Thursday, 14 May 2015

A man of simple pleasures

Scarborough, 2010

Richard iii's house
King Richard iii
 The picture on the right is the house Richard iii stayed in during his life in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. I took the picture on my last trip to my homeland in 2010-the picture is identical to one I had on a child's viewing toy - apart from the modern cars.

Scarborough 2010
 The trip I took was to be a remembrance, and a farewell to a lovely lady I knew in Lac La Biche, Alberta. Faye died the winter before I took the trip, and I was never able to say my goodbyes to her- to this day, I feel I let her down, I wasn't there when she wanted me - nobody else feels the same way. A few years earlier I had tickets for the Scarborough jazz festival, but owing to a family row, I had to cancel the trip. After that, the desire to go grew more intense.  I was very grateful the Lord allowed me this trip, the next year my tendon tore, and left me disabled. Another aspect which came into play is I developed a phobia of main line trains, caused by seeing videos of people slipping off platforms and under trains. True, the first was of a drunken lady, but if my ankle failed me it could have been me. 

My wife queried the small amount of money I took with me, but as I said to her, I'm going on a working holiday, and I never go in the arcades. The main draw on my limited money was my dongle; I had arranged to chat via webcam with a former friend in South Carolina, a deal she never fulfilled. This arrangement cost me about $80 over the four day trip because the guest house had no internet connection. The other big draw was my camera, I didn't realise until I got back, I'd been using the wrong batteries, I had to replace the batteries every day, not once a week. 
Could I have wanted more money to spend? Sure, but if I hadn't had to waste my money on a futile chat, and had realised my error about the batteries earlier, my money would have done more than I wanted. 
Did I miss anything? Yes, if I hadn't wasted that money I could have fulfilled a life-long wish to see an Alan Ayckbourn play at the Stephen Joseph theatre The one on at the time featured one of my favourite British actresses, the lovely Liza Goddard Even though I missed the chance of a lifetime, I still have fond memories of my last trip, and don't think there was much I left undone- my main wish to return was fulfilled.

I got into a system - caused by my disability - I would go out after breakfast for a couple of hours walking, then return for coffee, and a spell of writing. After a couple of hours rest, I would repeat the walk, and write during the afternoon. During the weekend I wrote my two earliest ghost stories The ghost of St. Mary's and The rocking lantern The photos on the covers of these books were taken by me. I used the story of a Yorkshire pirate - John Andrew -from Saltburn-on-the-Sea in my book Sea ghosts . This story won third prize in a Facebook writing contest in 2011, despite the contest being hacked twice by a jealous lady I knew. Last year I used my trip as the foundation for my last novella A Sailor's Love I also based my award winning e-book Chronicles of Mark Johnson loosely on the Scarborough area. The ill-fated third book in the series was to have been set on a town based loosely on Whitby, but the book got shelved. 
After my evening meal, I would spend a few hours calmly sitting in the park watching the sunset, and feeding the waterfowl. In all my years away, Peasholm Park had not changed, I'm pleased to say. Unlike many seaside venues, the town had changed little. True, there were the arcades I recalled from my younger days - I had long ago kicked that habit. The new shopping centre was like many across the country, but the house I stayed in was in the non-tourist section, not far from the park, and the area was beautifully calm.

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