Tribalism; Improving the Natives’ World

Ah, tribalism. Where would we be without it?

It’s tribalism, of course, that makes us socialize ourselves and others to live according to certain accepted values. It’s so we can tell who’s US and who’s THEM.

These things are usually so engrained, so deep down, that we don’t notice them consciously. We generally notice them when we have reason to fight against them. For example, I’m told that serial killers don’t generally believe that they’re bad people; they believe that they’re doing a good thing, in whatever way. They tell themselves whatever story they need to, in order to have that be their reality, rather than the one we see, because they had to fight against the norms our tribe imposed upon them, and they could only go so far with that. They generally can’t accept “I’m a bad person” – but they can accept a twisted version of what they’re doing.

To accomplish this socializing of THEM and US, however, society relies on mores that get engrained in us without question, and turn into things we can elicit shame with.

When we don’t live up to these mores, we then feel inadequate – the whole of consumerism, naturally, preys upon this: “You aren’t happy enough with life? Buy this thing, and you will be!” Because it’s so convenient for companies trying to sell us things to use this tactic, we constantly get conflicting messages about what we should do to be happy – we should be thin, we should have a bit of meat on our bones, we shouldn’t care about size; we should be married, we should be single; we should have children, we should not have children; and so on. We can’t win, no matter what we do, so we end up feeling constantly inadequate if we don’t armor ourselves from this onslaught.

Photo by DttSP

Photo by DttSP

All of that is well known, and not really what I’m here to write about. We went to see Michael Palin recently – he’s a famous world traveler, as well as a comedy writer and actor. He did a little Q&A from the audience, and someone asked him if he keeps in touch with the people he’s met on his travels.

This question almost always pops up when someone talks about their travels, no matter how large or small the audience, in my limited experience. Nevermind that Michael Palin has traveled extensively and so keeping up with the people he met along the way would be several full time jobs on its own. I’m always boggled and annoyed by this question, and as I let it roll around my head over the next few days, I realized what I think is going on more deeply.

Leftover from Imperialism, there is an expectation of going abroad and improving the lot of the natives. There’s definitely the knowledge that Imperialism was filled with nasty effects and side effects, so this isn’t at all obvious, but I think what’s happened is that the attitude has shifted from the government going out to improve the world to individuals and charities improving the world.

We have one man in town who spends his days taking supplies to Bosnia – he comes home to Glossop, gathers clothes, medicine, all sorts, and drives his Land Rover over to war-torn Bosnia to deliver it. He sleeps sitting up in his vehicle to cut down on expenses. We have another couple who, I think single-handedly, is supporting a school in Kenya – including paper, pencils, food, money to pay the teachers, uniforms for the kids, etc. And there’s the Winnie Mabaso Foundation, which was started by Winnie Mabaso in South Africa (though not as a foundation), and took off from the work of one Glossop woman, mostly (now there are more people involved). Certainly improving life abroad by individuals and charities is a much-lauded, often-done thing in this society.

So, I think the expectation that the traveler improve the lot of the people they’re visiting became one of those deeply entrenched expectations — so deep as to be unconscious. One way to be seen to do this is to keep in touch with them, so as to try to do something (send them supplies, perhaps) once home in Britain.

I challenge my British readers to not dismiss this out of hand – think about it. I could be wrong, but if I’m right, it’s something so unconscious you won’t necessarily see it at first. That is the way with many tribal things. Not all are as obvious as “Thou shalt not kill.”

Photo by DttSP

Photo by DttSP

Trip to Manchester Art Gallery

As I mentioned last week, I went to Manchester Art Gallery with Glossopdale WI, where I thoroughly enjoyed the Gallery of Craft and Design. I got completely absorbed in that section, and took a ton of photos.

Upon arrival, we stopped in the cafe for a drink first, and then made our way upstairs. Be sure to click on the photo & then the right arrows to follow the narrative.

