“Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside!…”
The first week in September, schools are back, and it is feeling like the end of summer. It must be time for the annual trip to Cleethorpes.
Gordon’s Coaches are big, 40 or so seats, and with room for wheelchairs, but we filled the coach this year. Old hands and new filled the seats, seasoned Cleethorpes visitors and some who’ve never experienced its delights before. Some of us have been on this annual trip for years, and for others it was their first time to meet the group.
We were lucky to have with us Katrina, whose last day as a volunteer this was, before she goes off to do her nurse training in York. Also, to have Loretta, who normally works with us now on Fridays, and Bev, who is our new Day Centre Manager. This was their first outing with us and with other volunteers and students alongside families and attenders we made a great party. And what a grand day we had.
The media had been promising warm weather and as the day dawned, it seemed the forecast was right. We had packed big piles of blankets and coats, some even brought umbrellas – we know what it can be like at Cleethorpes. And last year, well, it did nothing but pour down like cats and dogs. But the canny amongst us also brought sun cream, sunglasses and sunhats.
We set off once everyone was comfortably seated, and the miles soon disappeared, under dramatic but bright skies. Soon we could see the chimneys of the threatened oil refinery at Grimsby, and then the cranes of the docks. A lollipop was promised for the first to see the sea.
The gradual approach to the sea front, lined with the familiar shops and houses gave way to the central street with its abundantly bright baskets of flowers. We walked the short distance to the Ocean Fish Restaurant where we were expected, and greeted warmly.
We were immediately offered tea and coffee and brought bread and butter to accompany our fish and chips. We were soon enjoying our lunch, and most of us found room for the ice cream for dessert.
Out on the street again, we discovered that not only was it warm, but that it wasn’t raining! So we enjoyed the walk along quiet streets to the sea front. We walked along to the pier, watching little children on their holidays burying their Dads in sand, and chasing seagulls.
Once past the pier, we soon found seats, and some of us found room for more ice cream and even doughnuts fresh from the stall on the promenade.
We sat and chatted, enjoying the warmth, and even some bright sunshine, and watching the beach with families playing, and with ships passing some distance away on their way up and down the Humber estuary.
Ronan ventured on to the beach and collected some shells, which were admired and enjoyed.
Three o’clock and time to walk back to get on the coach for home. We chatted as we set off and then burst in to song: “Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside!”