Thursday, 29 July 2010

Day Trip To Whitby: Winkles And The Broken Bridge

"You can pick me up tonight on the road out of Whitby, driver," ordered one of the club members. "I'll be either lying on the grass or if you cannot see me I'll be lying under the hedge.

Traffic was worse than I remember from the last time I was in Whitby. It is a beautiful place with history, culture, a thriving fishing industry and as the people in Torquay named daytrippers in the 1960's........grockles. The grockles had doubled in size too since my last visit, to American proportions. It was typified when I was forced to stop at a pelican crossing to watch a man and a woman in mobility scooters cross the road simultaneously. The man was very old but light framed, wearing a smart tweed jacket and cap. He shot across the road. The woman was much younger but resembled a barrel of lard. Her scooter struggled, even on the flat bit. When it came to the small pavement ramp it gave up the ghost trying haul this great weight and other pedestrians had to push.

Looking around the shops, there was little in Whitby to encourage slimmer bodies. Everywhere smelt of frying. Doughnuts, fish and chips, burgers, even the ice cream smely of fat. I managed to find some winkles. I thought they tasted good but just as I had finished the last one, a local Yorkshireman decided to stick his oar in:

"I hope you were careful where you bought your winkles," he grinned. "Some places are unscrupulous and tend to pick them close to the sewer pipe." (Two days later, I am writing this and I'm still alive.)

It was fascinating sitting and eating my winkles by the broken bridge. Whitby has a swing bridge which opens to let boats up the river. It had stuck in the open position and was awaiting a spare part from somewhere in Europe. In the meantime there was a buzz about the place as people queued for the lifeboats and other craft who were charging £1 a head to transport people across the river. If this goes on for a long time, I thought, they will be able to buy a new lifeboat on the proceeds.

The return trip was uneventful at the start. One of the club members, sitting close behind me insisted on farting at regular intervals. Unpleasant ham and pease pudding lingerers. The trouble with driving a bus is that you cannot escape these appaling aromas bar sticking your head out of the side window. The others slept.

I saw one of the other buses parked by the side of a dual carriageway, in the gateway to a large stately home. I stopped to see if anything was wrong, only to find it was for the usual 'piss stop'. When I looked back at my bus, all my passengers had unloaded too and were peeing up against the hedge of one of the lodges.

Holy s**t, I thought. Let's hope the residents are not looking out of the window. They might call the police. Then again they were probably used to large vehicles stopping and using their drive as a public convenience.

I tried to get them back on the bus as soon as I could. You could hear the tyres screeching as we left.

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