As regular readers will probably have realised by now, I love living here in North Yorkshire, largely because I spent four of my most impressionable teenage years between the ages of fourteen and eighteen at the convent boarding school of St. Hilda’s in Whitby. It’s hard to say why the place has left such an indelible impact upon my psyche, but I’ve always felt that Whitby is my spiritual home. Perhaps it has something to do with the fresh air or the gorgeous countryside that surround the small town. Maybe it has something to do with nuns. I’m only half-joking there!
On Saturday evening we decided to drive up to Whitby to get some fish and chips, the intention being to purchase them at our favourite F&C shop (Mr Chips, over on the Abbey Side) and the wander along the sea front with meal in hand, watching the waves and the setting sun.
Now, as I learned long, long ago during my sojurn at boarding school, there is one thing that cannot be relied upon up here in the frozen North and that thing is the weather.
There are plenty of times when the weather in Whitby is absolutely fabulous – bright, sunny, sparkly summer days are more frequently experienced than one might think. I’ve spent many such days in the town, cheerfully enjoying the delights on offer.
But when it’s cold in Whitby… my goodness! It is C.O.L.D.! The wind whips in from Norway, hurtling at full pelt across the fifty shades of grey that is the North Sea, collecting icy water-bombs as it travels. Then, as it smashes into the cliffs that host the town of Whitby, unbridled blasts of the coldest cold thing that your imagination can come up with when you’re in an Arctic wind-tunnel wearing little more than a muslin t-shirt and a pair of thongs (knickers to us from Yorkshire … I just said thongs ‘cos then folks can use their imaginations more freely if they wish!) and someone throws algific, glacial substances in your direction with the Force of Thor, you might get some idea of how very, very cold it can feel.
So guess what the climate was like on Saturday for our little jolly on the beach?
Did you think it might not be cold?
Very, very cold.
So cold that as we chattered and shivered our way round to the fish shop, turning a brighter shade of blue by the second, a hasty decision to eat in (the attached restaurant) was made. Phew!
Then we almost stumbled over a couple who were clearly having the same conversation that my hubby and I were having.
‘MY GOODNESS!!! It’s jolly cold tonight dear!’ Said Mrs Duck to Mr Drake.
‘Perishing in fact I’d say!’ Mr Drake replied.
‘Can we just hang on here for a moment whilst I brace myself for the wind… you can stand in front if you don’t mind my dear’ Mrs Duck made it clear that not another step would be taken until the wind had died down a measure or two.
The funny thing is that the Whitby Lucky Duck shop is just around the corner from where these two were sheltering from the wind. It’s remarkably famous, around the world (so they tell me) with all sorts of people as the source of a lucky amulet to protect oneself from mishaps. I’ve bought many a Lucky Duck for family and friends and currently own five of my own.
Perhaps these two were a pair of Whitby Lucky Ducks.
Or, maybe not!