Monday, May 31, 2010

messing about on the water

This is Peasholm Park where (apparently) they have an annual skipping festival! I'd love to see that some day. We came here the day before my birthday when it was grey and empty and freezing cold. We saw two white ducks trying to drown a brown duck while its husband (you know what I mean) tried to fight them off, looking very worried all the while. The white ducks were climbing on the brown duck's back and grabbing the back of her head in their beaks and forcing it under the water. She nearly did drown, but finally gave a big push and managed to swim free. This caused a round of applause from the rather large crowd who had gathered to watch the macabre proceedings. Hooray for brown duck and her escape!
When we came back on my birthday, the sun was shining and the park had a totally different atmosphere (no attempted duck-murders to witness for one and lots of fluffy goslings pottering about) so we had a go on the pedalos. We had a green dragon... and very tired legs by the end of it! I could hardly walk. Just as well there was a nice cafe to have a great big slice of Victoria sponge in while we recuperated!
After cake, we rode the miniature railway to the aquarium. Oh, I do love a miniature railway. This one blew its whistle a lot. That's good value for money, don't you know!
Here is Graham at the aquarium (this was another first for him) getting to know some fish.
And here's me getting up close and personal with a shark. I actually found it really hard to keep my head in the bubble when things swam near me. There's another photo of an empty bubble where my head had been until a big ray came over to investigate and I ran away. I like rays, but their mouths on their tummies give me the heebie jeebies.
The obligatory jellyfish shot. I could have stayed in the jellyfish section for hours.
Here's a sea dragon (a new addition to the aquarium) with two little seahorses hitching a ride.
I'm not sure what this black spiky thing was, but I'm pretty sure I subtitled Rick Stein eating one this week :(

Sunday, May 30, 2010

friday night at the movies (who cares what picture you see?)

We loved the name and sign for this place. The Futurist... What could it be? We were quite delighted when we discovered it was a cinema and very intrigued when we read it seated almost 2,500 people! We decided to go and see whatever was on that night, which turned out to be the remake of Nightmare On Elm Street*. We are not usually cinema snackers, but we had to get popcorn this time in order to blend in with our surroundings.
The inside of the building is amazing with lots of old features. Sadly, none of my photos of the actual cinema (i.e. the room with the seats and screen) are worth sharing as they are either too dark or too flashy. There certainly were a lot of seats. There was a whole balcony area that wasn't open to the public any more too. I think there must only have been about 20 people in the audience the night we were there. I hope the cinema can survive with those sorts of numbers. It would be a real shame if it closed down or got modernised. Before the film started, an usher came out and stood at the front with a tray of ice cream around his neck! I haven't seen that since I was wee!
Even the toilets were photo worthy. Observe the hand dryers.
Graham borrowed my camera to snap this shot of the urinals. Tee hee!

It seemed quite funny that we were in such a big cinema for my birthday when we went to such a small cinema for Graham's - from 26 seats in Oban to over 2,400 in Scarborough!

* I really enjoyed the remake of Nightmare On Elm Street, but then I do like the original and they hadn't exactly changed much. It was a perfect Friday night popcorn movie, I think.

the building blocks of scarborough

The Spa, complete with grand piano.
Katy's emporium, complete with mosaic tiles, cobbles, swimsuits and buckets and spades.
Rock, rock and more rock. Oh, and plenty of amusements.
Scarborough is not recommended as a holiday destination for anyone with a serious seagull phobia. Those critters are everywhere. The cliffs have the biggest nesting sites (probably closely followed by the walls of the Grand Hotel!) but one band of misfits had taken over this shopfront as their long-term home. Can you just about see how the sign on one side reads Gift Stor and on the other side reads Gift tore?
One of the many ice-cream establishments we will have to try next time.
Another ice-cream shop, this time selling Jaconelli's ice cream! If you come from Glasgow, that's like a wee ice-cream home from home :)
The bright lights (and oh so loud noises) of the amusements were drawing us in for yet another game of air hockey. I came home as the crowned champion, but paid the price of aching arm and stomach muscles. If I had an air hockey table at home, I'd have abs of steel, I swear!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

the harbour bar says so, so it must be true

Well, I certainly felt good after my enormous knickerbocker glory anyway!

This is the rather amazing Harbour Bar. It's actually very small, but there are mirrors everywhere so it looks big in these pictures. Look - even the staff had lovely uniforms.
There was lots to choose from. Next time I got to Scarborough I will stay for a fortnight and visit the Harbour Bar every day for something different. Well, maybe. We saw lots of other really nice retro looking cafes and ice-cream parlours that we wanted to go to, but ended up just not having the time (or turning up on days they were closed). It's fun to think there's still more in Scarborough for us to discover when we go again.

