Up early as we were having a day trip to Whitby as a holiday. Got up early enough to get the bus to the station where the Whitby Coastliner leaves at 8.15am, and goes via Malton, Flamingoland zoo and funpark, Pickering, Thornton Le Dale, Goathland and Sleights. Whilst waiting in York met a very pleasent lady called Helen from Derby, and when all the teenagers got off at Flamingoland, we were able to chat with her.
Whitby at about 10.30 and set off for Shepherd's Purse, which has been a good veggie place for food and drinks, but the food and drink place is now seperate and is accessed from a passageway nearby, but we had a lovely coffee/hot chocolate break there. Then onto the main reason we were going to Whitby, according to our children, the 'lucky duck' shop where tiny glass ornaments are made. The lucky ducks have some old story behind them, I just think the story confers luck on the shop owners and workers, as they sell lots of them and make a living selling them. However they bring happiness to my little boys and they had a lucky duck and a serendipitous serpent bought for them by me. Gill was going to get one, and I said I wasn't going to as it's carbon footprint was too much for my low impact lifestyle, and suddenly Gill didn't want one either.
Climbed the 199 steps to the Church and Abbey, and went into the Abbey visitor centre cheaply as we'd got some money-off vouchers along with our bus tickets. I'd not been in the Abbey before, and it was beautiful, especially when the sun broke through the sea-fret. The boys were trying out a couple of point and click cameras, and got very enthusiastic about pointing and clicking. We had lunch, a simple picnic Gill had made, lovely in the warm sunshine and with the splendid view. Then down into the town again, over the swing bridge and to the beach. The tide was coming in, ideal for building sandcastles and watching them being engulfed. Lots of fun.
Then, as the beach was rapidly disappearing, we walked up the slipway and spotted a steam-powered charabanc, which was doing tours of the town. The boys were enthusiastic about a trip so we got on and paid up £8 for the pleasure of a ride in 'Elizabeth' a steam lorry converted to carry passengers. She consumes a third of a tonne of coal per day and spends most days going round Whitby giving tourists an unusual ride around, the noise being the weirdest thing about the experience for me. It was a circular tour so we were soon back where we started, so a walk out along the harbour wall was called for. The lighthouse was open for visitors, and as Gilly doesn't like heights, just the three of us went up. After a bit more exploring and watching the impressive waves crashing around, we went looking for food for tea, from a local bakers, greengrocers and co-op shop. There is just one chip shop in Whitby that we know fries in vegetable oil, so we got chips there and had them overlooking the harbour with our pastie, egg sandwich, flapjack and fruit. The 6.10 bus departure was coming soon but popped into the train station to check out the timetable for the new Pickering to Whitby service from the North Yorks Moors Railway which starts soon. We like the idea of getting a steam train into Whitby, perhaps later in the year, in Summer maybe.
The York-bound bus was busy but the journey went quickly as I chatted all the way to a couple of Americans who were visiting the UK for a few weeks. Lots of interesting chats, about politics and the church, habits and giving them up, carbon emissions and ethical living, international businesses and local goods and services. I may be hearing from Marsha again, I hope so as we got on swimmingly. We got off in Heworth and walked the mile or so to our house, arriving in at 8.40pm, tired but all very happy.