Quay Street, Scarborough

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Quay Street, Scarborough

It is quaint is Quay Street, let us hope I do it justice. I write this for a neighbour. For a short while back there she thought she had lost her family in that terrible night at Manchester Arena.

So for all those who did lose loved ones and for all of us who suffered through that disgusting tragedy this is a tribute, a sense of belonging, in the way of praise of; the street where you live. – For us, here, that is the historic easy-going Quay Street in Scarborough.

The narrow lane of fishing boats and fisher people has widened along most of its length yet it starts and finishes as a cosy cobbled alley. Quay Street (Pronounced ‘key’). press old pic.jpg

Cobbled its full length still, set just a little back from the ‘Cobles’ in the bay.

harbour whale
That time a whale visited

We are the bottom-enders. There is a large grass bank behind us built up of the rows of fisher people’s houses; stacked rows of tightly placed dwellings all rubble now. Rubble.bank

Above the grass banks of long gone kitchens and bake houses is the most prominent feature of the town: The Castle.castle

Down below Scar’s Burg our row survives. The Bottom-enders.

I have stayed here on and off for many years with my parents; now, I live here, with Mum while I recuperate – stitch-knitting time.sunhouse.jpg

Fishermen from the street told us when Mum and Dad first got the place of living here man and boy, as did their father before them and his father before that.

A house just a little further down from us still has its bake house out the back, (a few of them do). The lady there, three doors up from me, passed away recently and the moving eulogy to the packed church just up Dog and Duck Steps for here, a step beyond Paradise, spoke of her skills; smoking, baking and sousing the herring, roping the mussel, and dressing the crab; she could dress a crab in less than fifteen seconds.

I chat across the wall to our neighbour, but she has another friend. neighbours garden.jpgHer back garden is in two levels; two walled terraces. Her new friend lives on the roof and spends his time on the top terrace – He is in love with her. He has built a nest and comes down to the upper patio to tap on the glass of the French windows with his beak to attract his love. He knocks very loudly. As loud as a large fisherman knocking.seagul

She says it is not her he is knocking for. She says he is knocking for the love of his own reflection.

But you know what they say about albatrosses, perhaps it is true about seagulls too.

Her late husband was a Skipper, I am sure he has worked widely in the sea trade throughout a life of Scarborough, it is as a Skipper that I remember him. Skipper of the ocean-going pleasure cruiser the Caronia, or at other times the Regal Lady. Many a cruise with glass in hand and majestic creatures just off the bow I remember. Many remember and the fiddle plays in our souls as we think back.

There they await you among the 300 plus boats betwixt the three piers of no peer; Scarborough harbour. They have been called on from here before at times of great need as you will hear in the accompanying blog linked to below.

I awake early, it may be the sea birds, it may be the operation scars re-knitting, it maybe is the boot segs, ready to grip the sea boards, clattering the cobbles still.

I hear them I swear. For the street is narrow and the bottom-enders are an endless march along here all through time.

“My father before me, man and boy as I was, as his father before him: Fishermen.”

Yes they were, but something doesn’t quite ring true. After living here a couple of years my dad suddenly realised what was wrong with this claim. The hosues weren’t old enough; they were about 70 years old and the chap living in the one to our right was in his eighties man and boy.

Turns out, the fisher families have always lived here just not in the same building. When the old timey Quay Street was demolished, along with all the lines of houses along the bank above, this road was widened.quay photo 01.jpg All this side now housed luxurious semis and lots of the fishermen moved back in, back into a new house, back in to the very same spot man and boy man and boy.

The old street is still there, winding through the centre of the wider road; there are the cobbles.cobbles.jpg

One can well imagine this narrow street filling as rowing boats are lifted off the bake-house roof and carried through the narrow passage and out onto the street towards the sea.carry boats 01.jpg

When I first came here I was surprised to discover that my neighbour at the other side of Dog and Duck Steps was the great uncle of a good friend in York; well-known singer/songwriter Dan Webster.dan He sings of his relatives: of his grandfather, “I have always loved the sea, but fishing not fighting was for me.”dan in boat.jpg And of his great grandfather who bravely lost his life; Frank Dalton.

There are rumours among locals around the tea stall that when the seas are real rough and the life boat call comes some rotaed crew are hard to find; rumours. The older seasoned seamen are there and ready.

So it was with two who were in their late fifties and early sixties; Jenkinson Mainprize and Frank Dalton.

Thomas Jenkinson Mainprize was best known as Denk and was a relative of the Mainprizes who run a wet fish shop in Scarborough today.

He and Frank were the brave ones who went aboard.lifeboat It was the Dutch coaster Westkust. The skipper had delayed accepting assistance and had survived eight hours in heavy swell before requesting assistance.

