WHITBY, N. YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND
You may notice that my dog’s name is Whitby. She was named for the city of Whitby, North Yorkshire, England. My favourite place in the whole world.
Actually, I have a lot of “favourite places” – but I always come back to Whitby. So it’s #1 in my book.
In the photo above, taken by Clive Mitchell, you can see the 199 stairs curving up to the top of the cliff, where sits St. Mary’s church. To the right and behind the church, is the Abbey. The famous Whitby Abbey (aka St. Hilda’s abbey). So many people have photographed that structure. It used to be more “whole” before WWII, but I guess it got pretty well bombed out during that time period, and what’s left has been lovingly and painstakingly kept up so that millions of people can come to visit it each year.
At the top of this cliff, near the church, is where I want my ashes to be buried when I go — in the ground, quietly, by Paul if he’s still around. Right at the top of those steps, where I have visited, in life, many times and where I want to be forever.
Yep, that’s us trudging up the 199 steps to the top of the cliff. From left are our friend Margaret, Paul, Jean (she lives there, her husband Don took the picture) and way behind everyone in the pea-green jacket, is yours truly – slow as a turtle.
It is said that Bram Stoker sat there at the top of those steps, on the cliff overlooking Whitby Harbour, when he got the idea to write Dracula. Some of the scenes in the book (and movies) take place in Whitby, and there is quite a lot of Dracula memorabilia around the old town of Whitby. I think they have a Dracula Walk but we’ve never experienced that yet.
Whitby is such an alive town. It’s a working fishing town, which always draws us in to the waterside. Paul has to investigate all the different types of fishing gear when we are there. It’s good, too, because he gets to talking with the fishermen as they come in or are working on the beaches, and once he lets them know that he is a lobsterman from “across the pond,” they let down their guard and get very friendly with us. We always wind up sitting down and having a nice time with the locals because of this bond.
I remember one time we were in another of my favourite spots, (and don’t laugh too hard, Bill D!) called Skinningrove. It’s a tiny, tiny little village (?) or really just a bunch of small row houses and a few stores, located up the coast near Loftus. We stayed in a cottage in Loftus for a week one time, and we just happened upon Skinningrove one day whilst driving around the back roads of that area. We got to talking with a handful of the local fishermen there, and they invited us into their fishing shanties to meet their pet ferrets that they had in the shanties. I wish I could locate the pictures I took of them. Maybe someday when I get some free time (my mantra lately!) I will for you. We spent an entire afternoon with those guys, and it was so nice. When you are a tourist in a foreign country, like we were, it’s so much better if you can spend time with “the natives” of that country, rather than just touring around to all the popular tourist spots. We much prefer seeing England and Scotland this way. Over the years, we’ve met some really nice people over there and have some good memories of our time with them.
Once, while in Robin Hoods Bay, we got to talking with a fisherman (a lobsterman, in fact) right outside his cottage, and it turns out that, as a sideline, he collects jet from the beaches and, after cleaning it up a bit, actually makes jewelry out of it and ships it all over the world. He gave us a hunk of the raw jet he was using, and we treasure that black, coal-like thing to this day. Jet is really petrified wood that has been washed up onto the shores and is black like coal. Queen Victoria loved jet and, when she was in mourning for her departed husband, Prince Albert, she wore a lot of it. Whitby was a huge jet producer and in the old days, there were jet factories in the old town, and the stories are still alive today. Now you can go into any number of gift shops in Whitby and buy beautiful pieces of jewelry made from jet. (Sandy from Iowa got a few pieces herself when we were there together in 2002).
Well, I’ve been over to work, picked up my new load of typing, and really came up here to get a head start on it. As usual, I got sidelined, and ended up in here. This can be very addictive and, being the addictive personality that I am, I got stuck here! I need to do a little work, though, so see you around. I’ll be posting more of these favourite photos in the future for you, if that’s OK with you.