My new dream, is to move to Scarborough, North Yorkshire, and to dedicate my life to painting, writing, and creating in my studio with views of the sea. Also, to be constantly singing Scarborough Fair. My children may tell you that I am already living that musical fantasy.
Just over a week ago, in inclement weather, with semi-healthy children, I drove for 7.5 hours straight north, through traffic congestion, to reunite with my partner who had ditched us for 2 weeks of work (of all things) in Scarborough. I don't regret it. Not since PEI, have I been so besotted with a place. During my time living on the East Coast of Canada, I was able to visit Prince Edward Island multiple times (including Green Gables, much to my partner's delight). I am in love with the ocean, rugged shorelines, and friendly people. Northern England feels much the same.
Our journey to Scarborough was sponsored by Starbucks drive-throughs. I lost my eldest son for the longest 2 minutes of my life in a rest station because one of the twins needed to poop and one of the twins needed to run around the ladies washroom switching on all the hand-dryers and laughing maniacally. My eldest doesn't suffer fools, and refused to stick around for such malarky. Somehow, our car went from clean (honestly) to cesspool in one day, which is quite an accomplishment. The men who will clean the interior and exterior of my car for £20 at ASDA, without complaining, are angels on this earth. Someday, I will give them a medal with that £20 note to commend them for going above and beyond the call of duty whilst cleaning my disgusting car.
During our neverending drive, somewhere around Nottingham, Mr. K decided that he was finished with sitting in the car, and he opened the car door as we were zooming along the M1. No one died, but my heart may never recover. It wasn't all bad, we discovered a really crappy Burger King, just outside of York, and ordered burgers to eat in the car (our second burgers of the day, as we had McDonalds for lunch). I realized that we were absolutely not going to make it into Scarborough before suppertime, as planned, and sometimes, you run out of options and just need to feed your kids. After telling the boys that we were almost there -for hours I told them this lie, and distracting them with singing along to La La Land, Snacktime by the Barenaked Ladies, and both Guardian's of the Galaxy Soundtracks, we finally arrived in Scarborough, in the dark, despite severe weather warnings flashing above us on the highway. We didn't even get out the tablets (no screens)- which makes me feel like a hero. Mr. L did complain that he couldn't tell his crayon colours apart in the dark, but he somehow survived this hardship as well.
Thank you to the Crescent Hotel for being so lovely (I highly recommend), and for bringing me this Ploughman's (lunch) at 8 pm. This was followed by a bath in a lovely clawfoot tub, you know, the ones that *"look like they want to dance?" Never have I felt more deserving of delicious cheese or more in need of a pedicure, then when I took this photo.
Some further miracles, our kids, for the most part, SLEPT. In the hotel. Where we were all in the same room. This is a first for us. I did sleep one night on a pull out bed for one, whilst my eldest enjoyed a cuddle with his dad in the big bed, because, that is what being a parent is all about. Poor sleep and sacrifice. After a delicious, but not relaxing (ADHD times) breakfast at the hotel, we were out and ready for adventuring. Hoping that our boys would trust us after cramming them in a car for an entire day and then tricking them into tasting Marmite for the first time at breakfast (apparently it tastes like boogers), we proceeded to walk toward the beach against gale force winds, intermittent snow, and temperatures reaching as low as -19 Celsius.
It was a freezing wintery beautiful day. Everything looked breathtaking with a dusting of snow on all the green, framed by the choppy sea all around. I LOVED it. The boys did have fun, gallivanting about Scarborough Castle, when they didn't remember how cold they were. It was also difficult to yell instructions at them over the wind and through their hats and hoods. So basically, our children's lives were saved, once again, by fences. Thank you England, for being so thorough, and building fences around every conceivable thing. Sometimes, I pretend that I don't like all these fences, but if I am being honest with myself, I might now be addicted to them. How will I take the boys anywhere in Canada with no fences? I might have to put leashes on my children, who are all too old for **leashes.
A highlight of the trip for me was to visit Anne Bronte's grave at St. Mary's Church. Much like visiting Lucy Maud Montgomery's grave in PEI, it was a personal pilgrimage. Some books have touched my soul so deeply, that they have actually changed my life and helped shape my character. The Anne of Green Gables series were such books, as were all the books by the Bronte sisters. The Bronte sisters had ***short lives, Anne died at the age of 29. She was unwell, likely with tuberculosis, and was visiting the seaside in hopes to improve her health, when she passed away with her sister, Charlotte, by her side. Her death was preceded by that of her brother Branwell, sister Emily, and years earlier her mother and other siblings that did not survive infancy. It was difficult time to be alive, I cannot imagine all that loss.
Scarborough castle and St. Mary's church are located atop quite a steep hill, with cliffs to the sea surounding. It's a tiring walk, especially with the wind in your face. I am quite proud of my little ones for being such troopers and adventuring with their parents. It seems that there are others who have suffered for this experience, as I found on tripadviser.co.uk. Fred H from Diggle, UK, writes, "It is a hard climb for wrinklies but the wife wanted to see the Bronte grave when the wife says climb you climb." Incidentally, Fred rated the experience 4/5, so he must have enjoyed himself in the end.
Scarborough, pronounced "Scarbrah," by the locals, I love you. Every view is beautiful, I ate the best Scampi of life (of the fresh lobster variety), I met a quite intoxicated friendly lady who complimented my accent multiple times (a first), and I definitely didn't want to leave. But we did say goodbye, and we left Daddy for one more week of work, as we drove home in the tail end of a snowstorm. The drive home was ****sponsored by Krispy Kreme doughnuts, as this was the only food available for me to purchase quickly with grumpy children (one who was sick in his British pants multiple times), and exceedingly disagreeable Englishfolk out driving in the snow (it snowed significantly more than pictured above, my Canadian friends). The M5 was down to 2 lanes in many places and a busy services on a snowy Sunday is not a place that you want to be.
Someday I will be back Scarborough. Maybe I will be goin' to Scarborough Fair, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Remember me, to one who lives there. She once was a true love of mine.
*Mr. L quote.
** Is it more politically correct to call them reigns? I really don't know. And YES, I have used them before. Safety first!
*** Life expectancy was also much shorter during the period and in the area of England that the Brontes lived.
****I'm not actually sponsored by anyone or anything, but I am also not opposed to the idea.
This post is dedicated to Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel.