Determined to stay positive, in 2017.
A different Pete might well have complained about driving to our holiday in torrential rain. Being stuck behind a tractor for ages, then having to take a long diversion because of an accident in Boston. (The original one, in Lincolnshire) But not me, not the positive me. A journey of about ninety miles north still only took some three hours, even with the unexpected delays.
We arrived in a dry but chilly late afternoon, and checked in to our rented cottage behind the large comfortable hotel. The town of Sutton on Sea was unchanged, after nine years. Still the same shops, the small High Street, the unspoilt seafront, and long promenade. This is a place set in time, and that time feels like 1960. The cottage that we last stayed in in 2008 was as we remembered, with better beds, and a modern television. There was even time for a brisk walk along the front before dark, and the handy convenience store provided some essentials before we settled down to an evening in, with the food we had sensibly brought with us.
Ollie enjoyed the novelty of the stairs leading up to the bathroom and two double bedrooms, and there was ample space for his large bed, and both his food and water bowls. Once unpacked and settled, we relaxed watching the TV, before I had a nice early night, and a very good sleep. Because it was officially out of season, there were no noisy family groups, and few people around, other than a handful of hotel guests. So no issues with parking, and no noise of any concern after dark.
After breakfast the next morning, we set off for the seafront walk to the town of Mablethorpe, around three miles north. Deliberately downmarket as a resort, Mablethorpe is home to holidaymakers in caravans, cheap guest houses, and basic accommodation. It has cut-price markets, bargain-basement gift shops, and the cheapest fast food we have ever seen. This is a bucket and spade, sand-castles holiday town, in the long tradition of the British seaside. And all the better for it, in my opinion. After stopping for a coffee, we retraced our steps to Sutton on Sea, and bought a Chinese takeaway meal, to save cooking. That night, the coast was hit by a fierce storm, and torrential rain. But it didn’t really affect us, other than hearing the howling gales from the comfort of the cottage.
Another positive day.
On Wednesday, we had arranged to meet my cousin and his wife. They live in West Lincolnshire, so it was a relatively short journey for them to come and see us. We met for lunch in the hotel, which we all agreed was excellent. Then the sun came out, so we were able to enjoy a long walk with Ollie, heading south to nearby Sandilands. Catching up with my cousin and his wife again was a welcome diversion, and we finished off the evening with toasted sandwiches in the cottage.
Positivity was once again the order of the day.
On Thursday, I had planned a trip to Tattershall, with its castle and church on the agenda. Following that, a short journey to the pleasant town of Woodhall Spa. We woke to dark skies, and some heavy rain. The sort of morning where you consider abandoning plans, and going back to bed. But not when you are being positive, oh no. You head out anyway, and hope for the best. Under an hour later, we pulled into the car park for the castle and church, and it had stopped raining. Off we went, and discovered that the church was not only open, but photography was allowed inside too. Even better, dogs were allowed, so Ollie made his first trip inside a church into the bargain.
Once at the castle, despite gloomy skies, the rain still held off. Julie looked after Ollie as I scampered up the stairs inside, delighted to discover that the roof was open to visitors. The sun came out just long enough for some distant views and photos, followed by a short walk around the moat, and the fields beyond for Ollie. Back at the car, the rain finally came down. But it didn’t matter, as we were safe inside the car, making the trip to Woodhall Spa. Arriving there, we had coffee on the outside terrace of a pub, and made a quick tour of the familiar town, before getting back to the car park just as the heavens opened once more. Our luck was holding, and being positive was appearing to work. That night we ate at the hotel, where Ollie was allowed to sit by our table. Another delicious meal, finished off with some powerful ‘designer gin’.
All in all, a great day out, and very positive.
Friday was our last full day, and we woke once again to threatening skies and rain. Undaunted, we set off to Chapel St Leonards, a seaside village eight miles from Sutton on Sea, to the south. Once again, it felt familiar, and completely unchanged in almost a decade. The cheap cafes, seaside shops, and local people on mobility scooters. Another window into the past, steeped in a tradition that is in my bones. Once parked and heading for the beach, it had stopped raining, though we had to dodge puddles. The chilly wind was beaten back by wearing a warm coat, and I was soon happily photographing the closed down seafront cafes and beach huts. Despite being the end of the season, the small amusement arcades were still operating, and all the cafes were open. It was a nice nostalgic trip indeed, and although Ollie wasn’t keen on the windswept beach and sand dunes, I loved it. When we got back, the sun had come out a little, so I took off with Ollie to photograph some more sights at Sutton on Sea. For our last night, we went back to the hotel to eat in the restaurant. Ollie was fast asleep by 7 pm, so we left him resting. After another nice meal, we enjoyed some cocktails before heading back to the cottage to get ready for bed.
Being positive and braving the weather had worked out just right, once again.
Driving home on Saturday, we were in and out of torrential rain, delayed by farm tractors, and wary of road accidents in the gloom. But it was of no concern, as we were only travelling home, and the short holiday was now behind us.
Staying positive, in 2017.