Pt 2 Meggy Cleggy Isn't Skeggy-Innocence At The Seaside pt 2
by, 10-05-09 at 09:24 (686 Views)
One shop, voted Cleethorpesís Most Interesting, was full of display cabinets with randomly priced coins, militaria, coarse figurines, broken Dinky Toys & at the very end of the meandering floor, round a double back corner, was a TV & video on a continuous loop. Not selling the usual magic cleaning product. No, itís all about how you could rent a display case & thereís no commission if you sell anything. Ebayish for the non-online. On the way out there is a huge collection of Snoopy mirrors hung on the wall behind the counter. Iíve not seen or thought about such things in decades, but there this high value merchandise is protected by the staff. There is Jadeís icecreams in a stand alone stone affair, & almost at the extremity of the strip is a highly dodgy looking Gulag donut shop in a modernist concrete bunker. Itís stunningly awful, so much so I took a picture of it with Heatherís phone & then scarpered in case it was the local drug bar. The earlier picture of the pier shows you the top & back of this fine piece of architecture.
Just a few doors along from this attraction is one the smartest twin red doored fronts Iíve seen outside Bath. Clearly freshly painted & perfectly executed. At the start of the gardens is a folly called Ross Castle. Built as an attraction by the Railway Company & named after its Secretary. It does indicate the height of the old walls, which are sadly fatally so, as one poor woman learnt to her cost in January this year. Investigations appear to be still on-going.
Another memorial, slightly further along, is to the airmen who protected the coast line during the war. There are wreaths still laid there & it remains untouched or scribbled on. Who cares really about the tack levels when we do these important things so very well? Well, actually, I think I do.
On the drive out to the slightly surreal green & rolling Lincoln Wolds, just past the packed mini-golf, we discover where the essential amenities of modern life have got to. A vast Tesco Express (which I thought were all mini-Tesco, but this one is mega), & McDís (on top of the old ABC cinema), KFC & various factory outlets all in one place. Nearly opposite is the Ďyouíre having a laugh soní expensive to get in rides & entertainment park, PleasureIsland, which is surely missing a trick as it looks unopen. Actually it looks like where the denouement by Ďthose pesky kidsí happens. Iíd expect it to have the kind of clowns that give small children lifetime complexes & a performing Sredni Vashtar. http://www.pleasure-island.co.uk/
In an ending, that was for us the beginning (but I didnít want for you to start where we did) your 1st encounter by road is coming down into Grimsby where thereís an air of working marine culture & it kind of briefly suggests at a promise of Northern Industry by-the-sea further on. Itís a setup. A yenormous whopper of a porky pie. My biggest WTF moment was finding out the backdrop to the resort of Cleethorpes. Where the locals live, which would be in part up in the clouds. In one of the 5 heavy tower blocks that dominate the skyline on approach from the West. Like Tower Hamlets on Sea, or Mousle twinned with inner ring road Birmingham. And preceding that, by way of softening you up, are endless mean & deserted looking streets with more rough clubs with handwritten signs that used to be someoneís front room than there are boarded newsagents. Arthur & Terryís Winchester Club would have been burnt down for being too grand. Every pub looks like they all offer Hospital Food with a Glasgow Kiss chaser. That isnít a bouncer at the door-thatís just a regular having a fag. Thereís reported rivalry between Cleethorpes & Grimsby, but this is bleak, barren & threatening, like from CheckPointCharlie to East Berlin 15 years ago. Itís a killing ground & no-one wants to be found in the open. Our seaside resorts have many old & odd things & part of the joy is coming across them, but the introduction to Cleethorpes isnít one of them. Weíve had people interpreting that George could have been a lesbian, Anne a bunnyboiler, Dick the rentboy, the ginger beer spiked & Timmy a former Crufts Champion that was thrown out for being too much of a dog, but weíd still accompany our Famous Five through the under-the-sea tunnels with their bicycle lamps. It didnít hurt for us to travel with the Pevensie children to Narnia, seeing Edmund scoffing the White Witches Turkish delight in return for ratting on his siblings, the vast battle across the Kingdom or that, if you might remember, there was a broken stone table, a neglected palace & some environmentally unsuitable ironwork of a lamppost incongruously stuck in the Forest. But I think we might have crept back through the wardrobe had the boyís swords been implicated in bloody stabbings in the dark, Susanís bow used as a sniper weapon & little Lucyís healing bottle being used to only treat the influential, with spoonfuls sold to the highest payers, who in turn diluted it & sold it on. And I think we might have taken up our bucket & spade & gone home from the picnic on the beach had we discovered a long lost manuscript in Ms Blytonís drawer for the 22nd in the series, that revealed that the Professor was really a Nazi sympathizer who had sold Kirrin Island to Goering & taking 20% of the proceeds of time share Eastern Bloc that was to be built over the castle. It makes my face burn to recall that I complained during my own childhood visits to delightful Shalden & very slightly but excitingly seedy Teignmouth on the Devonshire seaside. If you were bored there (& how on earth could I have been?) there are plenty of villages all along the coast & if the prospect of another perfect sandy beach is beyond your pail, itís a simple & short excursion inland to the easily reachable delights of jumping over the rocks at Dartsmeet or any other number of diversions. Thereís plenty of rural poverty juxtaposed with the pretty or dramatic views & commanding old buildings along our coasts. If youíre going to holiday in Cleethorpes, itís because youíve nowhere else to go & by gum our kid-youíd better enjoy it or itís PleasureIsland for you.
Next weekend Iíve penciled in Redcar, which both Heather & Derek assure me will be an Ďexperience.í Iíve decoded this & will be wearing my doggy clothes & most importantly of all, my hat.
PS In the interests of balance Iíve included some links below. Mind you it might be out of date as it seems to belong to a time when the BBC had a reputation for being fair & impartial to maintain. Woof, woof.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/31143726@N08/ (this is super-good eye & light & lennypip made a far more thorough investigation than I did. Still, none of the grubbier bits though.)
Idea & other stuff nicked from Holidays in Hell (Picador thirty): P.J. O'Rourke: Amazon.co.uk: Books
Final Note: Since writing this I've discovered a bit of a secret. If you go North by 30 miles or so you get to a stretch of coast that starts at Filey. That is where the magic starts & from then on up it just gets better & better. IMO round Whitby is just like the best bits of Cornwall, except better. And there's a belter of steam train that goes across the moors into there as well. And very best of all is that there's no fucking southerners in sight! Keep it schtum please. I never did make it Redcar BTW-Staithes was as far as I got & I always like to end a trip on a good 'un.