Autumn, it’s been too long. How I have missed these cool damp mornings, the way the dew clings to the cobwebs that string my paths and clematis. The sweet soft decay of the leaves in my gardens. There’s a mist … Continue reading
So, Whitby has been and gone. Hmmm. It was an odd one. We travelled down the Wednesday prior to the main weekend events, car packed to infinity and beyond – and I admit I had a few too many pairs of boots! Moved into our flat (gorgeous harbour views), then started the obligatory dog settlement programme. Which failed. The old bird was having none of it, even though she’s been coming with us to Whitby for years. Thanks to the delightful folks setting off bangers on the beach throughout the next 5 nights right in front of our flat she spent the week in a state of absolute panic, which led to a very explosive stomach situation and chronic separation anxiety. At the grand old age of 13 she’s becoming quite fragile, and as she is the delight of our twilight years her needs had to come first. So of the 9 bands playing over the weekend, we saw 2. Every time we got ready to go out on a night time the fireworks started. I can honestly say I would like to stuff a crate of bangers up the behind of anyone who thinks it’s funny to start at 6pm and then fart on until 3am. We watched a lot of weekend reality shows…
The ‘dog situation’ was compounded by the fact that Whitby was unbelievably busy. This was out tenth year at the festival, and easily the most crowded we’ve experienced. Our partially sighted grumpy old dog hates crowds, and she effectively became housebound for 4 days. She hated it. We felt crappy leaving her indoors. We hated not being able to get anywhere in less than half an hour (when it should have taken 10 minutes), and all the delays led to more time that she was left and that we worried. This isn’t my photo, but this shows the log jam on the bridge that connects the two sides of the town, and which we had to cross to get to official events:
We will never put the dog through this again. Hell, we’ll never put ourselves through it again. Next year is probably off the agenda anyway as we are completely poor.Effectively we ended up with a ‘pocket’ festival – 2 hours out here, 2 hours out there – all very disjointed.
However, there were some great moments in the holiday; it wasn’t all gloom. It was lovely to spend 2 straight weeks with Him Underfoot actually underfoot! We celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary on Halloween in the lovely Moon & Sixpence on the harbour, with food so gorgeous we had to return (with the dog!) the following Tuesday. We met old friends, and made new. Bad Pollyanna were utterly awesome (though we missed Voltaire, who didn’t come on stage until 1am apparently).
Him Underfoot bought me gorgeous green amber earrings from W. Hamond, my favourite jewellery shop who had excelled themselves in decorating their exterior:
We also indulged in the most amazing fudge in Justin’s Chocolates – I so wish we’d taken a better picture of their chocolate halloween window display complete with coffins – unfortunately the only one we have is this cheesy pic of me getting overexcited! (Oh, and I had majorly sore feet so had to retreat to my oh-so-comfy converse…).
Monday & Tuesday my mum & step dad joined us for fish & chips in the harbour, and then we took Sally to the pub (free gravy bones in the Little Angel keeping her sweet). Tuesday was Sally’s Grand Day Out – the crowds had gone, it was a beautiful if very chilly day, so we took her for lunch and wine in the harbour, followed by another trip to the pub. That was the one night the little blighter slept right through…. Some other random pictures…:
So, a different week to what we expected – still lovely as I was with the people (and mutt) I love most in the place I love best – but not sure if we’ll be repeating the experience next year.
On Wednesday I am off on my jollies to Whitby Goth Weekend for a week. I am super excited – this is our annual holiday and wedding anniversary week, spent in a wonderful place with our furry Rug Dog. Today I have been ironing and packing and asking myself if I really need 18 pairs of tights and 6 pairs of boots for 7 days (the answer of course is yes). Speaking of tights…
I carried out a hosiery census while packing, and discovered I have 39 pairs of tights. That is a lot of black opaque for one small woman! I keep telling myself the 5 pairs of fishnets don’t count… I’ll do a full Whitby round up on my return, as I have limited internet access while away. So just checking in now to wish everyone a wonderful Halloween 🙂
Him Underfoot and I have just returned from a week in Whitby, during which the bi-annual goth festival was taking place. A great time was had by all (antique dog included – very dog friendly flat just up from a beach); however reality bites now as we are dragged back down into our normal routine and the frightening spectre of Christmas just around the corner.
It really is like stepping out of time (and in some cases, space) into a different world. Alice kicked into a Burton-esque Wonderland (or perhaps Betelgeuse). We met some wonderful people – including a puppet called Wolfie, saw some great live bands, wore very silly footwear that left me hobbling and ate / drank enough to have my gall bladder aching from here to eternity. The American Diner on Flowergate was particularly good for hangover breakfasts and pink milkshakes, though we tended towards Java as the dog was allowed to join us.
