February school half-term and I had a visit from the grandchildren to plan for which can be a stressful experience as generally when they visit they spend a week dismantling and redecorating the house and trashing the garden .
As always I made some preparations but this is rather like building the Maginot Line, a good idea, very expensive but ultimately useless!
Since 2011 I have lived in the east coast town of Grimsby and every so when they visit it is my job to arrange entertainment. This can be a challenge because to be honest and I don’t think I am being unfair here there just isn’t a great deal to do in Grimsby.
I like the town but it has to be said that it is an odd place. It is a community in decline. On the south bank of the Humber Estuary it is so far east that the only place to go after this is the North Sea and there aren’t any ferries to Europe as they are in Hull on the north side of the river. It is a dead end. It is a place that you only go to by choice. No one visits Grimsby by accident. You cannot stumble upon it while taking a leisurely drive along the coast as say in Northumberland or East Anglia. It can never be an unexpected discovery. You don’t go to Grimsby unless you are going to Grimsby!
This half-term I decided to find a reasonably priced hotel and let them trash someone else’s place instead. Unfortunately for the Premier Inn Company I chose their hotel in Beverley in Yorkshire just a few miles north of Hull, the UK Capital of Culture for 2017.
We arrived late on Monday afternoon and proceeded immediately to take the place apart – I was sure that the police would arrive at any minute in a blitz of flashing blue lights and screeching sirens to take us away. Within minutes it looked like Belgium after the German army had driven through in 1940 on the way to France. But all was not lost and eventually they calmed down and we went for evening meal in the dining room which we managed to leave an hour or so later without completely destroying the place.
Next day it was a lovely late Winter morning and after breakfast I made a decision that it was worth making a short journey to the coast to the North Sea town of Hornsea. It took us about thirty minutes to drive there.
On arrival I was immediately impressed. I live near the resort town of Cleethorpes but although it is a popular holiday resort it has to be said that it is just a muddy estuary where the sea is barely visible for long periods of the day but this was real North Sea coast with a raging sea, barnacled groynes, pounding surf, churning water and a pebble beach clattering away as it was constantly rearranged by the tidal surge.
I liked it but the children liked it even more and once down on the beach they made a run for the sea. I called after them to stop but it was hopeless, shouting into a wind that just carried my instructions away back towards the promenade and they charged like the Light Brigade towards the water.
Inevitably they fell in. William first and then Patsy, Molly managed to stay vertical but still got soaked by the waves. I had no change of clothing of course (a lesson learned there) so after I had dragged them from the sea we had to walk a while and let the stiff wind blow the moisture from their clothes. Marks out of 10 for Granddad – ZERO.
I liked Hornsea, a seaside town off the main visitor route, rather inaccessible and certainly not on any main tourist trail. I would absolutely go back there again, maybe even for a weekend break (no children).
Wet through we returned to Beverley to the Premier Inn where we changed and showered and then simply enjoyed the room. None of the children were enthusiastic about visiting the town centre and I wasn’t going to argue with them on that point because being around shops with children can be another challenge so we wasted the afternoon away as we prepared for a second night in the dining room and a plan to spoil everyone else’s evening!