I went on a bit of a road trip recently, or at least as much of a road trip that you can do in the UK, so it wasn’t really.
Just under a year ago I went back to a place that I had spent a lot of my youth at. In particular the holidays. Revisiting the place with family was nice. We were able to have a good meal and then sat down and enjoyed the carnival. I think I posted at the time the carnival was a lot shorter than in previous years, or at least seemed that way, and some of the possible reasons behind it.
Carnival day though gives a very different impression of a place and I was interested to see what the ‘Bay was like on a normal weekend. Would there still be the business and vibrancy that the carnival brought. Would the place seem better or worse as sometimes the all the marketeers that turn up for the carnival can give a cheap feel to a place.
Recently I managed to get the chance to head back, taking a friend with me. Their take on the place would be just as interesting given they were seeing it for the first time, with neither rose tinted spectacles or the memories of what used to be.
The place had a very different feel to it to carnival day, but I expected that. It was nice weather so there were people out and about (at least at first). As we strolled through the town I gave a little bit of a history of the place, telling both fun memories and sad stories that had happened over the last few decades. What I found nice was that compared with carnival day, the place, I feel, had a better feel to it. Maybe that’s down to my dislike of people wanting me to buy stuff I don’t want and them not being there, or that it was a quiet weekend and nothing much was happening in town. (They are, I suspect in a lull just before they begin the build up to their carnival in mid August). I’m sure that on Saturdays there is more of a buzz with more shops being open, certainly there is where I live, but then we’re talking the difference there between a city and a town. For me though the uncrowded streets made strolling around very pleasant.
In what I’ve been told was a far too energetic decision, we carried on walking through the town, back onto the seafront and onto Reculver. Again along the way I was able to tell stories from my youth, some rather harder to convey due to changes and lack of upkeep. Family pubs with beer gardens from my youth are no longer there to be enjoyed by future generations, either suffering the ravages of time and disaster or have since been taken over to meet a different need. For me that is sad, but at the same time it’s understandable. It was a different time and such family outings tend not to be so frequent.
Reculver is always a nice place to visit. Again there are lots of memories from having walked there or visited by car in the past. Even in their current state there is still a beauty to the towers and with the sky and sun behind them there is often the opportunity of a good photo.
Walking back there were still a few stories to be told and by the end, some rain to be dodged. Unsurprisingly it was less crowded now with the change in weather having sent people in from the beach. Thankfully we got back to the car before the skies really opened (and they really did open).
As I drove off, sadly into the rain rather than the sunset, we waved goodbye to what used to be my grandparents’ house. We had both enjoyed the visit. Me because I had rediscovered the quieter town and my friend for seeing a very different seaside town with a character all of its own. I’m pretty sure we’ll both be back.