ICE CREAM WITH DRACULA

We find ourselves in the coastal fishing town of Whitby today. We are closing in on Robin Hood’s Bay to the South and the weather has bounced back big style. Evidence of this claim can be seen in today’s instalment of photos posted to the “Gram”.

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We are both nursing several injuries and every meter is painful and unforgiving at the moment. There is not enough Advil on the planet to heal what aches. Yesterday found us battling the elements. Flooding was taking hold of the area and many roads were impassable.

My last hour in Stokesley took me by chance into the local high street fish and chip shop around 12:30. I ordered a modest lunch and stood at the bar facing out towards the village green.  I was quite “taken” by this vista as it is now home to many gypsy caravans. The proprietor “Paddy” was a wonderful man who was extremely welcoming and friendly. Paddy is from Northern Ireland and at the point he found out Dale and I were off to NI later this month Paddy morphed into a human trip advisor.  He described the many places and sights to visit upon our arrival which was hugely appreciated.

Paddy gave me a cup of Tea on the house and we chatted about past and present in his home town of Belfast. As usual of late I parted ways with a new friend, much more informed and much wiser than I was prior to this chance meeting.

Three miles down the road I walked into the Bay Horse Pub in Great Broughton. I was a little lost and had no cell coverage. I approached the bar and inquired with the young girl working behind it if she had ever heard of Maltkiln House B&B somewhere south of Clay Bank Top. She unfortunately had never even heard of Clay Bank Top.

She did however offer to google it and call the proprietor for me. That was soon sorted and several minutes later I was in the company of Jerry. I could and probably will go on and on about Jerry and his lovely wife Wendy.

Maltkiln house was built in 1654. A farm house in the Billdale valley. Jerry is a retired academic who has lived in the home for more than forty years. During that time he has lectured and researched at numerous universities around the world. An eclectic couple with a genuine love of hosting folk from around the globe on the C2C walk. Jerry and I sat beside the electric fire for several hours in the guest annex (former pig sty) discussing local history, local and national politics, his views on feminism and as a result my brain was overflowing with new information.

Dale soon called and Jerry took off to collect him as well. Wendy gave me a rundown of the evenings meal and we decided to sit down around seven o’clock. Dale got in, showered, warmed up and then we wandered down the stairs to dinner.

We were met by Jerry and three glasses of dry sherry before dinner began in Earnest. Jerry explained to Dale that the oak beams exposed in his 400 year old house was the same English oak that was used in the construction of the Royal Navy’s fleet that battled the French and Spanish Navy with great success. Jerry attributes the composition of English oak to its ability to repel the opposition’s canon balls.

With Dinner over, three courses and a bottle of South African Cab Sav, we retired to the lounge. On channel four this evening was excellent coverage of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. It was hosted by Prince Harry who quite sincerely spoke of his experiences with the spitfire and hurricane.

Harry in fact quite rightly gave up his seat in today’s flyover to a 97 year old retired Wing Commander that flew 137 successful missions in WWII. Really moving telly. We transitioned to BBC 1 for more quality entertainment. Soon after bedtime came. Wine done. Sleep.

We woke this morning to find that Wendy had washed and folded our laundry and breakfast was ready. Breakfast was followed by a local geology, geography and history lesson from Jerry. He lectured us on a host of things but two of the topics that stand out were the genesis of the widely used British terms “jet black” & “taking the piss”.

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Look it up, I implore you!

Cheerio from Whitby.

“Home port of Captain Cook and the Abby famed in the book Dracula written by Bram Stoker on a holiday here many years ago.”

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