Graham had this lime float in a rather groovy glass. We had just managed to get to the Harbour Bar before it closed on my birthday and we had been saying all weekend how I would have to have a birthday knickerbocker glory. We didn't have enough money on us to buy two, nor did we have time to get to the nearest bank machine and back before closing time. Graham swore he only wanted a lime float anyway and also swears he really enjoyed it. Next time we are in Scarborough I will definitely be treating him to a knickerbocker glory.

I saw the sign (and it opened up my eyes)

Scarborough is a haven of great signage.
This map is in the train station, though we didn't notice it until we were leaving!
There are a couple of these funicular type trams to get up the very steep cliffs. At only 70p one way, it was quite a bargain and we succumbed twice. The carriages are lovely too (photo to follow).
I don't suppose this sign will be getting repaired now that sun bathing is not to be encouraged.
This hotel didn't look that majestic, but it did have a great typeface.
Graham had never been on a big wheel before. I don't think he was keen to start now, but it was one of the things I really wanted to do on my birthday so he gave it a shot (and secretly enjoyed it). We had the big wheel all to ourselves. My actual birthday was so hot and sunny as you can see from this photo. The sudden change in weather was fun, especially since I was about the coldest I had ever been the day before as we got lashed by icy sea water and gale-force winds.
This sign was by the door to the oldest of old-school wig shops that was just beside our hotel. Apparently its main sign (with an out of date phone number) was put up so it could be used for filming The Royal, Scarborough's proudest export! I saw quite a few wig shops actually. Is that a Yorkshire thing? I wouldn't have the foggiest where to find a wig in Glasgow.
One thing Scarborough is not short of is benches. There is literally a bench every three metres or so, all dedicated to the memory of someone. Lots of the plaques were really sweet to read and most of them mentioned how much the person loved either living in or visiting Scarborough. I think Ken must have been a nice man to plan this plaque and I did enjoy the view. Thank you, Ken.

the grand hotel, scarborough

Graham followed my strict instructions to the letter and booked us a room in the Grand Hotel.
We had heard there was nothing grand left about the place, but that was not true at all. Our room was tiny and not very exciting (although clean and comfy with everything you would need) but the building and the public areas of the hotel were amazing, I thought.
As you can see from this picture, the hotel is absolutely massive and is right on the cliff by the beach and all the exciting amusements. The hotel was built in the shape of a V as a tribute to Queen Victoria. You can kind of see the two legs of the V going out from the point in this picture. The room where you have breakfast looks out over the sea and it was great fun to admire the view and laugh at the seagulls getting buffeted about by the wind as they tried to land on the various ledges. I ate rather a lot of fried bread while I did this and Graham ate a lot of prunes for some reason... I guess that is another benefit of doing a pensioner's holiday!
Our room was very high up and almost right at the tip of one the legs of the V, so we could see the beach from our window. I liked watching the donkeys getting ready in the mornings and checking that the big wheel was spinning. At night there were loads of flashing lights as all the amusements etc are down there.
Everything about the hotel (except our bedroom) was massive and there were lots of different areas to sit. Look at the pillars and chandeliers in the bar! There were a few different bars in the hotel (this was the quiet one) although the cocktail bar was closed while we were there, so I didn't get my birthday cocktails. Probably just as well! There was a really nice atmosphere because nobody minded if you bought a drink in one bar and then took it to another or back to your room or to one of may lobbies/balconies with comfy sofas.
Here is an example of a grand balcony! The staircase (wide enough for two ladies in crinoline dresses to pass safely) was also very impressive.
This relic of bygone days was in the corridor near our room. I think it was some sort of call system, but it was really nice it was still there. There were so many corridors and all of them were full of pictures, with lots showing what the hotel was like in the olden days and in the not too distant past as well.
Every single night there is bingo and a quiz followed by cabaret, all included in the price of your room. I was completely gobsmacked by the cabaret the first night. I don't think I had ever seen girls dancing in sequinned bikinis in real life before! It was very old school (I know what Simon Cowell means when he describes contestants as "cabaret" now!) but we got right into it. We usually had to watch from the balcony though as the hardcore experienced guests always nabbed the tables at the edge of the dance floor. Can you see the gas heater in the background? Tee hee!
We usually got back to the hotel in time to catch the tail end of the cabaret, but if not, there was at least still dancing going on. These are my afore-mentioned pals from Blantyre shaking their groove thing to the song from Slumdog Millionaire. The lady on the right had started busting some impressive moves with her arms and soon all her friends were copying her. They got a round of applause for their dancing too :)

Here I am, here I am! How do you do?

I'm back! Did you miss me? I was a bit disappointed that none of you contacted the police or anything. I have been awol for three whole weeks, you know!

