There’ll be some great cycling coming to this coast in 2016; The second running of ASO’s Tour de Yorkshire will finish to the south east of here in Scarborough and the Road Nationals will be held to the north west in Stockton but it’s December and next summer still seems a long way away so no need to start worrying about where you’re going to watch those quite yet..
There’s some questionable public art around nowadays but these wrought iron seaside postcards on Redcar’s seafront make me smile. They’re fun and colourful, nostalgic yet optimistic, tell stories of the town and just seem right for the setting. Here then is the whole set, from North to South, bandstand to lifeboat station. Yes, that is a penguin in front of the steel works. No, I don’t know either.
Making time stand still eating ice cream in the chilly lightlessness of the North Sea coast on a back end of December afternoon where nobody except the person you’re with amounts to any more than an anonymous silhouette against the surf, the place you are walking toward never seems to get any closer and the sky and the sand and the sea reflect each other into comfortable indistinguishability.
To Saltburn, where some go to throw their ball in the sea for their dog to fetch it, some to throw their dog in the sea for their kids to fetch it and some to throw themselves in the sea for the surfer dude lifeguard guy to fetch them, for a multi-tasking Saturday of walking and eating ice cream both at the same time. I think warm autumn days like today, when a few of them occur in short succession, become what is known as an indian summer but given that the guitar playing lift operator at the top of the cliff was practicing I believe in Father Christmas
in his little victorian kiosk whatever the weather may be doing to encourage folks to think back a month or two it is clear which direction some of us are thinking now…
It’s been a long hard year watching cycling on the telly so in search of a little R&R and some amelioration of my resulting vitamin D deficiency we packed the tartan rug in the morris minor, filled the thermos with bovril and headed for the seaside. The beach may not be much suited for bike riding but the sand and salt provides a welcome feeling of familiarity to a bike rider dragged from the North East’s winter roads, the collars of passers by turned up against the relentless wind provide the friendly reassurance of a home from home at every step and there is coffee and cake, which is pretty much all I need to be offered to be pursuaded to do anything. The beach is also known for it’s movie set looks, a little stretch of the east coast of England which will be forever France
and any bike rider is a sucker for anything with a whiff of the continental. There is a feeling of space at the seaside too, except when you forget to check the tides and the sea is washing up against the foot of the dunes. You can stand and look out to sea and wonder if there is someone standing on a similar beach in Denmark looking back at you, thinking of Kierkegaard, The Killing
, and whether they left the gas on. The space offers the chance of shaking off the past, of starting afresh, of faking your own disappearance and claiming the insurance
. It is particularly at this time of year when christmas lights are being turned on, children’s faces are pressed to department store windows
and grown up begin to realise that they are never
going to clear everything that is on their desks before the 24th that we need to get out under the sky in search of guidance and so it was that lo, we did look to the heavens and the light of the Wilton flare stack
did guideth us home, and it was good.