First round of photos …

I’ve done what I can with these photos; they’re not brilliant, but these things are just too neat to not try to share. The lighting is absolutely terrible in that room – I was struggling to see many things with my eyeballs, forget about through the lens. Things behind glass are always difficult to photograph; moreso when they have no opaque backing, making the background difficult to control. I tend to prefer not to use my flash on old things, though I except certain materials like silver where I don’t think it makes a difference. And then, just for kicks, my camera batteries ran out at lunchtime, so the rest of the photos were taken with my cell phone – thankfully it usually takes acceptable photos.

Thoughts on Grayson Perry’s exhibit …

That’s all I had time for in the hour before we were meeting back in the cafe for lunch. After waiting an eternity to pay for a simple pre-made sandwich, I listened to the others discuss the tapestry exhibit they’d gone to see. I’m glad I did; one friend observed that she feels like the artist is trying to shake Britain by the shoulders and tell us to wake up and realize how petty and vanishingly small the differences that we latch onto are. Later, after I’d gone to see it myself, I found I wholeheartedly agree with that idea. Included in the exhibit was also the set of drawings A Rake’s Progress, which was very interesting (you can see the whole thing there at that link).

I found the tapestries, which are very garish and cartoonish, giving caricatures really, illustrative of what the perceived differences are between classes. When the mother and father feel like they’ve moved from working class to middle class, the cleanliness of their place is highlighted, particularly by the mother vacuuming the astro-turf lawn. Apparently everything being perfectly clean and tidy is a strong impression the working class has of how the middle class is.

I don’t expect I’ll ever understand the signs for classes here – in large part because I don’t actually care about social class, but rather whether an individual is a classy and decent person. I also find class is something that won’t be discussed, generally. Apparently there was a strong message put out in the 80s and 90s that modern Britain is a classless society, classes no longer exist, etc. It didn’t work, of course. Instead, now class simply isn’t talked about. When I raise the subject for possible discussion, I’m always met with the refrain that Britain doesn’t have classes anymore, and the conversation moves swiftly to some other subject. And yet, when I observe closely, I see that social class is very much still noticed and very much affects opportunities and people.

I do wish it wasn’t this way. I fervently wish we could just take individuals as they are, and not feel this need to put them into bins, stereotyping them in order to simplify and hasten our process of (mis)understanding them. This is what underlies all stereotypes, whether they come from class, occupation, sex, age, weight, color, height, proclivity to wear polka dots, or anything else under the sun. We won’t, of course, because there are many people and our energy is finite. *sigh*

After lunch photos …

After lunch, though, I went back to the Gallery of Craft and Design to pick up where I’d left off. I got to the Grayson Perry exhibit later on, and then to the Dutch paintings exhibit. More photos from the craft and design gallery:

I didn’t take photos of anything else in the building; I was tired of taking photos by then.

After gallery photos …

I left the gallery at about 3:30 because I was tired and because I wanted to make it to a shop to price fabric for a project I’m considering. I wandered through Chinatown, and then groped fabric, and then headed home. A few more photos:

Then I headed home! Hope you enjoyed my day out as much as I did!

Travel Tuesday: Denman College

Welcome to a new series, Travel Tuesday, wherein I share photos from our outings. Most will be daytrips (since that’s what we do the most – we do like our comforts of home); some will be longer. Some will be multi-part. I hope to post this at least most Tuesdays.

For this first one, I’ve decided to share the photos from my trip to Denman in April & May last year. These are mainly of the grounds, because I did manage to look around a bit in the mornings before class started, but otherwise, as you’ll recall from my year in review post, I generally looked like this:

I was at Denman for a week of sewing with the fabulous May Martin. I looked like this a lot. - 1 May 2013
Click for photos …

There was a long train trip, but it was pretty boring countryside, to be honest, and none of the few photos I took came out, so just imagine 3 hours’ worth of fields to start with. Oh yes, the one interesting thing was that there were less dry stone walls and more hedges. Right, so three hours’ worth of hedged fields. And then…

(Remember to click on any photo to start the slideshow.)

My favorite pair of photos out of those are these two:

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What a difference the angle makes!

And then it was home sweet home. 🙂

Year in Review: Photographic highlights from 2013

I always feel daunted by all the reflective posts at this time of year; I generally don’t have deep thoughts in this week between Christmas and New Year’s. Maybe I’m just too busy flomping from the hectic season, I don’t know. Anyway, this year I’ve decided I will at least reflect a bit: here, enjoy a smattering of our photos from the year.

