standstill, it became obvious that we couldn’t walk back the same way we’d come, Jasp was looking extremely streamlined with the wind, and was trying to peer out through slits where his eyes were, and Sal was trying to take refuge by burying her head into his tail. So we headed back into the town, finding an alternate route back along the roads to the site.

I was quite dismayed to wake in the early hours to rain thundering down on the roof, and a howling wind rocking the van. I jumped out of bed, peered out of the window to check on the dogs day tent and the wind break, half expecting to see them wrapped around the nearby trees. They were bowing quite well in the wind, but there was no way I was going outside to take them down, so returning to bed, I pulled the quilt over my head, and lay there for a while imagining searching the site in the morning for them.

The next thing I knew, was T pulling back the roof blind, to reveal a glorious blue sky.

“Are the wind break and tent still there?” I asked.

Yes, why? he replied, rather puzzled. After explaining the night’s dramatic storm, it turns out he’d slept through the whole lot 🙄

This shouldn’t have surprised me, as many years ago, when we had a 4.8 earthquake, centred around Dudley (about 20 miles away) he’d slept through that too.

It wasn’t long before we were down on the beach again with the sun beaming down, though the temperature had dropped considerably from previous days’ in the 20’s down to 15c. The wind (yes it was still blowing) made it feel more like 10c.

A rare decent photo of me with Sal and Jasp, the steps run the full length of the prom. Our site was just up the steps and over the other side.

The site had hundreds of resident ducks, that wandered freely amongst everyone. I’ve never hand fed ducks before, but they were so tame, they just boldly waddled up, and took the food straight from my hand, not even backing off to eat, they waited for the next handout.

The best visit though, was from this mother duck and her babies.

Sat in the van that evening, I could see the beginnings of a wonderful sunset, so grabbing my camera, I dashed down to the beach, to be rewarded with…….

 Wow, oh wow!!!! What a magical experience, I stood there, totally alone on that beach to witness ANOTHER east coast sunset. I can say in all honesty, if someone had come along and offered me £100 to leave the beach at that moment, I would not have taken it. Life doesn’t get any better 🙂

Wednesday saw us back on the beach again.


Both dogs thoroughly enjoy the freedom……….and me?, well I could spend everyday there, rain or shine.

Talking of which, rain it did, just as we got back to the site, the heavens opened and it set in for the rest of the day.

Thursday our last day, and there was blue sky again 🙂

Running from the site there was an hourly land train. We’d enquired the previous day, and for £2 each with the dogs going free, we could have a round trip to the lighthouse at Old Hunstanton, which was about two miles away. Normally, we’d have walked it, but with Jasp struggling with his arthritic knees, we thought we’d give the train a try.

Well, I haven’t laughed so much in ages, and it merits a post in it’s own right………..but here’s a taster 🙂

Jasp, king of the train.

The train picks up around the site, and a couple more stops in Hunstanton, before heading up to Old Hunstanton and the lighthouse.

Once off the train, we followed the sandy footpath across the car park, and down the concrete slope to the beach.

This is where I had my second WOW!! of the holiday.

Old Hunstanton Beach, a vast expanse of sand and dunes, with hardly a soul on it.

and so much sky.

Eventually dragging ourselves off the beach, we went to have a look at the lighthouse, which is now holiday accommodation.

A view of the lighthouse through the remains of St Edmund’s Chapel.

The Chapel was built in 1272. The original wooden lighthouse, built in 1666, was replaced in 1778, after it burnt down, this was rebuilt between 1840-44 as it stands today.

Adjacent to the chapel remains, is a wooden carving of a wolf.

accompanied by this information.

I quite like the idea of the Wuffing Dynasty 🙂

Catching the land train back to the site, later that evening, we raised our glasses to another successful trip in our motorhome.

East or was it West??

The sea was calling me, so the wheels were in motion again.

We’d been North (well graphically it was NE) to Whitby, and South to Dawlish, so we though we’d try the East to West Runton. There is an East Runton too, but I do like to cause confusion.

West Runton is a small village, on the Norfolk coast, between Cromer and Sherringham. I’d been searching through some campsites on the internet, and stumbled across the Laburnum Campsite, it bore an uncanny resemblance to the wonderful Whitby Holiday Park, where we had spent a stunning week in May.

So we booked a pitch, one of only six pitches available for tourers, and set off on the morning of Sunday 8th for the 200 mile journey.

As everyone in Britain knows, it has been a tad wet of late, and parts of East Anglia had been deluged the previous week, so, on our journey there, driving through torrential rain, I did start to wonder if we’d made the right decision. Ever the optimist, T announced, ‘you cant get flooded on a cliff top’.

What a pleasant surprise when we got there, everywhere was dry, it was a concrete hard standing for the van, we were on the cliff edge, with amazing views out to sea.

