I love where I live on the North Yorkshire Coast. Scarborough has been my home for sixteen years now and it has provided the main inspiration for the setting in my books; the fictional seaside town of Whitsborough Bay. My husband is Scarborough born and bred.
We lived in town initially but now live on the outskirts. Scarborough has two bays – North and South – and we’re closest to South Bay but it would be a very long walk to get there so we’ve not been able to do that during lockdown. Besides, North Bay with the brightly-coloured beach huts is my favourite of the bays and that’s even further to walk.
Our nearest walking-distance beach is called Cayton Bay. There’s a lovely cliff-top walk overlooking the bay about 7-10 minutes’ from our house. I’ve done that walk a few times since lockdown and have shared photos of it.
Yesterday, hubby decided to walk down to the Cayton Bay. I didn’t accompany him as (a) I had too much to do before my return to work tomorrow and (b) I’m so unfit at the moment that I’m not convinced I’d have made it back up the cliff path without a winch! It’s very steep and it was a hot day. I therefore asked him to take some photos for me and I thought I’d share them.
Hope you enjoy hubby’s photos and your virtual trip to the beach. If you’d like to see more of his work, you can look at his images on his website here.
Our sprocker spaniel, Ella, has recently turned four and pictures of her as a puppy have been cropping up on my memories on my Facebook timeline. When we made the decision to have a dog – a first for me – I’d been working from home as a distance learning HR Tutor for over a year. I thought that having a dog to walk would provide the perfect excuse for a break from the computer, would give me a reason to leave the house each day, and would provide some much-needed exercise before my bottom expanded beyond the size of Brazil a la Bridget Jones. The reality was that my working day was too long and the dog-walking quickly became the responsibility of hubby who also works from home but has a job that is slightly less demanding on hours than mine. So the bottom did continue to expand and is now the size of South America, never mind Brazil!
At the start of lockdown, I resolved to get outside for a family walk with Ella each day, in-keeping with the government’s guidelines around exercising once a day and keeping a safe distance from anyone else doing the same. I managed a few walks during the first week and it was lovely but I hadn’t quite appreciated the impact lockdown would have on my workload. Students who have been furloughed or have sadly lost their jobs are at home with the opportunity to knuckle down and study, those who are still working are no longer going out on weekends or evenings so they’re studying too. And a stack of new students have enrolled. My workload has gone through the roof. I often struggled to fit writing around it and now it’s even more of a challenge. I know I’m fortunate that I still have my job – which is just as well because I am one of the self-employed who falls through the gap for financial support, being a sole trader who happens to be set up as a limited company – but I do long for an opportunity to pause and take a breath occasionally!
So I made a big decision that, this weekend, I was not going to work on the day job. I don’t mind working 12-14 hour days the rest of the week but I needed a break and I’m so glad we did this morning because the weather is stunning on the North Yorkshire Coast although a bit blowy on the clifftop as you can see from the photo above.
Hope you’re staying safe. Wishing everyone all the best and I’ll leave you with some of the photos I took earlier. The Yorkshire Coast welcomes you to visit and explore its beauty as soon as we’re through this but hope you enjoy a few photos in the meantime.