I know, these sorts of posts usually have their place in the days leading up to 31 December, not on 1 January. I’ve always had a problem with punctuality. Ho hum. Besides, the year wasn’t over yet – something interesting could’ve happened!

Chris has found and installed for me a great new photo widget (thanks to John Scalzi for using it so I knew it existed), which I didn’t really explain in my last post. Click on the blue arrow as ever, and then if you want, you can click on any of the photos to start the slideshow view – where you’ll be able to do things like read the whole caption and look at all the photos by using the left and right arrows.

On with the photos!

Happy Birthday, Logan! — A Trip to Chatsworth

Today’s my eldest nephew’s 9th birthday – Happy Birthday, Logan! We’ve sent him a book that is set in my local area: Chatsworth House, a stately home dating to the 1550s which is the home of the Duke of Devonshire. Since I’ve visited Chatsworth House, I thought Logan might like to see some photos of what it looks like these days, either before or after he reads that book. Others might enjoy it, too.

We went on 30 August, 2008, so it’s a bit of a blast from the past to look at these photos, but I’m sure it hasn’t changed too much since then.

First we explored the grounds …

The part of the house they’ve opened to the public is the part they built in anticipation of King William and Queen Mary (reigned 1689-1702) coming to visit. How the other half lives: houseguests? Time to build another wing onto the house! The visit never happened, but it does make for a good showpiece to open for tours. There weren’t any guided tours available, so I got an audio tour and listened to that.

Then we went into the house …

Then we looked around outside the house a bit …

Then we were home! Hope yall enjoyed the trip. 🙂

Whitby, part 2

Carrying on from the first installment, we’ll finish our wander through Whitby in this exciting second half! 😉

After admiring the coast for awhile, we decided to wander through the town a bit and see what there was to see.

Wandering through the town …
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Some of the roads are very narrow. This was just wide enough for a car – and there were doors along that wall. Watch that first step! Thankfully, the super-narrow stretch didn’t last too long, and we had a bit of sidewalk then.

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Any ideas what this thing on the left is? It was in an antique shop full of breakables, and we were laden with backpacks, so I dared not go in to ask. It’s wood, with purple velvet, a half-cylinder compartment about 6″ or so long, and then a smaller compartment next to it. With the ink staining that smaller compartment, Chris wondered if it was for writing – I can see storing ink in the small space and the pen next to it, but what’s up with the velvet surface? Anyone happen to know?

The Whitby Gothic Weekend happens twice a year – apparently Whitby was chosen because of its Dracula connections. I forgot to mention we passed The Dracula Experience earlier, down by the waterfront. Whitby is where Bram Stoker’s Dracula landed in England, after the ship ran aground there after a bad storm, and Whitby has, to an extent, capitalized on it – so it was a Goth-friendly place readymade for the Gothic Weekend. Chris was surprised this was the only Goth shop we saw, however – apparently the coverage in Fortean Times makes it sounds like the place is just crawling with Goth shops, etc. In fairness, we only explored part of the town, so perhaps there’s more we didn’t see.

I was so struck that this Poundland – an everything’s £1 shop – had these historic photographs/paintings on its window shutters. They’re all by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe (1853-1941), and these are from the Sutcliffe Gallery. Now that I look at it on the map, I realize we may have even passed that gallery later, when we were headed back to the bus. Huh. Might go inside to explore next time!

Also, we found an American-style diner! I glanced at the menu: it’s only cosmetically American, but hey, it was a bit novel nonetheless. 🙂

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Halloween isn’t done as much here as it is in the US, so this window display was something to pause and look at – and then when I saw the sign above it, “Suppliers to Hotel & Catering”, I just cracked up. I had to get Chris to take a picture (all my batteries had died by this point) – you can see his ghostly self if you look carefully. 😉 Also, though no one local here seems to understand what gourds are when I use the word, the gourds in the right-hand window were actually labelled as such! Word choices are so very localized – even down to individual households, really.