Isn’t it amazing how something so simple can lift your spirits. 🙂

I left T sorting the Motorhome out, grabbed Little Sal and Jasp and went for a wander. I’d looked at the site on Google maps, and it appeared there was a short walk along the cliff top to a slipway, where we could easily access the beach below. Ten minutes later, I was at the slipway. I couldn’t believe our luck, no struggling to get J down cliff faces, and only a small area where dogs were banned.

Excitedly, I dashed back to tell T.

“Where’ve you been” he enquired “I thought you were just taking the dogs on their ‘business trip'”

“On the beach”, I said smugly, as I continued to tell him the close proximity and ease of access to it.

Later in the evening, after we’d all been fed and watered, we went for a wander along the beach.

Monday 9th

After making a few enquiries, we decided our destination for the day would be Sherringham. This small seaside town was just over a mile along the cliff top path, with a short descent into the town itself.

This was a lovely walk, a mown footpath, cut through a meadowland of beautiful wild flowers. There were rabbits hopping all over the place, some even standing on their hind legs, watching us go past. Parts of the cliff top was void of any fencing, so, needless to say Sal and Jasp were kept on their leads, much to J’s disgust.

Dropping down into the town, we found a cafe, plonked ourselves outside on the rustic benches, where T ordered a black coffee, and me? ……………a cream tea 😳 with scones, jam and cream……….OK, OK, I was on holiday, and I did share it with T and the local sparrows 😉

July 9th July 9th

Wandering along the seafront, the concrete sea walls were adorned with some wonderful paintings, depicting typical British holiday scenes.

We walked into the town area, which was a really bad idea, as both Sal & Jasp thought all the shops smelt really nice and would be good to investigate. So we made our way up to the rail station, where we had a pleasant surprise, Sherringham is the home of the The North Norfolk Railway, also know as the Poppy Line, because of the abundance of poppies in the area. We found a bench and sat watching the world go by, while Jasp slept, building up his strength for the walk back.

With suitably refreshed dogs, and the tide on the way out, we walked back to West Runton along the sandy beach. We both agreed, we had hit the jackpot again, with our location………..and weather 🙂

July 9thas we sat and watched the sun going down………..in the East again??????

Tuesday 10th

There’s only so much you can do, and so many places you can visit with two dogs. We both enjoy walking, so we decided a walk along the cliff top heading in the opposite direction towards Cromer was on the cards. We knew Jasp wouldn’t make it all the way as it was further away than Sherringham, but we thought we’d give it a try, as we could always come back on the bus.

We set off in the direction of the slipway, crossed over it and continued along the footpath.

July 10thMore beautiful wild flowers lined our path again. Poppies are my favourite flower, and they were in abundance everywhere.

Nearing the next cliff top campsite along the route, we noticed a no access sign, unlike our site, and the others towards Sherringham, they would not allow us to pass through their site, which would have meant a detour onto the nearby road.

We decided to turn around and head back, which was a good job, as by the time we got to the slipway, it had started to rain, I left T to walk back to the van with the dogs, and popped down the slipway to capture a few photos of the inclement weather.

July 10th July 10th

Looking South towards Cromer, and north towards Sherringham.

I hurried back to the van, getting there just in time, as the heavens literally opened. It must have been fate not being allowed to walk through that campsite, if we had continued we’d have been stuck in the middle of no where and got totally drenched.

Dejected, we sat in the van, watching the rain running down the windows, hhmmm, had we spoken too soon yesterday 😦

By lunchtime, the rain had stopped, so we went to have a wander into the village.

West Runton has a very picturesque station (see slideshow), which has won several awards for the best maintained small station, all done by volunteers.

The village is also home to Hillside Animal Sanctuary, so we had a wander up to the entrance to have a look at the many rescued horses in the nearby field. Obviously having the dogs with us, we were unable to visit properly, but can imagine it would be a lovely place to view.

Some of the horses having fun.

July 10thTwo very tired dogs, but Sal still managed to give Jasps’ tired legs a massage 🙂

Wednesday 11th

T had decided he wanted a steak for his dinner, the nearest butchers was in Sherringham, so the plan was for him to go into the town on the local bus, while I took the dogs for a walk onto the beach.

I think I got the better deal, it was a beautiful morning, and the walk to the slipway was wonderful. The tide was in, so the sandy beaches weren’t accessible, besides, I didn’t want to walk Jasp too far, so once there, we just plonked ourselves down to watch the sea.

July 11thWe sat there for over half an hour, I don’t know what the dogs found to look at, unless like me, they were just taking in the atmosphere.

We meandered back, arriving about five minutes before T turned up, armed with shopping bags.

