Bouncy Castle – Sea-front, Filey
I mentioned my new friend Trevor. I was just about to pay for parking at Flamborough Head when he hailed me from his lovely V-Dub and gave me an overnight ticket as he was about to leave. We got chatting about all things campervanning and life and he told me he and his partner Karen were from Worksop. He used to be a screw (can’t remember which prison) then took early retirement, went back on the plumbing tools for a while and finished up in catering. I hope he wouldn’t mind me saying he looked like he’d eaten a few of the pies.
But he was a great character, talking a mile-a-minute, full of joie de vivre and passion for travel. He showed me pics of some of the stealth-camping hot-spots. “Sorry to keep you,” he kept saying, then kept me. But after the shit day I’d had, his kindness, friendliness and wit were breaths of sea air. I’d found solace in a kindred spirit and one I know I’ll keep in touch with.
Nevertheless I still woke up next morning feeling down, so had a long walk on Bempton Cliffs, watching gannets soaring up and dive-bombing down in their avian cod war, then drove up the coast in search of more friendly faces.
My real friend Gaz had put me in touch with an old Grammar School mate called Rachel and I’d seen that she and her husband Stuart had started following my blog. He said they were up in Filey, running a seafront mini-fairground, so that’s where I headed, hoping my bearings both mechanical and cerebral were in order. I parked up, walked down the Ravine and spotted the bright yellow bouncy castle, which I later learned is visible with the naked eye from Bempton (on a clear day, which this was).
Unsung and overlooked Filey has a beautiful coastline with grand Victorian villas and bungalows nestled into its cliffs; I’d been here before in happier times and was hoping for cheer this time around. Even though I hadn’t seen her for 38 years I spotted and recognised Rachel immediately, approached her, and asked how much for a bounce.
“It’s you!” she proclaimed. After exchanging hugs and how d’you dos, we chatted about old times and I recalled that her tribe were legends, having appeared on TVs Ask The Family with Robert Robinson. Yes her family were world-famous at Nantwich & Acton Grammar School. She asked if I were staying over and though I’d planned to get up to Whitby, the offer of dinner, wine, music and chat was too good to turn down.
After a pint at the Cobble Bar then a very long walk down the beach in the sun, I drove to Rachel and Stuart’s place, a lovely rural semi. Getting reacquainted with Rach and meeting her husband was a pleasure, and their story of how they got together was the stuff of brilliant romance. Frankly I won’t waste it on this blog, but to summarise, the two of them fell in love notionally before they’d even met, then realised it on a long haul flight.
As we shared stories of travel and life, filling in the 38 years since school, it transpired there were lots of connections; both Rach and Stuart knew my brother Tez and there were mutual friends in Big Steve, Wakey and many others. To my shame it was clear that Rachel is much better at keeping in touch with old friends than I am.
Two other things struck me that night, a) though I’m not a doggy person, I made friends with their ten-year-old pooch called Poppy, who also took a shine to me, b) how I miss having a proper home and garden, and c) how lonely I’d been. It was such a pleasure to spend time with a wonderful couple so deeply in love, and enjoy a delicious meal in the power-house which is their state-of-the-art kitchen… it even had something called an Amazon Dot called Alexa, who would play any music you told her to, gave a weather report, up-do-date news, and if you went away for a week no doubt she’d feed the fish and water the begonias.
But of course all good things come to an end and, seeing they were knackered after a hard (yet no doubt lucrative) day at work, I retired back to the Ottermobile which I’d “stealth-camped” in their ample garden. It was a fabulous night, so welcome after a miserable couple of days, and I bedded down feeling up – people are so kind and just when you need them, there they are. Just like Rachel and Stuart’s bouncy castle, I am up then I am down. As I said to a barmaid in York the other day:
When I am up I am up
And when I am down I am down
And when I am only half-way up… ah you get the picture.