The last photo is of the rose garden at St Hilda’s Catholic Church. It was lovely – you’ll need to click on it for the larger image to see it properly.


St John’s church is a Church of England church (Anglican) directly across the street from St Hilda’s. What struck us about this building, really, was the diminished soot covering the walls. It’s not clean enough to have actually been cleaned*, yet it’s not covered in pollution like the buildings I’m more used to seeing. Chris told me they didn’t do as much industry – mills, etc – up here in Whitby as they did down in our part. Not hard to believe – the air hanging thick with smog from the 40+ mills in my town was infamous. The Industrial Revolution, born in our county of Derbyshire, did have quite a lot of downsides – massive pollution was one of them.


* Either by sandblasting or the really cool-sounding method they used inside John Rylands Library. As I recall (I can’t find mention of it online anywhere), the tour guides told us they sprayed a special foam that clung to the stone, then peeled it off. The pollution came off, I expect with a bit of the stone. They pointed out the corners where they’d not been able to clean it properly, as contrast. The corners were black; the sandstone is a dazzling array of light colors. When they did it, they got an entirely different building when they finished.

We were vastly amused at the Black Hole Ahead sign – glad they warned us! We didn’t find it, alas.

Exploring the park …

We found ourselves at the entrance to Pannett Park, so we wandered inside to see what there was to see. The first thing we found was the Lily Pond, which was quite tranquil – at least, until other people showed up!

We wandered along, and spotted the hugest monkey puzzle tree I’ve ever seen!

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It was at the entrance to the Jurassic Garden, which is, as the sign told us:

A pathway through the past

The path you’re on takes you through the Jurassic period. Each band represents a rock layer from the Yorkshire coast – the colors of the rocks and the length of each band is in proportion to the depth of the rock. The first rock, where you are standing, is the Redcar Formation and is the oldest, laid down about 195 million years ago. As you walk along the path you will travel through 60 million years of Jurassic time!

In each band of rock you will find casts of fossils, including ammonites, corals, and dinosaur footprints. These impressions are taken from actual fossiles in the Whitby Museum collection. … Alongside the path there are plants from the Jurassic period, including tree ferns, gingkos, and a monkey puzzle tree.

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I liked the crocodile best, myself.


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The garden at the top of the park – surrounding Whitby Museum and Art Gallery – was guarded by two gardeners – one here, and one on the other side of the garden. Thankfully, they let us pass – in and out again! We reckoned the sundial might work a tad better if it weren’t in the shade.

I was a bit confused about these rectangles patches for planting flowers, just in the middle of the grass. You can see one planted in the middle background behind the sundial, and one unplanted one in the far background.


Our second rainbow of the day! Ironically for living in such a damp land, I see rainbows very rarely. I usually feel the presence of Papa, my grandfather, when I see one. I do hope he enjoyed touring around Whitby with us that day. 🙂 We took time to smell the roses in this garden, while enjoying the rainbow.



The Play Area was neat! I never had anything that nice when I was a kid!


Just past the play area, another view of Whitby. I’ll bet loads of local residents want to shoot whoever allowed Whitby Hospital to take such a hideous shape (it’s that black and white monstrosity in the centre of the frame). In terms of styles, the 1970s have a lot to answer for! Hopefully the contents are better than the package.

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Our last stop was the South Seas Garden, which is filled with Maori art (the Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand). The sign next to the figure is informative, if you’re curious.

This chunk of the park is right up against the perimeter, so from bird’s eye view, you’d see an eye-shaped path, with the sidewalk around the outside of the park forming one part, and the sidewalk through this chunk forming the other part. While we were there, this man and little boy passed by – the man stayed on the outside sidewalk, but the very focused and determined little boy (about 4 years old, I’d guess – he was walking quite well without assistance) picked up a heap of fallen leaves just outside the garden, then carried them through the garden, then met back up with the man (father? uncle? friend of the family? never know) at the other end of the little garden, having tossed his leaves into the air just as soon as he got out of the garden and back onto the main sidewalk. Kids. *shrug*

Wandering back to the bus …

Once we’d seen all of Pannett Park, we decided we should wander back towards the bus.