“You’ll never guess what’s happened” he said

He continues to tell me, how he’d called into the local supermarket for a few bits and bobs, and found an amazing deal on one of our favourite red wines, so he’d bought two bottles, then, calling into the butchers for his steak, while handing over the money, the bag had slipped out of his hand, and the two bottles had crashed to the floor, covering the butchers’ floor in red wine 😦

Apologising profusely to the butcher before leaving, he’d then called back at the supermarket to get two more bottles (making the wine not quite the bargain it was).

As he’s telling me this, he’s putting the rest of the shopping away……………

Suddenly he shouts “Where’s my steak”?

Thinking he’d inadvertently put it away, while telling me the wine tale, he checks the fridge and all the cupboards, even checking the carrier bag, which he had folded up and put in a drawer…………..LOL, yeah, like a steak would hide in the corner of a bag.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, it wasn’t in the van, so he’d either lost it somewhere, or it was still at the butchers. I found the butchers shop phone number (thank goodness for mobile phones and internet) and he phoned them.

The conversation went something like……….”Err, hello, you’ll probably (LOL, ‘probably‘? like the butcher is likely to forget someone dropping two bottles of wine all over his floor) remember me, I’m the chap that dropped my………” He was cut short, as the butcher finished the sentence for him. “………….yes mate, you left your steak on the counter” The butcher offered to deliver it the next day, but as T wanted it for his dinner that night, he said he’d get the bus (again) and go and collect it.

Later that afternoon, T went for his fifth bus ride.

It had turned into a beautiful afternoon, and another walk on the beach was calling. We didn’t think Jaspers legs would cope with a walk to Sherringham and back, and as dogs were allowed on the buses, we decided to go in on the bus, and walk back on the beach.

July 11thI cannot put into words how amazing the walk back was, it was literally breathtaking. Just looking at this photo again, and I’ve drifted straight back there.

July 11thThat evening we sat watching the sun go down…………in the East 😎

Thursday 12th

After all the rain we’d had over the last few weeks, this holiday was beginning to turn out far better than we could have hoped, OK, we’d had the odd shower here and there, but nothing prolonged enough to deter our plans, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the blinds, there was total blue sky above us, wow, oh wow.

July 12th The blue sky was an amazing sight, though looking inland, clouds were visible.

We decided after all the walking we’d been doing, we’d give the dogs a rest, and just pop down to the local beach. The tide was on its way in, so there was only so far we’d be able to walk on the sand, as the stones were a definite no for poor Jasps aching joints.

July 12th

This long line of breakers, runs the full length of the beach to Sherringham, protecting the fragile cliffs from the force of the sea.

Not easily visible in this photo, but all along the breaker, large pebbles were lodged in the gaps between the wood, we initially thought they’d been placed there, but it became obvious it was the force of nature, which gave some indication as to how wild the area must become in the winter.

July 12thEven the massive breakers, which looked at least a foot square, fall victim to the power of the sea over time.

July 12thCormorants were dipping and diving into the sea, then landing on the posts to dry their wings. We watched as they took it in turn to take the top perch.

July 12th

Our totally lazy day ended watching another stunning sunset over the sea.

Friday 13th

The clouds were back, but it was extremely warm and humid.

Talking to various people, many had said that Cromer, wasn’t a patch on Sherringham, so we’d been undecided whether to go or not. We couldn’t walk there, either by beach, or cliff top, we didn’t want to move the motorhome, so it meant a bus journey.

July 13th

T, Jasp and Sal, waiting for the bus to Cromer.

The bus service in this area was excellent, run by two companies, both with very friendly drivers and easy access buses. The Coast Hopper company didn’t even charge for dogs, so with T and me with our bus passes, we all travelled for free 🙂

I am so pleased we decided to check Cromer out for ourselves. It was a typical east coast holiday resort, and I really liked it.

July 13thCromer Pier. The steps up to the pier have dates engraved of RNLI rescues, and at the end is a very modern looking RNLI station.

Up to this time, neither of us had tried the famous Cromer crab, but we soon found ourselves a little seafront cafe, next door to the ‘old’ RNLI station (see link above) where T ordered himself a crab salad sandwich, temptation was too much, and I pinched one of the squares, to go with my bottle of water.

T is a very chatty person, and noticing the chap on the table behind me was wearing a Worcester Warriors rugby shirt, he struck up a conversation with him, soon to be joined by a Gloucester rugby supporter from another table. Jasper snoring under our table, and me watching the world go by, I left them to it.

Dogs weren’t allowed on certain parts the beach between May and September, but at the far end of the prom, was a dog friendly area, so we wandered along to have a look. Walking onto the sand, it was obvious that poor Jasp was suffering with his legs, so we sat down.