As you should be able to tell from these photos, I had a fabulous time turning 30 in Scarborough. I've just been trying to sort out photos and have literally hundreds, most of which I want to share here. I'll be back again (and again and again) throughout the day with vaguely themed Scarborough posts. This post's theme is... me having a good time in Scarborough!

From the top...

1. Jumping for joy at the colourful beach huts;

2. Enjoying an extravagant knickerbocker glory at the Harbour Bar (more pictures of that fabulous place to follow);

3. Pretending our neighbour's birthday banners had been put there for me (I can thoroughly recommend holidaying in a typical pensioners' destination if you are feeling old. There were lots of people in our hotel celebrating their birthdays, but most of them were turning 70 or 80. I was really just a wee slip of a spritely thing at 30!);

4. Riding on the big wheel;

5. Celebrating my brave (and uncharacteristic) birthday solo dance in the middle of an empty dance floor. Graham described my dancing as "very aerobic" and it must have been pretty impressive as I even got a round of applause from the other guests and made friends with a group of dance-mad ladies from Blantyre, who invited me to hang out with them so I wouldn't have to dance solo any more. Tee hee! I know Graham will be none too pleased by this picture's inclusion, but I figured (now we are both official grown-ups) that we shouldn't be embarrassed by the fact we are not that photogenic...
We are total hotties in real life, after all :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

birthdays bloomin' birthdays

Here I am on my first birthday and I obviously haven't changed much in the last 29 years as this is the expression I've had on my face for most of this week. I'm not a birthday lover really and this one is the most painful yet. Still, if I go on enough fairground rides and paddle in the sea for long enough, maybe I will start to believe that I'm still young, just as everyone has been telling me lately. I should add, actually, that there are many pictures of me looking happy on my first birthday and that I had a fun birthday evening last night (drinking strawberry and lime cider, eating curry and watching dodgy old Meg Ryan films) and have already had some lovely presents, so I do know birthdays (even this one!) are not all bad. And I'm still super excited about going Scarborough even though the weather forecast is for torrential rain, but I haven't packed yet so had better go. Next time you hear from me, I will be old 30...

Monday, May 3, 2010

busy doing... what exactly?

Originally uploaded by photobing2000
Goodness, I haven't blogged since April! April! (Yes, I kow April only ended a few days ago, but it has been a while.) Where does the time go? It's been non-stop round these parts, though I can't for the life of me think exactly what I've been doing. Hmm... Well, working obviously and sewing, as I've sold even more EastEnders embroideries. I don't know what is going on with that. I think some nice person must have written something about them, but I've googled to no avail. Well, I'm not complaining (though my broken and bleeding fingers certainly are).

Also on the rise and rise of my sewing skillz, I got asked to go on telly and talk about my embroideries and craft in general. That was a bit crazy and I was very relieved to have the genuine excuse of having to work! I should point out that I haven't heard of a single Glasgow crafter who wasn't asked to go on this show (it's not like they sought me out specifically) and, do you know what? Not a single person was available to do it... allegedly! Either Glasgow crafters are very busy or very camera shy. Anyway, the lady said she was going to have to postpone the item, but that she'd be back in touch when she rescheduled. You may see me on TV yet, but I doubt it!

I've also been a day trip to Edinburgh to visit my old school friend, Julia. We went to the Diane Arbus exhibition at the Dean Gallery (where I saw the picture at the top of this post) and it was great. If you're in Edinburgh, you should definitely try to go - lots of photos of slightly off the beaten track people and women with great hair and jewel encrusted glasses. The photo here is called 'Jewish Giant'. The 'giant' pictured earned his living by appearing as a sideshow attraction, much to his parents' disapproval. Every time I look at this picture, I can't help but think of it as a fairy tale where the (tiny) couple wished and wished for a baby and ended up with a giant, like the reverse Thumbelina.

In other daytrip news, Graham and I had a top day's charity shopping on Thursday. I got a stud and gemstone applying machine (it was only £1 and I'm sure I'll use it... some day?), lots of nice buttons for my collection, a book I'd been wanting to read, a great dress, dominos for brooching and all sorts of other crafty supplies and gubbins. Graham got a record, which was apparently an impressive find.

Other than that, I've been cleaning (slowly but surely undoing the craft fair hurricane in the flat) and swimming in my new swimming suit. I've been looking for a new swimming suit for ages and finally took a chance by getting one on Ebay and it's great. I no longer have to be embarrassed by my fluorescent pink bottom bobbing along the surface of the water. Talking of swimming, I want to go again this morning, so I had better go.

Oh dear, this blog post seems like a letter to an auntie or something. Well, now that we're all caught up, normal blogging can hopefully resume!