All of the crew were aided by our two heroes who lowered them all one by one down to the life boat deck.

Then Denk and Frank. They swung over the side. The Westkust rose up. Denk made the leap and was down safe. Before Frank could join him a huge wave parted the craft and he was left high up hanging from the Westkust.frank hangs.jpg The coaster dropped, the life boat was pushed up and in, they met in a sickening crunch. The Westkust again lifted and Frank fell, to lay dying on the deck of the life boat.

At his funeral, well, just after his funeral, the Second Mate of the Westkust stepped alone from the crowd to stand at the grave.

He took off his cap and he knelt, “Frank Dalton, as soon as I saw your smiling face climbing over the side of the Westkust I knew we would be saved. Frank Dalton thank you.”grave.jpg

All the more reason for fellow fishermen the next day to have a Cobler’s  Monday.coble cropped.jpg That is when there has been a hard time of it and just a weekend is not enough time to ‘recover’. So the crew of the coble agree between them they will all claim a sickie and spend the day ‘recovering’ together; most likely in the Golden Ball or the Newcastle Packet.mutiny back

Scarborough is known: for these few old buildings here on Quay Street, for its two bays with its harbour between and of course being looked over by both Olivers Mount and the Castle.

It is the natural spring near the end of the south bay which brought people here; 3000 years ago this way a sacred spring was visited and adorned. It was much later that these waters caused an expansion of grand buildings. We came here to take the air, (we still do, just watch the walkers up and down), and we came to take the waters too. Spa town.

The Spa was built and people came in their droves to go down the steps to draw the magical waters.

Trains helped. Workers starting to get actual holidays also brought more trains and very busy patches.

There was another fame, a fish, a big fish which brought the rich. A tough fish: the tunny. Strongest fish in the sea so they say: the North Atlantic Tuna.

Not that there are many now; the mackerel and the herring runs diminished massively in the 30’s through to the 50’s as more intensive fishing techniques developed unchecked (before my 17 year old niece became the fear of the unwise and the inspector of nets).

Interest in the tunny was intense, but on a much smaller scale – Which is strange for such a very big fish.

They say now they are returning and are up to 500lb but the records say far bigger.

Very rich pickings indeed, for the very rich. They came in their droves, filling the best hotels, finding fame and indeed further fortunes.

One poorer catcher of a tunny got rich by charging for photos with it.tunny weigh

Fame came with the danger, small boats, small crews and fishermen in ones or twos. Some fought for hours, only to lose the line and the monster in a sudden snap. Some might be relieved at such a result as the boats were hardly large enough for the big big strong strong fish.

The record holder wasn’t a rich visitor, well he was a Lincolnshire farmer, so he probably was reasonably wealthy. Lewis wasn’t a fisherman, he was taking a break after being discharged from the RAF and was talked into having a go.

Some say he doesn’t hold the record. He caught a fish a full pound heavier at 852lb than the previous largest but someone complained later that the rope was extremely wet. What a wet fish! What a slime! I say, “Pah!” I won’t have it, I hereby award the record to Lincolnshire farmer Jack Hadley Lewis for his amazing 852lb tunny.

Go see the impressive statue on the Northern pier.

You might try finding the entrance to the Three Mariners Inn while you are on your way from Quay Street.3 ms

The RAF are responsible for one eyesore on Quay street between two of the three beamed buildings in the street;mutiny pic.jpg an ugly flat-rooved intrusion between the Mutiny (formerly the Lancaster) and the Three Mariners Inn. Them bombers they had disposable petrol tanks, like bombs attached to the wings. When they were empty into the sea they went. They weren’t at sea on this occasion, they were above a beautiful old building – gone now.bomb

I think the horrid flat building should be covered by a commemorative mural.

The devil brought his revolution here. His Brigg at Filey pierced a ship or two. Perhaps it stabbed at John Paul Jones. The American revolution came to this coast and his sword was left here.battle So the legend goes. It is said that he ‘safe harboured’ at the Three Mariners Inn across from me. I’ve seen the sword, that missing sword. It was said to be his and I saw it when the oldest complete building in the area (circa 1430) was a museum.

What a cranky museum it was, everything was everywhere, stuff heaped up, jewellery, toys, weapons, clothes – piled on every surface.

Rummage away visitor, ride the toy vehicle children, steal away visitors. Well some did. The sword somehow went one day, that was the last straw for them and the museum is no more.

You might want to buy the house though.

Sit on the bed, look in the mirror. Well, that’s what my young daughter did. Incidentally there is a long running (now suddenly exacerbated) family argument about which daughter it was.