July 13th

It wasn’t long before Jasp, who had decided to sit on me, was totally crashed out 😆

We’d have stayed there a bit longer, but the tide was on the way in, and within twenty minutes I had to disturb Jasp from his slumber otherwise I’d have got a tad wet 😉

We made our way back up the long slope to the nearest bus stop, just in time for the bus back to West Runton.

Back at the campsite, with the dogs totally crashed out, T decided dressed crab would be good for dinner. So he made his last bus trip into Sherringham, to buy a couple.

July 13th

Our final meal at the end of another wonderful holiday in the motorhome, with one of the ‘not such a bargain’ bottles of red.

Returning home on the Saturday afternoon, we found everywhere was still waterlogged and our neighbour informed us, the whole week had been almost constant rain.

Holidaying on the east coast, we’d cracked it again with the weather 🙂

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More pics here

Sea frets & Sunsets


Also known as sea haar, sea mist or sea fog, they are a very common occurrence on the east coast of the UK. They are caused as pockets of warm air are cooled as they pass over the cold North sea, coupled with the breeze that blows this condensed air back onto the shore, it is only as the day warms up, that the fret disperses. More info here

Oh yes, I can remember the sea frets that lasted all day when, as a child I spent my summer holidays on Yorkshires’ coast.

We’d walk the half mile down to the beach from my nans’ house, which at the time of leaving, was bathed in sunshine, only to find the whole of the sea front was covered in a fret.

There were several other families in our ‘gang’. Undeterred, we’d all plonk ourselves down on the beach, get the deck chairs out and windbreaks up. The adults sat huddled under blankets, while my friends and I were off building sand castles, which strict instruction, ‘don’t go out of sight’, which sometimes meant almost sitting at our parents feet .

A post sea fret day.

More often than not, the fret would be gone by midday, but I remember times when, well after lunch, and everyone deciding to call it a day, we’d trek back to my nans’ to be told, ‘it’s been sunny here all day’.

So, on my recent holiday on the North east coast, waking up to a sea fret on some of the mornings was the reason we decided to move inland slightly.


I learnt a little about kelvins (colour temperature) when I did my photography course, and also how light travels, so I’m guessing this has something to do with why sunsets are often red, but I think this article probably explains why.

Even as a small child, I loved looking at photographs of sunsets over the water, all my childhood holidays were on the east coast, and I never really understood why I never got to see one in real time.

In my teens, I went to night class to try to learn how to paint in oils. We had to take a photo/postcard to copy, my choice? a silhouette of Whitby Abbey against a bright red setting sun.

I never really took much notice, until later years when it started to puzzle me, as how an Abbey on the East coast of England had been photographed against a sunset. Quite odd really, and obviously caused by the lie of the land.

Here are my very own east coast sea frets and sunsets.

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Memories that stick in your mind!!

Many years ago, when I was on holiday in Cornwall with some friends, we visited the harbour in Mousehole. Everyone was chattering away about where we’d been and what we were going to do next, but I’d wandered off alone.

Suddenly one of my friends tapped me on my shoulder and brought me out of my daydream, ‘come on Vic, what you doing’

I’d been totally mesmerised by the grace of one of the seagulls that was in the sky, he wasn’t scrabbling on the harbour front looking for scraps, like the rest of them. He was soaring and diving, and looked as though he was thoroughly enjoying himself.

“Wouldn’t you just love to do that” I said nodding towards the acrobat in the sky.

‘Ah!, that’ll be Jonathan’ my friend said.

My puzzled expression, prompted him to tell me the story about Jonathan Livingston Seagull. A seagull searching for a better life than the normal seagull existence of squabbling for scraps etc.

‘You should read it, they’ve even made a film too’

As soon as we got home, I made it my mission to track down this book written by Richard Bach.

A very short book, with a hidden meaning, the whole book is here

Here is a brief description from wiki:

The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion from his flock. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads an idyllic life.

One day, Jonathan is met by two gulls who take him to a “higher plane of existence” in that there is no heaven but a better world found through perfection of knowledge, where he meets other gulls who love to fly. He discovers that his sheer tenacity and desire to learn make him “pretty well a one-in-a-million bird.” Jonathan befriends the wisest gull in this new place, named Chiang, who takes him beyond his previous learning, teaching him how to move instantaneously to anywhere else in the universe. The secret, Chiang says, is to “begin by knowing that you have already arrived.” Not satisfied with his new life, Jonathan returns to Earth to find others like him, to bring them his learning and to spread his love for flight. His mission is successful, gathering around him others who have been outlawed for not conforming. Ultimately, the very first of his students, Fletcher Lynd Seagull, becomes a teacher in his own right and Jonathan leaves to teach other flocks.

Ever since that day, any lone seagull I see is named Jonathan.