We also did a little shopping, with some of the stalls selling some very striking original and somewhat esoteric work. Unfortunately a great deal of it was out of my price bracket so I had to content myself with updating my Fetishman collection, by the charming Dr Geof. I also bought a walking staff (stick?) as a gift for my step-dad, topped with obsidian that made me come over a little bit Gandalf on Sunday morning (YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!). The traders, Needwood Tree (in the Leisure Centre), were friendly and happy to talk about how they made it, what the obsidian head signified etc. This was quite refreshing, as many of the other traders in the Centre treated us as if we were grime beneath their pointy boot heels. I’ve never encountered this before, in 10 years of Whitby Goth Weekend visiting. It was particularly notable with the clothing retailers – I was interested in items at 2 stalls but couldn’t attract the attention of the sellers (one of whom actually turned her back on us when I showed interest in an annoyingly unpriced choker, the other who stood in front of the t-shirt dress I was interested in with his arms folded like a giant slab of gobbed up steak). Ok, I appreciate it was Sunday morning, the last day of a long weekend and people were flagging but some traders were down right rude.
The creatives were in general more friendly (gorgeous inks in the corner of the Leisure Centre, had to walk away before I came home with an expensive beardy warrior). My lovely husband bought me a beautiful illustrated book by Jenna Whyte (in the Spa), who was just lovely and signed it for me. The Illustrated Guide to the Elements is quite delightful, taking the periodic table and spinning it on it’s steampunk head. Her prints are exquisite, and I also managed to leave with her lovely print of Kassandra the prophetess.
I had a wonderful time, though post Whitby slumpage has now hit. I’ve been particularly lazy when it comes to being creative – today is the first day in over 2 weeks I’ve had to myself and I’ve crashed and burned. No shortage of ideas but a definite increase in procrastination on settee central! Here’s to next year, and another fabulous week with wonderful people, wonderful food and superb music.
Can’t say too much; indeed I don’t know too much but have just found out I’ve been highly commended in a national short story competition for my story the Bone Queen. I am so delighted – I find short stories very hard to write and this tale about a rag and bone queen is probably my favourite of all the stories I’ve written. I believe this now means it will be published.
Most of my recent posts have been private; sadly this world just sometimes knocks me sideways and the proverbial black dog needs her outlet. The commendation has given me a much needed confidence boost to continue with the writing – I may never be able to make a living from it but it is an absolute joy to know that other people value your words.
Part of the inspiration for the story was the poem The Circus’ Animals Desertion by Yeats, particularly the final verse:
Those masterful images because complete
Grew in pure mind, but out of what began?
A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder’s gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.
So on this happy note my Whitby preparation is now in full swing – wardrobe contents analysed, button stability on certain items checked (Spin Doctor – wonderfully pleasing clothes; woeful button attachment). I even have the cutest little steampunky boots, below, from Hush Puppies children’s range of all places (the joy of tiny feet). Flat that opens out onto East Cliff beach. Chips and wine from the Hatless Heron. Cake and books at Becketts. Breakfast at Java. A giant Saturday afternoon drink fest with some fair minded friends in the Elsinore. And all the fun and wonder of the Spa on Friday night, where I can’t wait to see Bad Pollyanna.
(Just 3 weeks of work to ignore then…!)
Time to go forward. Death stirs up many emotions, more complex than you perhaps expect. It hit me when writing the cards for the flowers, the finality. The fact I was writing words the person would never see; yet she would have loved the sunshine bloom (and I drowned out the disapproval of those that believe sunflowers and brightness are inappropriate for a funeral. They may not be traditional, but they are what she would have liked to have been given when alive). You choose the words with such care, and yet they seem inadequate to describe a whole life and what it leaves behind.
However, there is a positive. There were old hurts, a simmering rage from the past that was confronted head on this week. I had to make a decision as to whether to hold back when he needed me, or to let it go and be there emotionally. I chose the later. It was cathartic. It was the right thing to do.
So I can move forward now. I have my annual pilgrimage to look forward to. Whitby, specifically Whitby Goth Weekend. Home of pirates and steampunks, Victorian goths and partying-like-there’s-no-tomorrow goths. A week of stepping outside of the normality of life; my Halloween has become a day of celebrating both the past and the future, rather than thinking of the dead.
It’s superficial on so many levels, but it’s also so nice to concentrate on something that isn’t sorrow and isn’t work. To plan outfits, to try what works, to lust over boots and dresses that really have little place in my mundane life. I am not a ‘scene’ goth, despite my propensity towards black clothing, statement jewellery, maudlin music and esoteric books. I would love to embrace the inner goth on a full time basis (and my alter-ego diarist who only communicates via fountain pen likes to manifest herself as such when she feels the need to have a conversation with me). I am moving further towards corp-goth but due to the nature of my job it is limited.
I also have a goal, to finish the novel that this blog takes it’s name from. I am at 65,000 words; it needs a further 15 to 25k for first draft completion and is fully plotted. I have just lacked time. I’m giving myself a 5,000 word target for the next month to see where we end up.
Thus I end this blog post. Today’s target is 2.5k words. I best get typing!
The future will be what it will be. I can only be who I am. I think, for now, that’s an alright place to be.