As we left she said, “I didn’t like the man in the woman’s hat.” I asked where this was. “When I was sat on the bed.”

I was in the room, in fact I lifted my little girl up onto that bed. There was no one else there. So I told her I had seen no one. She looked up at me and with a serious face said, “Oh, you could only see him when you looked in the mirror.”mirror man.jpg

You might want to buy the house though.

I wonder if Dr Strange would? My mum has a claim to fame and I utilise it whenever I do publicity for my story-walks over in my home city: son of York’s first ghost-walker. It is true.

So it is a shame for her that after a lifetime of telling ghost stories, now in her retirement, she has to listen to loud ghost stories outside her window. Yes, Dr Strange of Scareborough Ghost Tour stops right outside to tell his screamer tale (which mum tells me is quite tall).

mums garden.jpg

There is another fame to be experienced in this street, and I don’t mean just international blogger Adrian Spendlow (me), There is a great fame in Quay street, wait for it; Quay street is the home of the most famous vehicle on Scarborough.

The Carawagon.cara 01

A truck and a caravan welded and melded into one stupendous vehicle.carawagon.jpg The ornate homely transport is to be home to some of my stories – the side opens to provide a raised patio stage; my stage.cara 02

We will be appearing at various venues with Travelling Tales.

As Anne said, and you may still hear her voice if you visit her grave just above our house, “But he, that dares not grasp the thorn. Should never crave the rose.”

Anne Bronte

 

From Scarborough with love

Ales and Tales stories from York pubs

Mum’s book

Cliffords Tower, York

The Music of Dan Websterdan tin

Quay street’s famous Carawagon

cara 02

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Just call me Pied

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Just call me Piedpied-02

I know that secretly I am Adrian Spendlow the storyteller, but for the sake of this blog, and for the amazing Rollercoastival, I am Pied, yes call me Pied.pied 1.JPG I am the Pied Piper but you can call me Pied.

I was too, many coloured i.e. pied and to be honest Piper is somewhat of an honorary title. Yes when I piped children agreed that they would follow me but the truth is that is because I made a very rude noise.me pipe 02.jpg

My piping aside; what a great time we had. I was thrilled to have such good crowds of families.ellie-pink-ears-wide When you think that Coastival has around a hundred events going on, many of which are part of Rollercoastival, (the children’s and families’ activities), it was great to have such good sized groups.

kate-sat
Kate at work

If everyone did as well for numbers there must have been thousands and thousands and thousands attending events.spa cut 001.jpg Well a lot.

And what great groups they were. Everyone was game for fun.beetle-creature

We told stories, we created stories we created the perfect place to live – and it was coast 02.jpgScarborough!

We paraded,

martha-pipe
by Martha

we serenaded from balconies,

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Pippa

we did art, (that’s why I am doing this blog cos of the great artwork),

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Mark (one of the dads)

we made or chose musical instruments.ins 02.jpg

There was a king,me-king

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and he was in a castle.me-castle

You have to have a horrid bit for me the Pied Piper to rescue you all from so you can end up somewhere nice.

We made up some horrid places;rainbow-mountains

all from the imaginations of children.dreams

We were kind and cuddly and that made the moody king grumpy. I will tell you how bad he is, he picks his nose! Starving we were, and we cried out, “We want sweets!” All we got was sprouts, and sprouts, oh and loads more sprouts; badly cooked. Even worse than that, he stamped on our tiddlywinks. We begged and begged for food and all we got were puddings, those really horrid sorts. His wife the queen wanted to go shopping so he stole all our money.me-tower

He even stole our teddy bears. The teddy bears got made alive and turned into monsters (they were rather silly monsters).

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This wolf is by parent called Adrian

“You should be nice!” we cried.

“I don’t like sharing! I shall send my silly monsters after you.”creature pink ears.jpg

We played hide and seek! Then we heard the sweet sound of the pipes and they led us away. The Pied Piper took us all away and we paraded through to Scarborough. It was lovely.

Footnote: the piping of course wasn’t lovely but I didn’t want to spoil the story with wizzpopping noises.

Other children complained of the king forcing them to hoolahoop for his entertainment, bouncing balls for hours and lots of fighting.bouncy-01 Worst of all being told they were funny! Naughty kings tell secrets, trip you up, sing songs about you and like fighting.