Here are a few of my Jonathans I saw in Whitby recently 

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Below is some of the music from the film, along with some beautiful video

A week in Whitby – day seven


I woke up feeling quite sad, this was the last full day of what had been a truly fantastic week.

What more could anyone have wished for. Earlier this year, we had purchased our motorhome, which for me had been a long standing dream. We were in Yorkshire, for obvious reasons one of my favourite places in the UK, and after almost six weeks of more or less of continual rain, we’d had a week of totally stunning weather.

I could hear the seagulls outside. On the mornings of the sea frets, there had been an eerie silence, so I was hoping this was a good sign, as I reached up and unclipped the blind of the rear window.

I couldn’t have wished for a better sight…………

I unfastened the window and opened it as wide as it would go, reached for my camera to record what my eyes were seeing……….the start of another beautiful day!!!

Much on the same lines as yesterday, we sat outside for breakfast then discussed how we’d spend the final day. We both agreed there was no point in driving anywhere as we had all we wanted on the site.

T had called into a pub in Whitby earlier in the week, and found they would be screening a rugby match he wanted to watch, so his plans for the afternoon were sorted.

Firstly though, Sal and Jasp needed a walk, so we set off along the Cleveland Way in the direction of Robin Hoods Bay. I had viewed this section of the walk through my binoculars the previous evening, and although it wasn’t a proper footpath, it still looked OK for Jasper to cope with.

More a track than a footpath, the various fields were separated by swing gates to walk through, everything was going well, until we came across a flight of wooden steps straddling a ditch, they were far too steep for Jasp to manage, and without a slope at the side, reluctantly we had to turn back, probably a good job anyway, as it was getting quite warm by the time we got back to the van, and both dogs were quite happy to lie in the shade, while T and I sat soaking up the suns rays.

T was quite happy to stay where he was, as he’d be walking the mile into Whitby later,  but I wanted one final walk in the local bay, and as the tide was out, it was a perfect opportunity. Jasp wouldn’t have managed it, but I thought  Sal would enjoy a run on the beach, so grabbing my camera, we set off.

Sal ran almost the full length of the slope down to the beach, leaping off the three foot drop at the bottom, where we’d struggled with Jasp earlier in the week.

I walked out to the rock, which is just visible from this photo and Sal posed for her photo. The campsite is just visible to the top left of this pic.

We spent about an hour wandering around the beach and rocks, then went back up the slope to the site, I can’t believe how steep it was, unlike the other day when we were taking a couple of strides and stopping for Jasp, I had no excuse this time, Sal was already at the top, waiting for me and wagging her tail, by the time I, puffing like I’d just smoked about fifty fags (not that I’ve ever smoked) caught up with her.

Walking back through the campsite site entrance, I got back to the van just in time, as T was waiting to set off into Whitby. “I’ll be back in about two or three hours” he shouted back to me as he walked away.

Both dogs asleep, I’m sat in the sun, watching the world go by, with a bottle of Peroni in my hand………does life get any better?

Suddenly my phone rang…………it’s T……..”Vic, you won’t believe this” he carries on to tell me,  he’d got to the pub, just in time for the start of the game, walked into the lounge, to find a local derby of two Yorkshire football teams on the TV. Being in Yorkshire, with two Yorkshire teams on the TV, he didn’t think it a good idea to ask if he could watch the rugby instead. So he was going for a wander around the town.

After about an hour, thinking he’d probably be on his way back, I decided I’d take the dogs along the coast path to meet him. Half way there, I thought I’d better phone him to tell him what I was doing, just incase he’d decided to find a bus back. It was a good job I did, he was just leaving and his plan was to walk back along the beach. So, change of plan, he set off up Donkey Road to the cliff top path. Sal and Jasp were a picture, they couldn’t believe who they saw walking towards them, and charged up to greet him.

That evening, T had the mixed remains of yesterdays curry, I had beans on toast again, and we finished another bottle of red.

Looking out of the window later in the evening, I saw the beginning of a what I thought would be a beautiful sunset, so grabbing my camera, for the last time this holiday, I set off along the clifftop towards Whitby (again) for my finale photo.


We had to be off site by 10am, so no leisurely wake up, breakfast etc. it was all hands on deck preparing the van for the off.

Calling to visit my mum in Harrogate on the way back to the midlands, we arrived home at 8pm, exhausted, but happy.


A week in Whitby – day six


After the previous two days, of opening the blinds to be greeted by a swirling grey mist, I hadn’t been in any hurry, to look outside. T had got up, put the kettle and made a morning cuppa, before I’d even opened my eyes.

