9 June 2016

Withernsea

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.

40 comments:

  1. This is a very evocative piece of writing. Thank you so much for saying exactly what I think about mobility scooters.

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    1. You are so kind Sue but please note what Kate Steeper has said below.

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  2. Seems like such a nice and carefree place to live and indeed visit. The photos are lovely and thanks for sharing!

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    1. You could leave London and live by the sea in Withernsea Blogoratti. Perhaps after a few years you could become the local mayor and open garden fetes and suchlike.

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  3. I fight madly against the very idea of mobility scooters, although I suppose I might succumb to one eventually. But I agree about obese people. Last Sunday we ate in a restaurant (the farmer and I) and at the next table were four people - obviously a farming family. The grandparents were elderly, fit-looking and thin. The teenager, who seemed to be their grand-daughter was slim. The child's moth (their daughter?) was hugely obese. The three of them had a normal sunday lunch. The obese lady had a massive plate of chips which she smothered in tomato ketchup. I thought that said it all.

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  4. my partner is I'm afraid trying to avoid the horrors of a mobility scooter, he has a so called hidden illness degenerative disc disease, if he would get out more he would be one of those called names for being fat and owning one , the drugs he has no choice in taking give a weight gain on average of 20 to 30 pounds a year , he has gained 5 stone in the last 5 years, he can hardly move so can't exercise except under medical supervision , this you get 5 sessions of under the nhs. He Is terrified of eating and has been driven to attempt suicide because he is so ashamed of his appearance . it's societies and the medias constant fostering of the benefits scrounger on every street that has done that him. SO remember when you see folks whizzing around on mobility scooters being disabled and getting some independence , the reason there are so many these days is not because there are more disabled, but because the technology now exists for them not to be locked behind closed doors unable to get out .

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    1. That's awful. I hope he'll decide to get a scooter and go out and enjoy himself. To hell with what people think. It makes me so mad when people like your partner have to suffer for society's ignorance. Thank you for the reminder that not everything is as it seems and we all need to withhold judgment when we don't know all the facts.

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    2. Kate - I am sure that your partner falls into the same category as our neighbour Norma - someone whose life can be enriched by a mobility scooter, someone who effectively needs one but there are lots of people out there who don't need them. My swife sees several of these folk at her health centre. My heart goes out to your partner. It must be so damned frustrating not being able to burn off calories through normal activity.

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  5. Sorry YP, I obviously mean 'child's mother' - must be a freudian slip as I have a moth phobia!

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    1. Oh that's good. An image had formed in my mind of a giant female chip eating moth. I didn't think they let them in to Toby Carveries.

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  6. Yorkshire Pudding....Born to be Mild! Haha!!

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    1. You are laughing at me Jennifer! I thought you were a nice blogging friend. Boo hoo!

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    2. Sorry. Friends again? :)

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    3. Okay but you gotta buy me an ice cream.

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  7. It's true that you shouldn't judge every fat/obese person you see as someone who is greedy and over eats. As Kate says, there are drugs that can cause obesity.
    I regularly see a couple at one of the cafés where I have coffee with friends. He looks as though he's at death's door and uses a mobility scooter - has to be helped in and out, and wife is slim and upright. Both must be well into their seventies, if not older. I frequently pass them going home, usually at the section where it starts the seriously steep uphill climb, and it always amuses me that he is tootling along on his scooter, and she is striding out ahead. Not long ago, as I passed her, she turned and shouted back to him - "Oh for god's sake - do get a move on, we haven't got all day"! I just burst out laughing - it quite made my day !

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  8. And, no, in case you're wondering, I was not walking - I go by car !

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    1. I am sure that somebody is missing a trick - writing amusing stories about mobility scooters and their users. I would call it "Zoooom!" and I would buy it. Perhaps I will end up driving a mobility scooter myself. I'll have a trumpet horn on it with a big rubber squeezer and when I come up silently behind pedestrians I will squeeze it as hard as I can and yell "Out of my way you bloody tortoise!"

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    2. Alas, YP, it may come to us all - much as we may laugh. However I think I'd rather be out and about on a scooter than confined indoors.

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  9. Being somewhat dyslexic I quite like the Sunshine Caf. I also quite fancy a mobility scooter or an electric bike.
    What I do object to are the disabled bays outside supermarkets. If folk can walk round a superstore they can surely manage to cross a car park.
    It looks a nice place, wasn't there a pottery there?

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    1. No Adrian - the pottery was further up the coast at Hornsea. You can sometimes still see their distinctive sixties-style tableware in junk shops.

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    2. Hornsea always seems to go for a lot on Bargain Hunt.

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  10. "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." Am I the only one who thought this was the most telling or important sentence in this post?

    As for obesity we have to face the fact that it is perhaps the greatest threat to the nation's health and the nation's health service. Obviously some people cannot avoid being obese any more than some people cannot avoid other life-threatening illnesses. Facing the fact is only the start though. Doing something about it requires a great deal more.

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    1. The two sentences you spotted just seemed to fit in as a counterpoint to the vague rock and roll idea of being "born to be wild". Partly, it was a literary device but I am interested in the fact that you highlighted it Graham.

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  11. Pardon me! With a sneeze, I'll attempt to type a response to this post. Real estate prices there are certainly very low...nothing to sneeze about that!

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    1. Bless you! But please try to avoid sneezing over your keyboard as this could cause the swift promotion of a devilish computer virus... The Gympie Virus.

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  12. I'm with you on the mobility scooters. Our Dad was in a wheelchair in a nursing home. He asked us for a scooter. we told him he needed a license for a scooter and he never asked again. He had macular degeneration so would have been a hazard.

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    1. In England you notice a greater preponderance of mobility scooters in poor areas and areas of social housing. I guess the reasons for this are multivarious.

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  13. Interesting point you make about mobility scooters. There is a shopping centre near where I'm working at the moment and I have never seen so many people who needed some sort of mobility aids, from those electric jobbies to wheelchairs, walking frames, aluminium crutches. It's looks like a hospital station after the Battle of the Somme.

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    1. If you end up in a mobilty scooter one day, I'll race you to "Fatso's" kebab and pizza joint, honking at dumb pedestrians who get in our way. I'll be Jenson Button, you can be Michael Schumacher.

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  14. Well, it's hard to argue with house prices like that. Wonder what the commute to London would be like?

    I never knew you were a singer in a band. That sounds like a story worth telling.

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    1. Oh, and although I am sure some people genuinely need them, I tend to think (like you) that mobility scooters are overused -- to the detriment of their users' overall health.

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    2. If you are considering buying that house in Withernsea you would have a forty minute bus ride into Hull, then the train to London would take you three hours and of course after arriving at King's Cross you'd have to make your way across London to your school. About an hour? So realistically that's a minimum commute time of five hours and the same again at night. But you gotta drae to dream and dreams can come true.

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    3. ERROR!!!!! "drae" = dare

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    4. Did the girls rip your clothes off YP? Are there still some lonely ladies, somewhere, still crying into a piece of your shirt, or trousers, wondering what might have been - even after all these years?

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  15. The former entrance gates to the pier, now leading nowhere (?), are curiously attractive.
    And the "caf" is so very Steve - he used that abbreviation, but I have not come across it in years. Made a bit nostalgic, really.
    Mobility scooters? Like you, I don't think everyone who uses them really needs them. People ARE lazy, let's face it, and they seem to become lazier (and heavier) with each passing year.

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    1. Obviously I have heard thw word "caf" many times but I hadn't seen it emblazoned across a doorway before.

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  16. That is a really auspicious entrance to the pier!

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    1. Now the entrance to the sky.

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