Whitby…the times they are a changing

Whitby is one of the key places of my childhood and many years of my young adult life. My infatuation with the un-dead started in a library in Thornaby, but my passion for the shade black begun in Whitby, when I encountered hundreds and hundreds of Goth’s when I was barely eleven years old.

I have now worn almost exclusively black for more than half of my life, but more about that later on in another blog. Anyway, you would think that after years and years of walking through the same cobbled streets, under the same whale bones, along the same beach would eventually bore the hell out of me, but no. It doesn’t. My love for the small seaside town remains, but my objectives to go there have somewhat altered. Yes, I still wear black, yes, I still like the odd vampire tale and movie now and then, but I now go to Whitby for the landscapes, chips and bookshop (primarily the sale that’s always on up the rickety stairs. For your info, they still have loads of copies of Zoo by one of my favourite photographers Britta Jaschinski)

instead of for the purchase of coffin backpacks or to have my photo taken by a Goth hungry photographer, desperate for a pale complexion, spikes and velvet. Of course, I still walk up the 199 steps and think about Bram Stoker and his inspiration for his monumental tale, but this particular trip t’other day with Tom was crammed with bird sightings, good chips and tea and cheap books. We hiked along the empty coast line and enjoyed the blustery weather, the lack of human encounters and the mass sightings of the feathered variety.

Tom consistently amazes me with his vast knowledge of our feathered friends. The bloke can spot a blip of a bird in the distance and announce its species, sex and probably what it had eaten for breakfast. I can’t help but grin like a goon and try and position his binoculars so I can see it clearly. I’ve always had this admiration for birds (primarily owls, ravens and crows) and the fact that the little buggers can fly. I know, I know, but honestly, isn’t it remarkable that these little creatures, with their tiny hearts and tiny bodies can make it through the skies. I like it that all we will be able to do is stand, watch and wish. Now, with Tom as my tutor, I’m slowly developing this new knowledge of birds and gaining this awesome respect for the small ones feeding on a piece of apple to the huge birds of prey gliding like miracles through the sky. We caught sight of a bird called a Turnstone…then sight of about a dozen more.

It was with sheer delight and wonder that I watched these tiny things hurry around the surf on their thin little legs, looking for food. Now, I doubt that many visitors to Whitby would have even noticed these little beauties, and that makes it somewhat even more special.