“You not getting up today fossil” he asks, as he passes me my tea, “there’s blue sky everywhere out there”

What!!!!, I reached up and opened the blinds, and looked out of the window,WOW! I could see the horizon, the sky was blue, the sea was blue, and sunlight glistened from its surface. What an absolutely perfect day 🙂

Needless to say, the bedding was put away in double quick time, and every window was opened fully.

Sal and Jasp had their breakfast outside, as they had done all week, but this time so did we, our ‘neighbours’ had moved on earlier in the week, and our van was the only one on that part of the site. We sat there long after we’d finished eating, in total silence, just ‘looking’ at nothing in particular.

“Do you fancy doing anything today then” T broke my daydream…….

“err, no, not really, I’m quite happy staying put, and I’m sure Jasp would appreciate a rest too”

Sal & Jasp still needed a walk, and I wanted to go into Whitby to get a few more photos, so we decided, a slow walk along the cliff top to the Abbey, T would stay up at the top with the dogs, while I walked down the Donkey road into the town with my camera.

‘Give me a call if you’re going to be longer than an hour, and I’ll start slowly back” he shouted after me as I set off down the hill.

Whitby is a photographers dream, and it wasn’t long before I’d started snapping away.

This is about halfway down Donkey Road, with the harbour just visible in the distance.

Turning round and looking back up towards the top, the raised sections of cobbles across the road become more noticeable, which give more traction while going up or down.

It was up Donkey Road in January 1881, that the Whitby lifeboat was hauled to top, before continuing to Robin Hoods Bay to the rescue of the brig ‘Visitor” see A week in Whitby Day Three post.

A plaque at the bottom.

I wandered around taking many photographs, before phoning T to tell him I was on my way back up.

This time I decided to walk up Caedmon’s Trod, where we’d attempted to get Jasper up on Day Two. A beautiful view of the town, but I’m pleased we turned back with Jasper when we did that day, as he would never have got to the top.

I found T and the dogs, waiting for me in the grounds of St Marys’ church, where I took this view over the harbour.

I took a further shot of the Abbey, before we set off back along the coast path.

A wreck of the trawler Admiral Von Tromp, which foundered on the rocks in October 1976, is easily visible from the cliff top as the tide recedes. More info for anyone interested can be read here

A view of the site, as we walked back. Our motorhome is the one at the far left on the cliff top.

This day was a very lazy day, were we just enjoyed the sun and the scenery.

Curry again? 😮 yeah, why not, we’re on holiday 😉

A week in Whitby – day four


Waking up, bright and early, listening to the sea through the half open roof vents, yeah! life’s good 🙂

‘The sun has got his hat on….hip, hip, hip, hurray………

This tune started humming through my mind, as I opened the blinds to greet the morning.

Huh! Oh no he hasn’t!……..

I peered out, through the rear window at nothing, a grey swirling mass of nothing. Opening the side blinds, I could just about make out one or two shapes of the nearby caravans.

Funnily enough, my mind suddenly stopped singing sunny songs, and I had flashbacks to a film I had seen on the TV a few years previous.

The Fog – It tells the story of a strange, glowing fog that sweeps in over a small coastal town, bringing with it the vengeful ghosts of mariners who were killed in a shipwreck there exactly 100 years earlier.

Luckily, this was just a sea fret, well known on the North East coast, that usually burns off later in the day, though the Whitby area is notoriously stubborn for not doing so.

Never mind, our plan for the day was to go onto the nearby moors, so hopefully we’d escape it anyway.

After a breakfast of cereals, T decided he was going to cook himself a bacon sandwich as well, so I wandered outside into the swirling mass with Sal & Jasp.

Walking round the site, I didn’t see a soul, I was half expecting those ancient mariners to materialise from the eerie atmosphere.

I hurried back, to find T had eaten, washed up and was preparing the van for the short journey inland.

The sea fret had lived up to it’s name, no sooner had we driven up out of Whitby, there was blue sky everywhere, not a cloud in sight.

We knew exactly where we were going…………..well sort of.
Somewhere on the North Yorks moors, between Goathland and Pickering, is a ford, not just any ford, but the one that had an old series Land Rover driving through it, in the opening credits of the Yorkshire TV program Heartbeat.

Me, being the very ‘sad’ person I am, decided a few years ago I wanted to drive my Land Rover through this ford too, so, much to T’s total bewilderment at this odd need I had, we made a few enquiries in Goathland (Aidensfield to Heartbeat fans) and went in search of ‘the ford’.

We found it, in fact two years later in 2008, we found it again, so I could do it for a second time 😳

So, here we were again, driving through Goathland, which incidentally was heaving with sightseers, trying to remember which of the many moorland roads was the one we needed. All moorland roads look the same, plenty of heather and sheep, but not much in the way of landmarks.

