Thursday, December 26, 2013


Though there are no photos, a daily reminder  to myself of what we have done. Xmas Eve was sunny, as was yesterday.  We went up the 199 stairs, and I sat for a while on one of the 'coffin rests' musing that if you were a coffin bearer in the 19th century and died of a heart attack going up the stairs than the best thing to do was leave the body up at the church and just bring an empty coffin for burial.  Arriving at the top, we went inside to see the decorated christmas trees.  St.Mary is a strange church, slowly I begin to like it, the old mixed with the rather flamboyant style of a later era, the white 'barley twist' pillars still jar against my need for a more aesthetic grey.  The stove was lit in the centre of the church and we all wandered round the high backed pews.  There is a strong sense of community in this church, in the grave yard the stones are regimented on the cliff, slowly they will fall into the sea as the cliffs erode.  There is no 'Dracula' grave up here, neither Bram Stoker who wrote the story, only a church notice telling us to be respectful in the presence of the church - this I think is to the 'Goths' who come up here to linger round the grave stones, and they are always respectful..
Wandering down through the rather empty town of Whitby, there are quite a few visitors, recognisable by their posh anoraks and 'ski' sticks, when I grew old I shall have a knobbly old cane stick to get around on!

Christmas day was beautiful, quiet and serene, we put the sacrificial (organic chicken) in the oven and then went round to the 'Endeavour' bar, three pubs within 5 minutes of the cottage perhaps tells you the tale of the old Whitby, or at least the tourist infested summer time one.  In the butcher shop there was the most beautiful dressed geese and ducks in the window, will never bring up a bird again when the shops offer so much.
We had taken a walk in the morning along to the East Cliff, quay to see the sea, in all its beautiful slaty- grey colour; out on the horizon three great container ships slowly sailed past, a dog played on the small beach below. Either from the top of the cliffs, or from below one can contemplate the truly architectural wonder of Whitby on the West side. The houses tumbling down the slope the different styles telling of the comings and going of its history.  Flowergate where the cottage is, must be one of the oldest roads, the old coach and horses coming to a stop outside the pub over the road with the stepping stone.

Today we had planned to go up to the moors to measure some stones, it looks like it maybe foggy though so we will wait.  Yesterday I learnt that it is red grouse on the moors, not black, though they look very black to me.  Apparently they are going to do some more burning of the heather for the poor birds, they feed on young heather tips, but nest in the old scrubby heather.  I call them poor birds because their welfare is dependent on the shoots that take place over the moors, mainly it seems that it is overseas visitors who keep the moors economically sound, should the shooting and burning not take place, the moors would revert to semi-decidous trees and shrubs...

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