Sunday, 13 October 2013

Bats, hands and stairs.

I'd had enough of tramping it, so decided I should camp for the night.

After I left the beautiful view, one which the owner didn't appreciate, I continued through the Yorkshire Moors. Finally, at 7pm, I stumbled on a campsite. It was £10 for the night. I could handle that. Yes, I had a mini-breakdown, but he didn't need to know that.

After picking a good location, I setup my tent. I did a good job. I had to, I was representing every black person on the planet. Unless of course there was some other reason everyone was staring at me. Maybe they'd never seen such an awesome tent before? I took the opportunity to shower and wash my dishes. The only charger available was in the shower block. Just leave it there whilst you're showering, said the owner. I tried very hard to not laugh in his face. You can take the Londoner out of London, but we'll never trust the countryside. A woman offered to charge Nexy in her 'pod cabin'. Slightly better. I managed 2 hours, before I couldn't handle the stress any more. Minding my own business, on the way back to my tent, I was attacked by a bat. OK, so technically (I've been assured), the bat wasn't trying to kill me. Yes, I was mildly screaming, and yes, everyone was looking. In my defence, it flew round me THREE times. It's not the bats you have to worry about, shouted the neighbouring human, it's the deers and foxes. He pointed to the forest. Great. My damn tent was a mere 20ft from the woodline. Note to self, trees are not fun in the night time.

I had my first experience of midges. Tiny little flies, even smaller than fruit flies. The major difference to our, beloved, fruit flies, is that they bite. Yes, that's right. Tiny flying bastards from hell. I got bitten twice. Apparently they're attracted to dark clothing. Midges, the goth nemesis.

After surviving the night, I continued my northward quest. Today I discovered Whitby. Very nice town, overlooked by the ruins of Whitby Abbey. Ruins is hardly the word to describe it. The scale, the magnificence, the sheer determination. It's awe inspiring. I walk around these places and feel a sense of connection. I'm an atheist, yet cannot help but feel their devotion. Imagine how much they had to believe in God to sacrifice so much for him. Speaking of the sky fairy, I went into the adjoining church. One of the few, if not the only church, to still have boxed in pews. Each box, had two rows of pews [benches for the uninformed]. Each had varying levels of opulence. Outside each door was a sign, dictating who was to sit there. Most had names - Smith, Edwards etc. Those to the left were marked strangers. And at the back, with bare wooden pews was the free box. For those too poor go to church in style. Oh how I love the Roman Catholics. It was in the church, that I found out what Whitby was also famous for. The 199 stairs. Leaving the church, I stood at the top and looked down onto the town below. It was beautiful, separated by a river flowing horizontally, a large metal bridge to the left, and the alluring view of the winding streets ahead. Mesmerised by the view, I descended the stairs and delved into the depths of the tourist trap. Quaint, period shops, around a twisted cobbled alley. It was crammed full of gifts, both tacky and tasteful. Scores of jewellers, specialising in local jet. Jet is a black stone, which almost seemed to sparkle when polished. They were extremely expensive. Shockingly expensive. For that price it should be gold, expensive.

I moved on in search of a snack. Mmmmm, a sweet shop. The longest laces I've ever seen, fizzy, plain and all those in between. Green ones, blue ones, rainbow ones! So many laces. I was in sweetie heaven, and I was only looking in the window. I walked in. He was giving a customer change. He proceeded to serve the next customer. That one, she asked. He picked it up. Two of them and three of them. He picked them up too. He put them into a bag. She handed him £5 and he gave her £4 change. Next customer. Mmmmm, I stepped back and gestured for the next person to take my place. I couldn't eat them. Have you figured it out yet? If not, let me enlighten you. He was using neither gloves, nor tongs. This big, sweaty beast of a man was using his bare hands to pick up the sweets, handle money and in between wiping them on the back of his trousers. I went to the shop next door and bought a Snickers.

I explored some more and watched the swing bridge open. Two large boats went through. I searched for saveloy and chips. Found fried everything else, but no saveloys. They had red sausages. I asked what they were. The counter woman didn't know. She asked the cook. He didn't know. Turns out, no one in the whole place knew what they were. I'll just have chips then please. Chips eaten and diet coke drunk, I decided it was time to go home. Home being Oz. And that was the moment I remembered the stairs. One hundred and ninety-nine bastarding stairs. I began. By the time I reached 80ish stairs I'd given up counting. Now, it was time to concentrate on survival. There were periodic benches, welcoming the lazy and infirm. Encouragement. I will make it. At this point, I was struggling towards the next bench. I sat down just as two pensioners walked past. Dammit. I had to get up. I finally reached the car, and spent the following 5 minutes, astonished I'd made it to the car.

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