I’m sure T has some sort of sat nav programmed into his brain, he tells me it comes from years of driving trucks, but I was totally gobsmacked when after many lefts and rights at various unmarked crossroads, we arrived at ‘my ford’

No, we didn’t drive through it, it hasn’t quite got the same effect with the motorhome, so we parked it up, got the dogs out, and set off for a walk.

The dogs welcomed a cooling drink, in fact, Sal who doesn’t drink much water at all, couldn’t get enough of it.

This was a totally stunning place to walk, the photos I took, just don’t do it justice. There was total silence apart from the stream running over the stones, and the twittering birds.

Hello Mrs sheep and baby lambkin, you certainly live in a beautiful place.

The ford, OK, I know it doesn’t look much. We later found out the area is called Wheeldale, so I guess it’s Wheeldale ford.

We ambled back to the van, put the kettle on, and made ourselves a cuppa, then sat down outside and listened to…………nothing. The sound of silence, wonderful!!

T had also got a request, this was to go to a little place called Beck Hole, where we’d called in after our second ‘ford’ visit. There was a quaint little pub there, and he wanted to re-visit.

So, back into Goathland, which was still heaving with visitors, turn left and half a mile down a steep hill, we were back in Beck Hole.

We parked on the side of the road and walked over the bridge to the Birch Hall Inn.

What an amazing little pub this is, walking in from the road, was like walking into the past. Stone flags on the floor, wooden church pew style seating, and a serving hatch to order the drinks from.

We’d left Sal and Jasp in the van, mainly because Jasps legs had almost seized up, but found they’d have been more than welcome there. Every dog visitor gets a dog biscuit, served with their owners drinks.

T insisted I took his photo, so he could show his mates where he’d been.

After a most refreshing drink, we slowly wandered back to the motorhome, I grabbed a quick pic from under the bridge, looking back towards the pub on the other side.

A short drive back to the site, and we were soon settled, ready for our free delivery of fish & chips from one of the local Whitby chippies.

We later watched the sun go down over Whitby Abbey. A very odd occurrence. Here we are sat on the North East coast, watching the sun set over the sea. 😮

Day four, and we have the evening bed making plan working to a T (literally), as I popped down to have a shower. 😉

The end to another fantastic day!!

A week in Whitby – day two


After a really good nights sleep, we woke to the sound of tapping on the roof, oh no!, it can’t be rain surely, on opening the blinds, I realised it was seagulls dancing on the roof, obviously pay back time for denying them our scraps last night.

Jasp was still spark out, blocking the bathroom door, and a bleary eyed Little Sal was peering at us from between the front seats in the cab. Not for long mind, for as soon as T got up and put the kettle on (kettle in Sals mind means breakfast), she leapt up, tried to jump over the sleeping Jasp and landed on him,  Poor Jasp, wondering where he is and what the hell is happening, struggled to his feet while Sal is going into hyper mode.

Eventually calm reigns, the dogs having eaten were lying outside, the bedding was stored away (a darn sight faster than we got it out I might add), T had gone down to the site cafe for breakfast, I just sat and absorbed the peace and the stunning view of the sea.

The Cleveland Way footpath, runs through the campsite. This National Trail is approx 110 miles long, between Hemsley and Filey taking in the North Yorkshire moors and the North Yorkshire coast. This view is looking south towards Robin Hoods Bay.

Once T had come back from the cafe, we decided to do our bit of the Cleveland way. As it was just one mile along the cliff top to Whitby, it would be a good level walk for the dogs (poor Jasp can’t cope with much more these days), we could have a wander around the town, then amble back.

Heading towards Whitby Abbey on the Cleveland Way, the dogs loved it.

What we hadn’t accounted for was the steep descent from the Abbey into the town, part of which must have been 45 degrees. The further down we went, the more concerned I was as to how we’d get Jasp back up again, but always the optimist, T said we’ll find some way.

We had a lovely wander around the town, which hasn’t changed much from how I remember it from my childhood.

Waiting outside one of the many chippies was this rather well fed seagull.

After a few hours of wandering, we decided we’d better make a move back to the campsite. Before leaving home I’d researched the local buses, and found dogs travelled free, as we both had our bus passes with us, T went in search of a bus that would go past the site.

Sal Jasp and I waited patiently for his return.

He came back shaking his head, “I can’t find which bus we need, looks like we’ll have to walk back” So we set off in search of a different route back up to the Abbey.

After checking a town map, we decided we’d try a route called Caedmon’s Trod. This was an even bigger disaster, it was all steps, and quite deep ones too, Jasp collapsed on the second set of steps, when his back legs gave way, after getting him onto his feet, we then had to help him back down to the bottom.

We made our way back to the steep Donkey Road, ready for the slow climb up, not before Jasp became a film star though, when a chap with a posh SLR camera asked if he could take his photograph. Several poses later, we started the climb, and after stopping many times, we eventually reached the top for the level cliff top walk back.

