I’m Almost There!

Almost where? I hear you ask. Answer – ready to upload “Close to the Edge – Tales from the Holderness Coast” which, at the risk of driving you into mild catalepsy is my local history book about the East Coast of Yorkshire.

The Holderness Coast, East Yorkshire

The Holderness Coast, East Yorkshire

The book has taken around 18 months of research, writing and faffing, including an abortive sojourn at a publishing house (for which, if I’m honest I still bear a grudge). On reflection a good lump of that time was taken up with editing, copy reading, obtaining permissions/rights and I still worry that someone will find a typo.

On doing yet another re-read last night it was good to remember how many people and organisations have indirectly contributed – not in the least local museums and libraries. I know these invaluable institutions are under threat from “austerity measures” in the UK so I wanted to use this space to give a shout to some of them and urge anyone looking to spend a bit of time on this eroding coastline to go and visit.

So roll of honour:

Hornsea Museum situated in an old farmhouse in the centre of the town. Don’t be deceived by the apparent smallness of the building – it takes a good while to get round and is packed full of great exhibits. (Sorry Hornsea Museum – I don’t have a photo of you.)

Withernsea Lighthouse Museum – situated – yes you’ve guessed it in Withernsea. It stands, a little incongruously in the middle of the town and has some interesting coastguard and RNLI displays and selections of old photographs relating to local history.

Withernsea Lighthouse and Museum

Withernsea Lighthouse and Museum

The Bayle Museum in Bridlington is located in the old gateway to Bridlington Priory, itself a victim of his royal humpingness, Henry VIII. It is dedicated to the history of the town of Bridlington.

The Bayle Gate, Bridlington

The Bayle Gate, Bridlington

All three museums give a great flavour of times past on the coast and are open now, for the season. Check websites for details.

In addition to the museums I made shameless use of three libraries when researching “Close to the Edge” – these were Hornsea, Bridlington and Beverley libraries. Since libraries seem to be becoming endangered species I’d just like to say that without their helpful staff and the ability to plunder their resources I wouldn’t have been able to write “Close to the Edge.” Thank you one and all.

Close to the Edge – Tales from the Holderness Coast is scheduled for publication as an e-book on 1 June and will be available from Amazon – that is gremlins permitting.

Finding Drogo

After last weekend’s looting and pillaging I’ve spent much of this week quietly, in a darkened room, applying a dot of lavender water to my throbbing temples – such was the impact of a tribe of Britons at play in the sunshine. But I don’t mean to whinge. You can read last Tuesday’s post for the whinge. All I will say is that I’m thankful that I’m the shy, retiring type who doesn’t get out much.

However, it was a profitable weekend. I was able to track down numerous sites of places that have been lost to the sea. How the hell can she do that if they’ve disappeared into the sea? I hear you ask. I will try to express myself more clearly. I found their traces in street, field and house names; in remains on beaches or hanging off a cliff edge; in the memories of natives who wistfully recalled (prompted by a pint or two)the days when they could walk cliffside, from village to village instead of trekking two miles inland; who remembered blissful childhood holidays staying in a cliff top chalet that each summer shifted nearer the tipping point until…Get the picture?

I found the last vestiges of WWII defences against invasion – concrete pillboxes, one of which I’ve earmarked as a bijou home should I default on my vertiginous mortgage payments. Others I found sprawled across the beaches where they’d fallen.
Bijou home
Talking of bijou residences I also found local landmark Drogo’s Castle or the earthworks thereof. Smart cookie Drogo, he marries William the Conqueror’s favourite niece, builds a snug little hideaway in the middle of nowhere, rushes his new bride up there to live but not happily ever after. Presumably the guy got bored with her or, as they say, found another interest. He did her in – poisoned her, then rode like the clappers to uncle William to borrow vast sums of dosh from him before disappearing overseas never to be heard of again…all this before ever his crime was discovered. What a guy!

Walking back across the fields from the castle I ran into a band of hooligans. At first they were curious and just a little wary, shadowing me across the field. Then, egged on by the ring leader who had glossy golden hair and bold blue eyes, they grew confident, crowding me, tugging at the back of my jacket. I started to walk faster, they broke into a trot. I threw dignity to the winds and legged it over the nearest fence. The wild bunch,snorting derisively skidded to a stop on the other side.
“Ya, shoo you buggers” I wheezed. With a jeering “Moo-oooo” they turned away to graze.

I did enjoy my steak in the restaurant that evening.