Friday, December 30, 2011

Cleethorpes - Kind of Surreal

Man in the Moon display on the beach, Cleethorpes, UK

The location of the English wedding reception for my daughter and her new British husband was in Grimsby, England.  My wife and I decided to look for a hotel or guest house nearby.  Before leaving the US, I did my research on the internet, or the interweb as I heard it called in UK.  I found a guest house not far away in a seaside resort named Cleethorpes.

We booked a room at Ginnie' Guesthouse.  Ginnie's turnout to be a gem.  Our room was great.  It had its own toilet, sink and stall shower.  A large window provided great light.  There was both a double and single bed.  A large wardrobe closet was more than ample for our needs.  Enough electrical outlets for my camera charger and my CPAP.  A modest sized TV with remote and free cable that carried British and a few familiar US shows added just enough sparkle .  Overall our second floor room was wonderful.

That night, we were invited to dinner at my daughter's in-laws and I am not sure if it was the conversation or the pain but after dinner my wife decided to go to the hospital to have a health professional look at her foot.  (See the previous post about her foot)         

It was a week and a day of pain since her fall in London.  She didn't see a doctor before this because she had a fear the doctor's and hospital' bills would drain our wallets.  A visit to the ER in the US would cost at least $400 without any doctors' or X-ray bills.  Without money our stay would be, shall I say, uneventful, boring.  We would all be looking out the window at the canal traffic, Olympic construction and watching Friends on Comedy Central on British TV back at my daughter's apartment until our flight home.  It turned out that with the socialized medicine in UK, if there was no hospital stay we didn't need to pay anything.  Nothing.  Nada.  Free.  Even though we were foreigners.  Thank you your majesty, Queen Elizabeth and all your loyal subjects.

We returned to Ginnie's from the hospital with a plaster cast and crutches.  As we noisily asended the stairs after midnight, with me reminding her that people were asleep, my wife remarked of how her life would be so much easier if we had the first floor room at the bottom of the stairs.  Nonetheless, she clumsily hobbled to the second floor, having never before used crutches, even though she had both knees replaced just three years ago.

At breakfast the very next morning, Kim, the owner of Ginnie's, moved us into that first floor room.  It was a nice room but not as great as the second floor room.  The move, however, did make our lives easier.

Our first breakfast was the full English breakfast that included, fried eggs, two rashers of bacon, two bangers (sausages), a small fried tomato, beans, mushrooms and our choice of white or whole grain toast.  My coffee arrived in a small french press pot and my wife received a hot pot of tea.
Source: Two Guys Breakfast Blog
It was great.  The beans kind of blindsided me though.  As an American living in the NorthEast/Mid-Atlantic region I am more familiar with potatoes and not beans with my breakfast.  Beans are saved for hot dogs or maybe outdoor grilling.  I ate them just the same, thank you.

We didn't get to see many sites around Grimsby or Cleethorpes on Friday, except those along the way to the in-laws house, a few miles inland from the beach.
Steel's Corner House Restaurant

Friday evening we had reservations at a well established restaurant in Cleethorpes, renown for their fish and chips, Steel's Corner House Restaurant.  The menu was not huge but varied and included a few vegetarian entrees.   We narrowed our choice down to Small Haddock and Chips, Medium Haddock and Chips or Jumbo Haddock and Chips.  My wife and I settled for the Med Haddock and Chips with a choice of Mushy Peas or no Mushy Peas.  We opted for the Mushy Peas which are just as is sounds, mushed peas.  The food was great and plentiful.  We were glad we didn't go for the jumbo.  The jumbo overhung the plate and those that ordered it, found it difficult to finish.  A few Carling beers were consumed and dinner went well.

We took a taxi from the house in Grimsby to Steel's.  Seems taxis are used quite a bit in UK, even in small towns.  Whereas, finding a taxi in suburban Philadelphia would be a challenge, to say the least.  The route back to Ginnie's followed along the beach.  It was soon after turning onto Kings Way that I saw the sequentially lit electric display called the Man in the Moon, as seen at the top of this post.  I was struck by its grander, that I had stepped back in time.  It was kind of surreal.

Once back at Ginnie's, I helped my wife to the room and got her settled.  I told my wife I was off to capture some photographs of the illuminations.  I needed to see these lighted works of art up close.

It was only 300 yds east on Queens Parade to Kings Way.  I stopped at the intersection.   Along the beach in both directions I saw several sequentially blinking displays of lights; dazzling lights depicting windmills, seals playing catch with a beach ball, a sailboat and the Man on the Moon, among others.  These illuminations have been around for some time.  You can see some here on YouTube in a 8mm film starting at 7:48, taken in Cleethorpes in the 60's .

Two types of lights were used on the displays.  One type was mini rope lights, the other was large faceted bulbs.  This latter type reminded me of light bulbs used on carnival rides made in Italy I saw in shopping malls in the US.  

Fabbri Group
Those bulbs and their connection to Italy flashed images of Fellini movies into my mind, La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, 8 1/2.  As a matter of fact, the whole town had a Fellini feel; a post WWII carnival feel.  At that moment, I really wasn't sure I was awake or dreaming.  I didn't hear any Italian being spoken or see any females wearing huge hats.

Juliet of the Spirits
Juliet of the Spirits

Actually, I didn't see anyone at all.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

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