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Most horrid of all he made them go to school! Good job we all escaped upon the Skylark

boats blue.jpg
This was actually about the Sea Goddess Ran but it fits here nicely

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and followed Pied to Scarborough.pied-spa-002pied-spa-001pied-spa-003.jpg

We told stories along the way. There were magical baby horses (‘called foals actually’),

dragon-like serpents,pink snake.jpg

a hero dressed as a bear,man-bear.jpg

a beautiful young woman in a tower,lewis-tower

trolls in caves,

marks-sons-thing
by Mark’s son age 2

cattle from all over the world for the serpent to eat,snake-tower

shrunken treasure,

shrunken.jpg
by Delilah

a funny little man in a cave,

ellie-troll
by Ellie

spears, weddings, unicorns,

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by Matilda

mums what help, dads what tell stories,moon-star.jpg

seeing the sea, rainbow bridges,

rainbow-bridge-by-delilah
by Delilah

wolves,

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Greg was a helper and he lied about his age

wolf me.jpgapple trees,apple tree.jpgapple and worm.jpgme apple 02.jpg

strange but beautiful ladies of the sea – what are they called again? Merrymaids is it????tora.jpg

There were also mystery sharks appearing in Scarborough (True!) and a true love story with a message in a bottle.under-001under 002.jpgunder 003.jpgunder 004.jpgunder 005.jpg

Oh and how the goddess of love she cried, oh how she cried.

We were so glad to get away from the evil king, He had given us all bracelets with eyes in that watched you and he complained that we were whining all the time. He wouldn’t let us go near the glittering golden apples and oh how we longed to wear pink. He said we were never ready on time (which was true actually), called us Contrary Mary’s who never gave him any peace and quiet. He has got peace and quiet now, because he is all alone and we have ran away. We had to run away as he had sent tarantulas to scare us.blob.jpg

I will tell you how bad he was, he wouldn’t let our friends visit and gave us jelly that looked nice but was made with horrid things.

That is why we are happy to be in a magical land called Scarborough.evie h.jpg

A magical land. Ask us what it is like if you like and we will tell you. It is nice. We are happy and we have friends. The whole world is places to play with cushions all over the place so you don’t bang your chin when you fall. Everything is made from Lego except the candy floss trees and the candy floss grass.pink clouds.jpg

There is no school. No wait we missed school, so there is school; you learn how to wrap presents and how to make sweets, cos it is Christmas every day and there are always presents. The rullers at school are gummy bear rulers so we don’t really bother drawing straight lines much.

When you live in a candy castle all the stories have happy endings.

We live in a land where it is fine because you are with your mummies and everyone laughs at everyone’s jokes (even Adrian’s).

Come and live in tree houses with us there is bacon for breakfast and teddies hug you back.

marks lads teddy.jpg
Mark’s son aged 2 drew this teddy and it is the first time he has done a drawing to look like something

Even pringles are chocolate and chocolate twists grow from chocolate tress. Besides the chocolate fountain is an ever filling bowl of anything you want and a help yourself forever ice cream van.

That is how great it is.stars.jpg

We didn’t want to live in the king’s castle any more as he had stinky feet and made us always be busy. If we didn’t work hard enough he chased us with ninja turtles.

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This is Libby’s beetle not a ninja turtle

They were very naughty and played tricks on us all and called us cheeky monkeys.

No wonder we are happy in magical Scarborough with its candy castle.

kate house.jpg
by Kate

Sweetie land has toffee apple trees and it is sunny all the time. It is great to be all families together and we even like the blue sheep. Flying on foxes and magical unicorns are our favourite hobbies and everyone has a bicycle, and a tricycle and a unicycle what they can ride easy.

Peaceful it is and always warm and everyone can swim.

We play pass the parcel and hokey cokey and hopscotch and twister and football too.

Come with us, let the Pied Piper lead the way to where everything is sunny and warm.

pied-spa-003.jpg

(If i have missed anybodies name off or anything do please let me know)

 

 

 

The Pied Piper of Scarborough needs your help

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The Pied Piper of Scarborough needs your help

Join us on the rollercoaster of children’s events at Scarborough’s Coastival. Come to the Spa, come to Scarborough, come to Yorkshire, come to Britain.

Saturday and Sunday 18th – 19th February.

https://www.facebook.com/coastival/?fref=ts

Join me.pied 02.jpg

Help me. Have you an idea for instrument making, instrument decorating; to help us to parade.ins 03.jpg

Tell us also of what you would want from the perfect place to love. (Typo alert) *to live.

I shall take you away.me pipe 02.jpg We shall decorate our simple instruments. We shall welcome your real instruments. We shall make fun instruments. dreams

We shall tell stories. We shall go on a story walk. There will be a quest. Come with us on the quest for the perfect place to live. What would a perfect place have? Tell us of what is needed to make a home town perfect.coast 02.jpg

Funny. I think we shall find what that place is like – (spoiler alert) – The perfect place shall be…

Yes.

Scarborough.