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"Oh, I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside"

Checking Out Bridlington while Checking In on the Folks

sunny 5 °C

From my first moments in Bridlington, it became clear that my parents are implicated in Emma’s conspiracy to fatten me up before the wedding. Arriving close to one o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, I was transferred immediately to a nearby public house for a massive, traditional Sunday lunch of succulent roast beef, crispy yorkshire pudding, and roast potatoes. I’m sure there were some vegetables involved too, but I was far too busy cramming everything else in my mouth and washing it down with jugs of beef gravy to notice. When the feasting was done, I squeezed myself into the back of the car for the short drive back to Brid thinking that I still had three weeks to go until the wedding. If I just stop eating now, there’s a chance – albeit a small one – that I could still look half decent in my bridesmaid dress.


But back in Bridlington, signs of the familial conspiracy continue to manifest themselves, and I’m surprised my folks could open the front door to the house, as filled as it was with all my favourite temptations installed - en masse - specifically for my visit: maltesers, party rings (british cookie), marshmallows, chocolate raisins, jaffa cakes, quality street (british chocolate assortment designed to remove all crowns/fillings etc in one sitting), crunchy nut cornflakes, fondant fancies, and the most decadent chocolate cake you can imagine. Bear in mind that my visit was for about 60 hours and you’ll understand my predicament. Between them, my Mum and Dad had amassed enough sweet stuff for 60 years. I resign myself to getting to work and doing the best I can, not wanting to offend anyone (hey, it’s a hard job, but I’m up to the challenge…).

The good news is that I found myself wide awake at 2am on Monday, so that gave me an unexpected additional five hours or so to work on the stash of goodies and STILL leave me with an appetite for brekkie. Monday is a designated rest day but after a perfect breakfast of crunchy nut cornflakes and an Aberdeen rowie, the three of us headed off to Scarborough for some Christmas shopping.

An Aberdeen roll (aka buttery, rowie) features large amounts of butter and lard, to which you add - when toasted - more butter! Sounds disgusting. Tastes yummy, but only to former Aberdonians.

My Dad, fearful of a “I went to Brid and it was boring” type blog, insists on taking me out for the day and showing me the sights on Tuesday. With the 'wrong' kind of weather, this could have been the worst day of my life, but the weather surprises us both by offering up a cloudless blue sky, and a quick tour around town reveals a Bridlington I hadn’t had the opportunity to enjoy before: an historic downtown area complete with a 17th century high street that so perfectly matches the stereotype that it could – and I believe has – been used in many a period drama. But Bridlington is a fishing port and a seaside resort, so we have little time to waste today away from the water.


Parking a few miles out of town, we walk a mile or two further down the beach. The tide is out – far out - revealing one of the widest and cleanest beaches I’ve ever seen. The combination of clear blue sky and icy air seems to prolong the golden yellow veneer normally enjoyed only by the early risers. But today we enjoy it for hours, and almost all to ourselves, save a few dog walkers, one kite-flyer and a handful of men with buckets and spades patrolling the sand closest to the sea. The sky may be blue but the icy air is vicious, and we have to walk briskly from time to time to keep warm.

Dad walking along the beach.


Within the last few days, millions of mussels have been dumped at the high-tide mark, leaving a two-metre thick band of dark blue along the top of the beach. We missed what must have been a ferocious but joyous feast among the seagulls as all that remains is countless empty shiny shells that crunch underfoot.


At the opposite end of the beach, closest to the breaking waves, there are a handful of welly-clad men with pitch forks and buckets. Dad suspects they’re looking for lug-worms and we wander over for a closer inspection. Sure enough, these guys are collecting worms to be used as fishing bate. One young fisherman explains that he uses many of the worms himself, but that he could earn 70 to 80 british pounds (that’s about a million US dollars) a day selling a catch of 150 or so worms. That’s real money! But to be fair, it’s physically demanding work. First, you need to find the tell-tail sign of worm-life: a round squiggle in the wet sand about an inch in diameter. Next, you dig down a couple of feet – hard work in the tightly packed, wet sand - looking for the tunnel that houses the worm. Many times, you’ll fail to find the tunnel and move on. But, if you’re lucky, the tunnel will lead you to the prize: fat, giant worms about six or seven inches long. Our chatty young fisherman happily retrieved one from his bucket to show us. When he told us that they’d spit their own guts up if you don’t handle them correctly I took more than one step back…

Collecting worms. You can see the mounds of sand he's left behind him and, in the distance, Bridlington.

Further down the beach, we head back to the high-tide line to take a closer look at dozens of large concrete blocks placed here during the second world war. Dad explained that this beach was considered an attractive – even likely - landing target for invading German forces during WWII. The invasion never materialized, of course, but I can report that Bridlington was - and remains - ready!


We wandered back into town for - well, it just had to be - fish and chips! In addition to being a popular seaside resort, Bridlington is one of the largest fishing ports in the north east, so the cod was so fresh it was practically still twitching as it was battered and thrown into the hot oil.

Nothing like fish and chips by the British seaside!

Not quite as large as the London Eye, Bridlington's Eye on the Bay is currently closed amidst funding issues.


It being December, Bridlington's seafront attractions were mostly closed, but we walked along the front to the fishing pier where a number of young boys were monitoring multiple fishing reels strung over the edge. The tide was on its way back in, but dozens of boats in the harbour were still sitting in mud. Ducks nestled in the mud, enjoying the warm glow of the sun while small birds explored this morning's lobster traps and fish nets, hoping to find an abandoned scrap of ocean bounty.


After a quick refreshment at Dad's local, we headed home where Mum was working on my next compulsory feeding (looking semi-decent as a bridesmaid is increasingly unlikely but you can see it isn't my fault...). So, as the aroma of garlic and rosemary infused roasted lamb wafted from the kitchen, I worked on updating software on my parents' computers.

Caught in the act: food-for-IT-support scandal.

My Bridlington visit culminated with a delicious roast dinner with, you guessed it, more roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding and gravy. Thanks, Mum!


After an awesome visit to Brid where I was re-acquainted with the comforts of home, I'm heading off to Cairo tomorrow to catch up with Lloyd and his brother.

Posted by jacquiedro 07:13 Archived in England Tagged round_the_world

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