We potter around the caravan getting the toilet system up and running with the required liquids blue and pink, and get off for a walk around 4pm. Down on the beach we set off in the direction of Bempton Cliffs. In the distance we can see Gannets spiralling around the cliff face. Bempton Cliffs is a wonderful RSPB reserve atop a 300 foot chalk cliffs. Quite spectacular. At the right times of year you can see Gannets, Fulmars, Razorbills and Puffins. On the beach I make some images of old concrete structures gradually sinking into the sands and being eroded slowly by the sea. Apparently concrete never sets ! This coastline is steadily being eroded by the tides. There’s little anything can be done. Second World War pillboxes hastily erected from which we’d have shot at the Nazis as they stormed up the beach to buy their buckets and spades from the beach cafe are now sinking into the beach. Up on the cliffs and in the fields more pill boxes wait their fate. Time is an abstract concept.
Not an Anthony Gormley !
Harry my faithful Border Terrier rolls in something decomposed. Last time we were here he managed to sniff out a dead seal with which to sweeten himself up for the ladies with. This time it’s something similar but less recognisable. He stinks to hell and back.
When we get back my caravan neighbour from Preston has been in to Filey and had a new tattoo done. This one is on the front of his neck over his adam’s apple . It looks bright and fresh but without looking closely I can’t make out what it is. I might pluck up the courage to ask him If i can take his portrait. Since I would have thought most people have tattoos with the intention of them being seen by others I can’t see why he’ll object. Nothing to lose by asking except maybe a few teeth ? Now we know his name is Phil we find ourselves sandwiched between two Phil s. A Phil sandwich.
Later Phil on the other side kindly comes round with his TV and lets us test our aerial and booster box to confirm that we do need an updated digital setup for our own caravan.
The wife wishing she was in Rio for the Olympics !
Our very first caravan trip in our little Bailey Ranger 380/2. My goal was to tow it to Filey without mounting any curbs, hitting any bollards, knocking over any old ladies etc etc. I set off a bit too quick down Newbold with Kate pressing the imaginary breaks on her passenger side and clinging to the passenger door. By the time we’d got to the M1 I’d managed to slow down a bit and thus started getting used to the correct towing speed, breaking distances and slow accelerations. My passenger settled down and stopped shrieking instructions at me as well, bonus !
We got to Filey in about two and a half hours which was surprising as Kate pointed out that normally we get stuck behind caravans and it’s about the time it normally takes, probably because this time we were in front and cars were stuck behind us !
We’re at a small site at Reighton Sands, just around the bay from Filey itself. We’ve got a good view over the sea and today there’s a wonderful light summer breeze. Just right. Out neighbours in a Peugeot Motor Home are Phil and Sandra. They’re from South Wingfield just down the road from Crich Stand ( a few miles from our home ). Phil used to be a Textile Engineer and Sandra worked in a Benefit Office. Latterly they’ve worked for the Camping and Caravanning Club as site wardens. Now because of health reasons they cover for other wardens who need a break from the season. Phil has a ‘dodgy ticker’. They’re as nice a couple as you could wish to meet and I feel somewhat reassured that there’s an expert next door only too happy to share some hints and tips to this fresher.
Brenda the site owner is pleasant; we’ve stayed here before. When I phoned to book I told her we’d been before and she remembered Harry our Border Terrier. Her private garden has a largish Carp pond and an eclectic mix of character planters. Round the back she keeps hens and a couple of Indian Runner ducks which she tells me aren’t good for much at all. Nevertheless there’s an Indian Runner Duck Association based in Wales. Round the back there’s some large outbuildings which in the times I’ve been there I’ve never seen open so they might be some kind of weapons storage or drugs factory but are most probably caravan storage. Brenda’s not in the best of health. Managing the site since the death of her husband has not been easy and this could well be her last season.
I didn’t have a brilliant night’s sleep. My back was aching and my bed is about 5 inches too small. Worse, Harry spent the night on and off scratching his belly with his back leg drumming on the caravan floor. I had to apply some Sudacrem on him twice to get him to settle down. Kate has put him back on the Piriton today. She’s a bit upset I didn’t sleep too good in my first caravan night and has set about thinking a solution. It soon happens. By using the seat backs we can build an extension up from the floor and I can stretch out. I think it will work. I wake up at sunrise for a piss and as we’ve not got the cludgy water system working yet I step outside. The sun coming up over the sea is fabulous, all pinks and oranges and blues. I love these sea views.
My dog keeps licking his penis and making himself sick which is a bit disconcerting but the most inconvenience is that we have a very light coloured carpet and while the wife does a splendid job of cleaning the bile up with warm water and carpet mousse, inevitably there are an increasing number of feint stains which we can’t cover over with rugs and things. I’m hoping we can get a good ten more years out of this carpet when we might be able, with the help of a cash windfall, to afford another one. The dog seems to be going through one of his cycles which no dog book I’ve read cares to mention. Well it is moving on to spring, and he hasn’t been ‘done’ and so naturally his balls fill up and he does leak. Now I know, kind of, what it must be like to live with a bull elephant in heat. The wife has threatened him with castration or ‘ the cone of shame’ a plastic neck cone vets use to stop their charges licking healing wounds. My mate texted me about the dog’s penis licking, “well we’ve all done it mate ! “. It occurred to me to merge my other blog about my dog ‘The Harry dog blog – life with a dog,life with a border terrier’ with this one as I don’t get time to write on that one, concentrating my efforts on this. Well it’s my blog and if I want to merge a dog blog with a photography blog I bloody well will.
