Withernsea didn't seem so bad - not as bad as my memory had led me to believe it was. It is a town of some six thousand residents and it sits on the East Yorkshire coast twelve miles north of Spurn Head. It was in 1972 that my band - Village played a stupendous gig in Withernsea at the high school's end of term dance. The place was packed and I was the lead singer:-
Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die
Born to be wild
Born to be wild!
But as it turned out, I wasn't born to be wild at all. I was born to get married, buy a house, raise a couple of kids and graft away at the chalkface in schools that sucked the lifeblood out of me. I am still recovering.
Shirley had never been to Withernsea before. Once it had a seaside pier extending for 1196 feet into the North Sea but it didn't last for very long as ships kept crashing into it and effectively destroyed it so that it was finally dismantled in 1903. Only the crenellated stone entrance remains.
|Shirley at the old pier entrance|
In Withernsea we noticed a surfeit of mobility scooters. Now there's a ninety six year old lady called Norma who lives on our street in Sheffield and she uses a mobility scooter to get about. I have absolutely no problem with that as she is frail and has had a hip replacement but in Withernsea we saw several obese people and fairly young people tootling along on their mobility scooters and I just wanted to say - "Get your fat arse off that thing and walk!" Or am I being cruel? What did folk do before mobility scooters arrived on the scene?
|Born to be Wild - Friends at "Sunshine Caf"|
There were two mobility scooter shops in Withernsea selling all the latest models - "The Fat Arse Corsair" and "The Lazy Git Silent Speedster" with go-faster stripes. Another thing I think about these mobility scooters is why don't they figure in Paralympics events? I am sure that a resident of Withernsea could win Britain a gold medal or two and be feted as The Mobility Scooter World Champion.
But as I say, Withernsea wasn't so bad. Unusually, the town's old lighthouse is set back from the beach and surrounded by housing. The place was nothing much until the mid-nineteenth century when a railway track began to bring in holidaymakers - mostly from the city of Hull which is eighteen miles away. From about 1875 to the 1920's the little resort thrived but in recent times it has struggled despite the best efforts of an optimistic town council.
|Moving rocks for sea defence|
It doesn't help that the sea is eating away at the boulder clay coast. Houses in Withernsea tend to be very cheap. For example there's a terraced house on South Cliff Road that is currently up for sale for £65,000 ($126,567 AUS or $93,934 US) With views of crashing winter storms munching away at the coast it is a house in which you really could realise your dream of being "born to be wild" like Steppenwolf and there'd be room out back for your Ferrari mobility scooter with shiny chrome bullbars to ram unwary pedestrians.