A few things caught my eye, like this intricate painting on the side of a bookshop, juxtaposed with the street name sign next to it. Also, I know the pub is named after one of Captain Cook’s ships, but it still strikes me as a treasure trove of puns to name the pub The Resolution.

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The Sherlocks shopfront looked interesting – I should’ve gone in and had a look around, really. I did wonder if someone made a typo originally on the Angel Hotel (Angler) and they’ve just rolled with it since.


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This busker‘s set up was delightful – and the music wasn’t bad, either, so I stayed and enjoyed a song.

This stone is Whitby’s war memorial. I’m used to cenotaphs (which I now see come in all different shapes), so this was a bit of a surprise. The cenotaphs I’m used to seeing have the names of the locals who were killed in war engraved onto plaques attached to them. The sign informs us that there used to be a War Memorial Hospital in Whitby, but it’s gone, and besides, they’d realized not all the names that should have been listed were. So they decided to create this memorial instead: a double plinth of locally quarried sandstone at the bottom, and a piece of Masi Quartizite from the far north of Norway, where the Green Howards (the Yorkshire Regiment) saw action in 1940, and lost many men. They don’t plan to engrave names this time; they’re leaving a simple “Lest we Forget” engraved in the sandstone.

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The sky was very moody. Also, the gates outside the public toilets were oddly arty.

It was nearly 5pm, so we prepared for the long ride home by hitting the loo and grabbing a coke for me. Then the bus turned up, so off we went.

A few shots on the way home …

On the road from Whitby to Pickering, we passed Royal Air Force base Fylingdales, a listening station – a relic of the cold war, the driver told us.

We also saw this very strange cloud.

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Then Papa said goodbye with a full double rainbow – we weren’t far enough away for it to show up all at once on camera, but at least coaches have great big huge picture windows, so we saw it all perfectly (helped that it was on our side).

I was absolutely shattered – too little sleep the night before, followed by a long day – so I promptly fell asleep then, for about an hour. Then Chris and I chattered away the miles until we got home, a bit after 9pm. A very late dinner was immediately followed by bedtime!

Whitby, part 1

This past Sunday, we went on a day trip to Whitby, North Yorkshire (it’s a seaside town about 115 miles northeast of here). We went by coach (coaches are charter buses, but in addition to private charters, they run periodic trips that anyone can join without having to fill the coach). We weren’t impressed with the company we went with, but we had a good time in Whitby nonetheless. This post got rather long and full of photos, so I’m breaking it into two parts. Hopefully the load time for you will be measured in something less than glacial movements!

We both love fall (autumn), and love to see the show the trees put on for us. This trip was advertised as “Autumn Tints”, and was supposed to take us past trees in color. It didn’t, but ho hum. Just another kick to get the finances in order to buy yet another car so we can go on our own trips!

Off we go – a few shots from the coach along the way.

As always, click on any photo to see the larger version. It was a gray, rainy, yucky day when we left. It was lovely in Whitby, though, so I’m glad we didn’t let that put us off – you just never can tell. We were on the motorway (interstate) for part of the way. When I lament that there are too many streetlights here, I mean it: I’m leaving this photo with the streetlight in the way because I had too many like this. They put them every 25 feet or so on both sides of most of the road – and then they wonder why we can’t see the stars at night.

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When we finally arrived in the Yorkshire Dales & Moors – which I’ve heard so much about – I remarked to Chris that it looks a lot like the Peak District. It is actually really similar geography; the Peak District is just more popular than Yorkshire because of its easy access for the city folk (from Manchester, London, etc). I related this to my friend Wendy who – I can’t remember now – either her husband or herself comes from Yorkshire. She replied, “Long may it continue!” Heh.

When we passed this feature, I heard a girl and her mother near us. The mother said this is called Dinosaur Bowl; the girl asked if it’s because a dinosaur sat there and that’s the shape of it’s bum. Made Chris and I giggle. 🙂


We’re here! We wandered through the commercial part of town first …

We got on the coach at 8am, and we arrived in Whitby at 12:30. It’s not actually that far – we were doing pickups for one and a half hours after we left Glossop, and then there was a half-hour stop at a really depressing motorway service station (these are like the ones you get on toll road interstates: exits with a few places to eat, restrooms open to the public, gas, usually some picnic tables, plus these have hotels in them). I was irritated, since I’d been told we’d arrive in Whitby around 11am – 150% of the estimated travel time is quite an error!