The Photography for Beginners course I’ve just been teaching as come to its end and once again I’ve had some good feedback: “Andrew was a great tutor who added great knowledge to my interest in photography”
” I have loved this and really enjoyed Andy’s teaching and would love to learn more about photography both using my camera and the art form in general ”
A mate of mine once said to me, ” ya know Andy there comes a point sooner or later when a person has to take responsibility for their own Education”. He was so right ! You never stop learning. Education should be about giving people the facts which are irrefutable and proven beyond doubt i.e. those scientific facts, as well as encouraging people to question and challenge what they think and others think what they already know. Education should not only encourage people to have opinions but to take responsibility for their own learning. People who think they have the answers are dangerous, especially those whose beliefs are based on religious teaching and doctrine. Damaged people are dangerous as well but that’s another discussion. The thing is, the more I learn the less I realise I know. The more I know, the less I understand. This believe it or not is one of the great facets of education and learning.
The works party. In order to supplement my photography I do some part time work. I can’t party like I used to. Age has caught up with me but I managed the three course meal of hors d’oeuvre , chicken ( the safest option ) and chocolate torte and some feeble dancing. The woman sat next to me, a guest of her friend, was a retired teacher. She had got out of teaching at sixty while she still had her sanity and before they had managed to bastardise her pension. The endless paperwork, meetings and Ofsted reviews had done for her. One time a five year old threw a television at her. No support from the parents either. In her early career she’d taught in Brixton, London where the black parents were very supportive of the teachers role. Latterly she’d been a supply teacher up in Nottinghamshire where the Primary school kids thought a supply teacher was a good excuse to riot. I wouldn’t recommend anyone go into teaching Primary or Secondary school these days. It’s not worth it.
A friend asked me to look at her camera which they couldn’t get working. Her son had been mucking about with it and she couldn’t get the flash up. I didn’t have my glasses on but I took it to the toilet and managed to get it in to Program Mode and force the flash on. It was one of those red compact cameras with anti red eye and all those other do it for you functions. I’m assuming most of the images taken will be on Facebook by now.
Fortunately as I wasn’t asked I managed to steer clear of talking photography. Most people think photography is just weddings, christenings and birthday parties. Their eyes glaze over if you tell them you do social documentary or landscapes just for fun of it when it comes around to them asking what you do. My favourite subject of conversation is my dog these days. My retired teacher friend told me of a story she’d heard on the radio. The radio dog expert told the listeners that you have to remember a dog is a dog and recounted a story of a woman who had a dog which slept with her in the bed ( not on it ). One night she’d felt a punch on her nose and woke up to find her dog had bit her nose off and eaten it. It then ran out of the room and the poor woman was pouring blood everywhere. The dog had been dreaming apparently and the woman was left nose less.
It’s only now that I look back on that time and realise that yes, I was probably quite depressed. Even now I’m not sure that I was and I still find it difficult to admit to myself. Some may say of course that I’d have known if I was, for sure. It wasn’t that I found it difficult getting out of bed in a morning and it wasn’t that I didn’t want to go out. On the contrary I did want to go out and I didn’t particularly mind where I went as long as I went somewhere. Talking and meeting other people wasn’t a problem either or taking photographs, my passion. I could do that all day, all week, all the time. If I was depressed it wasn’t the debilitating sort, and possibly although nobody close to me except the wife has stated it, realised I was. At least they didn’t let on if they suspected.
A lot of the time I was melancholy and tearful. When I wasn’t tearful and melancholic I’d be angry. Angry about everything. The state of the country, global warming, education, the National Health Service, bloody well everything. You name it, I’d be angry about it. All those things I felt powerless to do anything about I’d be angry and frustrated about. I was difficult to live with, that’s for sure. The wife would say something perfectly innocuous and I’d get upset about it, like she was having a go at me.She was walking on eggshells with me. I felt tired most of the time. Tired and useless. I felt that I ‘d gone through life and achieved absolutely bugger all. Nothing ! nada ! zilch ! There were times when I felt the wife, dog and all my friends would be better off without me, and I could see myself hanging by the neck from the loft rafters. The thing was I couldn’t articulate how I felt. I couldn’t talk about it because I just didn’t know what to talk about. I just didn’t want to talk. I wanted to be quiet, locked in my own thoughts and my own mind and the last thing I needed was to be kept asked “what’s the matter ?”. I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know. Call it the black dog, midlife crisis, the wind in the east… whatever ?
At the end of last year there came a point where I felt like I’d turned a corner and was on my way out of this particular valley. I began to laugh again, I felt like smiling and the smile came from within. It wasn’t superficial. I smiled with my eyes. This turning point came about the time of my mate’s funeral although I don’t believe this was the catalyst. It wasn’t this that brought me to my senses because I don’t believe a cure for this is about coming to one’s senses. It’s more than that. I came out of the service and just cried, openly and freely and in that there felt the beginnings of some inner relief.
Encouraged by the wife I got some Christmas work which enabled me to get out the house with a purpose. I met and made friends with some new people who were welcoming and helpful. I faced and conquered some new challenges and as a result felt much better about myself. My inner sun began to shine again. I should say that my own little dog was a life saver. He never once asked me what the matter was. As for the black dog, his coat began to gleam again. Black dogs can be beautiful.