I’ve totally lost track of the days this past fortnight. It’s been Easter holiday, the kids have been off school and I had some wonderful frolics to the Yorkshire Dales planned. Thankfully I’ve learned my lesson now and always try to book hotels where I can cancel without losing my money, this time round it was the dreaded Chicken Pox. Little Miss came down with it on the last morning of term, which is so predictable, I probably could have guessed it would happen. Nonetheless, I was quite relaxed, maybe even a little bit relieved because, that’s that one out of the way now, and it’s definitely one that’s better to get younger.
So, the first half of my week off work was spent stuck inside, looking at the bright spring sunshine streaming in through the window. Monday, I myself had come down with something nasty! I couldn’t keep any food down, and whatever it was, triggered a migraine meaning I spent most of the day lying with a cold wet washcloth over my eyes. So far, the Easter holiday was not working out how I envisaged.
Tuesday, the weather was still glorious. I seemed somewhat recovered from the day before, albeit a bit dizzy and still with no appetite whatsoever. Little miss was still spotty and contagious, but we so wanted to feel the breeze on our skin that we took a little trip to the beach, staying well clear of anyone and everyone while we were down there. We walked along the shoreline, breathed in the fresh spring air, and Little Miss dug holes. It’s amazing how much joy small people can get from simply digging a hole in the sand.
Later in the week the weather broke, and I lost track of the days, but I think it must have been Thursday when baba’s ‘contagious period’ was over and we decided we’d pay a visit to the William Smith Museum of Geology, more locally referred to as the Rotunda, and loved by Little Miss for being the Dinosaur Museum. Built in 1828-9, it’s the finest surviving example of a Georgian purpose-built museum in England and a mere £3 pass gets you entry for an entire year to it, and the nearby Art Gallery.
I got Little Miss to take a photo of my outfit before we left, not bad photography skills for a four year old!
The museum is a fabulous place, dinosaur bones, fossils, taxidermy and even some Egyptian artefacts line the walls, and it never fails to please Little Miss, or me for that matter. As well as the geological artefacts, it reveals a good deal about Georgian and Victorian society, and in particular the way women were viewed. Afterall, as part of the Scarborough Philosophical Society, women didn’t have any rights to vote or speak on the direction of the society, but were welcome to donate money and artefacts! Make of that what you will.
After a brief coffee and bacon butty break at one of the local cafes, we took a wander across the grade II listed footbridge (which I’ve never been across before), and through the gardens to the Crescent Art Gallery (the one included in our annual pass to the museum).
I really don’t do enough exploring of Scarborough. The Art Gallery, like many of the buildings which surround it, is a most magnificent building. A former residence of a rather affluent solicitor, who designed the entire crescent that the gallery sits within, it was originally build in 1844 and after a number of subsequent owners, it became the town’s first art gallery in 1947.
Downstairs was a photography exhibition. I studied A-level photography at school, and at one time wanted to become a pro-photographer, so, I do love a photography exhibition, and was able to lose myself in amongst the images. Particularly striking/disturbing was the one by Tom Hunter, based on the painting the Death of Sardanapalus.
Then, we spent quite a bit of time relaxing in the peace and quiet of the main gallery area, enjoying the images of Scarborough by John Atkinson Grimshaw. I believe these are in the permanent collection of the gallery, and the images really are very engaging. I’m always amazed by how the painter can make the moon appear to glow using only paint and technique.
Most notable about the paintings, however, is how much of what is depicted in the Victorian images still remains on the Scarborough landscape to this day. The beautiful Spa Bridge, the spa itself and the Grand Hotel, which alas while still beautiful from the outside isn’t recommended as a place to stay, nowadays.
As the week progressed, I seemed to take fewer and fewer photographs. The chap came over on the Friday and we went to check out the National Scooter Rally, but there wasn’t much to see. I think we must have gone to early, or missed the parade or something as I’ve seen lots of photos in the local newspaper since. We retired to the arcades instead, sheltering out of the rain and winning toys from the 2p machine before enjoying a beer in a local bar.
Saturday, finally, we were all well, and the sun was shining to boot, so we took a trip to Malton to peruse the shops, drink tea in nice cafes and buy macarons from my favourite macaron shop in the whole world, Florian Poirot. They never disappoint.
We finished off the Easter break on Monday with a full afternoon in the arcades. We wanted to go bowling, but it was so busy that we couldn’t get in. A mixture of rain and the fact that Scarborough seems to have become a go-to holiday destination ever since the pandemic, meant we were doomed to the crowds. Nonetheless, we had a great time in the arcade, playing lots of games and winning lots of tickets for Little Miss to exchange for toys at the kiosk, oh the joy of childhood.
We finished off with dinner at Ask Italian, and, despite a really disappointing start to the Easter holidays, I feel like it was snatched from the jaws of defeat in the last half. We still got to do plenty, and my time exploring new bits of Scarborough, and admiring local architecture, has given me a new found appreciation for my town and a desire to explore a bit more.