Anyway, so we were there. We took a few pictures as we made our way towards a restaurant Chris had scoped out reviews for the night before. We usually take a packed lunch whereever we go – less variable in quality, quicker, and easier than hunting for restaurants – but I really wanted some seafood since we’d be in a fishing village.

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It was low tide when we arrived. The difference in height of the sea is something I first ever noticed in Blackpool (another British seaside town); I really don’t remember this from when I lived in Hawaii – and I seem to recall going to the beach quite frequently there. I don’t remember it in Virginia, but beachgoing was rare there. The tide height difference is so much in Whitby that these boats were just sitting on the mud! Wonder if you could get a quick paint job on your boat during low tide…

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Chris forgot his sunglasses – so we have him to thank for the sunshine. We finally found a restaurant we wanted to eat in – The Marine – which was very small and crowded, but it was nice, and the food was good. Chris had fish and chips – he doesn’t usually eat cod, but this was sufficiently good that he ate it (the menu hadn’t specified whether it was cod or haddock). I had the smoked haddock and mustard mashed potatoes, which was also tasty.

The hallway back to the restrooms, however, is covered in a black and white wallpaper that, in that confined space, made my eyes just about cross. In a room it would’ve looked nice, I think. The toilet stall I used had this picture hanging on the back wall. In case you don’t look at the larger version, I’ll just tell you: that gold fish looks distinctly like it is frowning. It made me “…” so much that I snapped this picture to tell Chris about it. Might make some think twice about ordering fish, I guess…


Now feeling much better, we continued walking down the wharf to see what all there was. Above, you see the view of whence we’ve come. Below is the famous restaurant in Whitby for fish & chips – The Magpie – complete with the line (queue) going out to the street. Chris’d taken one look at those reviews and immediately decided to avoid them – apparently the portions are far too small and entirely too pricey. I had a look at the menu as we passed to see what qualified as too expensive – £12 for a single plate of fish & chips is rather a lot, really, when you can get a takeaway fish & chips in many places for £4. Obviously there’s some overhead for it being a sit-down restaurant, but not that much. As for the portion size, what’s listed on the menu doesn’t look small to me – all I can guess is that they’re not actually sending out what the menu says. What struck me most about this was that they don’t skin the haddock before breading it and deep-frying it. EW! Nosiree, count me out!

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The tide’s been coming in – ever so slowly – while we’ve been eating.

Below, some of the entertainments – this part looks just like the commercialized, gaudy part of Blackpool, meant to part you from your money. We whipped through here pretty quickly – interestingly, the fish market is dead center in this mess – stopping only to try to buy a map, but the machine ate my pound. Stupid thing. There was a map on display on the board, though, so we looked at that a bit, and found a few interesting-sounding things. Then we kept wandering.

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We found the lifeboat museum, but it was clogged with people, so we wandered on. We also saw this pirate ship 😉 running tours. There were many boats running tours and sea trips of varying lengths, which I was interested to go on, but was worried about the time, since we only had the 4.5 hours there. Something for our next trip!

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The last thing we noticed on The Strip, as I’ll call it, were these completely random figures flanking the doors to this restaurant. Um, okay. Whatever blows your skirt!

We wandered along the beach awhile …

We found the way down to the beach, and walked along it for a bit.

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Chris was so disappointed that there were no critters in these pools.

We also found this guy balancing rocks on their points. We didn’t stop to talk to him, so we havne’t a clue why he was doing it. It being such an impermanent thing, I vaguely wonder if he’s Buddhist, actually. Either way, they were cool to look at!



These are beach huts. I’m told they’re Very British – so much so that the winner of a WI photo competition on the theme of “British Summer” was a photo of some beach huts (nicer than these, mind). I never noticed any in Blackpool, the only other British seaside town I’d been to before Sunday, so I was very confused when I was first told about them. Apparently, they’re to give you someplace to change into your swimsuit.