That evening, after a meal of pizza, salad and a bottle of red wine, we proceeded to make the bed. Yes, T was having his choice of the massive double, king or whatever you want to call it. Now believe me, this is not a feat easily accomplished, when half the motorhome is bed, it is almost impossible for two people to make the bed up, as there is nowhere to stand, especially when the other half is taken up by two dogs, one of which insists that he is sleeping in front of the bathroom door again. At least with two singles I had some spare floor, so I left T to it, and sat in the cab until it was done………….hmmmm, I could get used to this 🙂

A week in Whitby – day one

Since purchasing our motorhome in March, the weather hadn’t been too kind to us, and apart from a couple of day trips, we had only managed a three day break at the beginning of April to Upton on Severn, where we got a tad wet, to say the least.

Around the same time as booking the Upton trip and hoping the weather would improve, we had also booked a week in May to visit Whitby, North Yorkshire, but having almost constant rain for around five weeks, we were beginning to despair that this holiday would be a washout too.

As the 20th May drew closer, we started checking the weather forecast. It had started to look promising………dry and getting warmer. All I wanted was to be able to go on holiday without getting soaked, so the ‘dry’ sounded good, the ‘getting warmer’ sounded even better 🙂 What we ended up with was beyond my wildest dreams……………


We woke to a dry and fairly warm day. Packing? nah! no packing required, I lifted an armful of clothes from the wardrobe, still on hangers, walked outside, into the motorhome, and hung them straight up in that wardrobe. My memory of the north east coast was of a cool breeze  blowing off the sea, so I decided it better to take plenty of warm fleeces, trousers, waterproofs etc, perhaps one vest and a couple of base layers. T’s packing was even easier, white t-shirts and shorts (his 365 days a year attire).

Little Sal and Jasper had taken more organising, had we got enough food with us, the bowls, the leads, harnesses, Jasps waterproof coat. I had also decided to buy a couple of travels cages for them, not because they’re unruly in the motor, they’re extremely good travellers, but just in case of the unthinkable happening.

The crates fitted perfectly into the living area of the motorhome, and both dogs settled into them well.

Everything loaded into the motor, we set off.

I hate with a passion the normal route to Yorkshire, so we had decided we’d go via the Humber bridge, added to the fact I’d never seen the bridge, and T wanted to re-live his trucking days of the past.

It was a great choice, once off the M18 the roads were extremely quiet.

Nearing the bridge we saw a signpost for a viewing area, so we detoured for a cuppa, a walk for the dogs and a photo opportunity for me.

Just one slight problem, the car park barrier was only 1.6 metres high, what an odd height this was, I wouldn’t even get my Discovery under that, so no chance with the motorhome, luckily we did find somewhere to park, and I got my photos.

What a magnificent sight this bridge is. Building started in 1973, the first traffic crossed on 24th June 1981, and it was officially opened by the Queen on 17th July 1981.

It spans 1410 metres, which in 1981 was the longest span bridge outside the USA. More information can be found here.

Suitably refreshed, we continued our journey, through Beverley, where I was born, and on through Bridlington and Scarborough, finally arriving at Whitby Holiday Park at 6.30pm.

After booking in and being shown our pitch, we decided we’d pop into Whitby for some much needed fish & chips.

Now anyone who hasn’t eaten Yorkshire fish & chips, hasn’t eaten fish & chips, and Whitby has a reputation of having some of the best. I say some, as my parents chippy was the best ;-). We drove down in the town, parked up on the harbour front, and T went off to the Magpie chippy for the take away.

Our first true holiday, we sat in the motor, scoffing fish & chips, looking out over the harbour and grinning like cheshire cats.

After eating all we could, and the dogs having had a few chips too, T took what was left over to the rubbish bin, followed eagerly by masses of seagulls, hoping there might be something for them. It was like a scene from the film The Birds, they were swooping and diving at him, and the noise they were making, obviously telling all their pals of the possible meal.

Once back on the campsite, everything went like clockwork, it took us about ten minutes to fill it with water, park it level, hook up to the electric and switch the gas on.

Not so when we attempted to make the beds. The lounge area makes either two singles or a massive double, by massive I mean six foot square. I thought it a better idea to make the two singles, so we’d have floor between the beds for the dogs to sleep on, T thought otherwise. After both trying to put our point across to each other, I won, but in the meantime, Sal had taken herself off to bed in the cab area, and Jasp had crashed out in front of the bathroom door, making it a near impossibility to get into the bathroom. Twenty minutes later we each climbed into our own beds, with T mumbling, about the dogs don’t need to sleep between us, they’re happy where they are, and tomorrow night we’ll make up the double.