The Cleveland Way passes along the clifftop just 5-7 minutes walk from our house. We didn’t take the path down to the beach today but probably will do one day soon:
The north and south ends of Cayton Bay. We could see a few walkers down there. On the south side, there are some WWII ‘pillboxes’ that fell down the cliffs and embedded in the sand many years ago:
Ella found an abandoned tennis ball so had great fun running after that. We live on the housing estate just over that field in the middle photo and are so lucky to have this on our doorstep:
This bench fascinated me. It would once have had such a stunning view but it’s become somewhat overgrown over the years:
One of the gardens in the houses overlooking the sea has the most amazing treehouse in it. Would have loved a treehouse when I was a kid. Actually, scrap the kid bit. Would love one now! xx
Yesterday was day 1 of schools being closed in the UK (to most but not all children) and today was day 1 of ‘lockdown’. The PM hasn’t officially used that term and I know some people hate it but, to me, it makes sense. My immediate household is in lockdown because hubby and I are both self-employed home-workers who have no need to travel other than hubby going out shopping for basics for us and his parents (mid-70s and early-80s) who live locally. Unfortunately my parents live about 1.75 hours away so we can’t provide them with shopping support. (Sending love to you both xx)
Because we both already work from home, each with a spare bedroom as an office, very little has changed to our ‘normality’. If I stay off social media and avoid the news, I can actually believe that this isn’t really happening. And that’s no bad thing sometimes because, quite frankly, I’m scared. But this isn’t a doom and gloom post so I won’t expand on that. Let’s get back to lockdown in our house…
Even our 13-year-old daughter’s presence doesn’t scream of ‘different’ to us because we’re used to her arriving home from school late-afternoon and being in the house while we’re still working, and we’re used to having her here in school holidays while we’re still working. So everything feels pretty much business as usual. Sending my love to all those for whom this is a completely alien, those who are unable to work from home and are still going out to work, those who have found themselves out of work and, of course, those who work for any of the key services, especially the NHS/other healthcare services and food retailers (and all those involved in the supply chain).
Ironically, staying at home for me is probably going to mean I go out more. We have a dog – a 4-year-old sprocker spaniel called Ella – and she needs walking. Hubby normally does this and meets up with a group of dog walkers as I usually work long hours and can’t find the time. Obviously that can no longer happen.
We’ve decided to make a walk with Ella our daily exercise as a family, in-keeping with the PM’s guidance of staying with a family unit, going somewhere where there aren’t people, and keeping that distance when we encounter anyone. I need to do this daily because, if I didn’t, I would sit at my desk solidly, work from morning till bedtime and never get any air at all, not even in the garden. I know this because I am a bit of a workaholic (comes from having two jobs – day job and author) and have done that for most of the past 4 years. Even with that mentality, I did at least get out and about for some fresh air with the odd trip to the shops, a weekly piano lesson and a fortnightly get-together with my good friend and fellow-writer, Sharon Booth. The daily dog walk is to make sure we all get some air and exercise and so that my bottom doesn’t continue to expand whilst welded to my chair!
We’re very fortunate to live in a village on the outskirts of Scarborough, a short walk along a coastal road to Cayton Bay. There’s a loop we can take which is about an hour and we did that this morning. It’s such a lovely walk. We met very few people and, in the main, distance was maintained when passing anyone. There were a few muppets, though. Take the couple walking towards us with a large dog. We were about to cross the road when the man moved so we thought he was going to cross the road and that the woman and dog would follow. She stayed where she was, leaving us trapped with no choice but to walk between them. Social distancing not observed. What is wrong with people?
A little further up the road, a woman was out walking 4 young children, probably aged 6-10. She wasn’t paying any attention to them, walking in front, looking at her phone, while they meandered all over the place behind her. We tried to give them a wide berth but they got in our path. Clearly not been educated on what’s going on.
Then, on the home stretch along the coast, a woman sat in the middle of the footpath distracted by her phone while her kids ran about in the field next to her. We had to walk on the road to bypass her and then the kids ran out the field into our path. *Rolls eyes in despair*
Aside from those few numpties we did enjoy it and, if it wasn’t for the distinct absence of vehicles, you could believe that it was a completely normal day but the lack of vehicles, particularly on the busy main road into Scarborough (that we walk over), told a different story.
We walked through a bypass and I loved this sign drawn in chalk on the side. It hasn’t come out very well on the photos but there’s a rainbow at the end of it.
Wishing you all the best, wherever you are and whatever challenges you’re facing or worries you’re having right now. If it’s safe to do so, I hope you are able to get outside – if only for a short while or even just through an open window – to see the arrival of spring and find a little comfort from the flowers, blue skies and birdsong.