Chris was more confused to see them there on Sunday – he wondered why people these days don’t just wear their swimsuits under their clothes, like he did when he was a boy and his family would visit Blackpool for a week. Once I saw that they have a place to put a padlock, though, I realized they could also be useful as lockers. When Chris was a boy, his mum would watch their stuff when they went swimming (she doesn’t like swimming); if it was just him and I who went, we’d both want to swim, though, so we’d need somewhere to keep our street clothes, towels, keys, etc. Plus I suppose you could wait out rain in them. Besides, they might have a kettle, etc, in them as well, for all we know.

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The beach huts were along the path back up to the street level, so we went up there. We thought the large building just there might be the science museum we’d seen on the map, but it was yet more arcade, etc, “family entertainment” instead. Past that, we found a theatre (for plays), and just in front of that were a couple of food vendors, including this Tibetan one! I’m interested in Tibet, so would’ve liked to try some Tibetan food – if only we hadn’t just eaten! Hopefully they’ll be there on our next trip.

We also got a better view of the maze we’d passed when we’d walked on the beach – which was in use! 🙂

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This sign vaguely amused us, so we snapped a photo of it. We were also very confused by this arrangement of bricks and fence. It’s as though there was an opening that’s now been bricked up, but that fence is only waist high or thereabouts, so it’d be a very short opening! Really wonder what happened there.

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We found some monuments …
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We were wandering back the way we’d come (except much higher), and on the corner (as it were), where harbor meets ocean, they’ve put a few monuments and a lot of benches. While snapping photos of them, I saw the rainbow! You can just see it in the left picture above and in the right picture below (you might need to look at the large version).

The statue is of Captain Cook, who gets credit for discovering Australia. He apprenticed in Whitby, was based in Whitby, and used Whitby-built ships for his three “voyages of discovery,” as the sign put it. I thought the coat of arms (?) on the front was really nifty.

I’m not sure what the other monument here is – it looks like a ship’s mast with a ship atop it. There wasn’t a sign, so your guess is as good as mine.

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The sky was very moody.

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The whale bone arch is impressive-looking, though a bit morbid: these are the jaw bones of a blue whale. The whaling industry was big in Whitby for many decades – I’m heartened that the sign tells us they used all the parts of the whale, at least. These bones came from Alaska – a twinning thing, I think (the sign is hard to read); Anchorage and North Slope Borough are credited. Apparently the original ones, erected in 1963, are preserved in Whitby Archives Heritage Centre.

From this corner we also had lovely views of the rest of Whitby – here’s the other side of the harbor.


We wandered away from the monuments …

…and the first thing we were struck by was this building that looks so very out of place. The word – Streonshalh – is the Viking word for Whitby, the internet tells us. It’s flats now, but I’d be shocked if it was built as flats. And look at it – it’s assymetrical. The bit on the left could’ve been an extension, but regardless, the rest of it is still assymetrical. Very strange. We can’t find anything else online about it, annoyingly.

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We saw this steam-powered bus go by! Delightful – and the friendly driver waved at us while we were snapping photos. It’s the Vintage Spirit. Then we found a bench to sit on and chill out, from where we saw the Board Inn. Chris didn’t realize it was spelled that way, and thought it was Bored Inn, and went on about it for quite awhile before I decided to correct him. Still, who does name their place that? Their website is entirely lacking in explanation, meh.

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We also had chance to admire St Mary’s Church and the ruins of Whiby Abbey, together with its 199 steps, and the many people going up and down them. Sadly, we were on the wrong side of the harbour and just didn’t have time to make that climb. Oh, shucks.

My friend Chris (a different one) tells me that next time, we have to climb up those steps and count them all, and when we get to the top, we’ll have the Whitby Wibbly Wobblies – since our legs will be ready to give out! Something else to look forward to … 😉

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Panning to the right, we see more of Whitby. After our rest on this bench, we’ll head off in that direction – you’ll see those pictures in the exciting conclusion, “Whitby, part 2”!