I’ve been hearing voices in my head all week and it’s been quite an emotional experience. Before you back away and make that call to the authorities, I should probably explain. I’ve been on holiday. Yay! Where did I go? North Yorkshire. Yay! And did the sun shine? Yes it did, every single day! Yay, yay, and thrice yay!
Now, I know that for someone who lives in East Yorkshire, holidaying in North Yorkshire is hardly an epic journey. Truthfully, it took us less than forty-five minutes to reach our destination but that’s not the point. In recent years we’ve taken to holidaying in the South West – Devon, Somerset and especially Cornwall. We love that area and will no doubt be heading back there, if not next year then certainly the year after. However, DH and I were not travelling alone. Oh no. In our wisdom we’d decided to take with us not only our son, his partner and their two-year-old daughter, but also our daughter, her partner, her six-year-old son and their ten-week-old baby. Yes, you read that right. Ten weeks old! Were we mad? Possibly.
The thing is, with three very young children on board, we didn’t fancy a six-hour car journey to the west country, so we got all nostalgic and decided to take our grandchildren back to the holiday park we used to stay at when our own children were small. It lies between Filey and Scarborough and has spectacular countryside around it as you can see below.
I wasn’t prepared for the fact, however, that everywhere we went we heard echoes of our holidays past. Talk about haunted! It felt like the ghosts of our long-ago summers were following us around. Every time I heard a child shout for its mother I automatically looked round. I could still see my two youngest boys climbing on the ropes in the adventure playground. I could see my eldest son doing a Baywatch-style slow motion run along the cliff top to our howls of laughter. I could see my eldest daughter desperately trying to avoid being splashed in the swimming pool (she still does!) and hear my youngest daughter wailing as her sister tried to nudge her off a ride. I blinked away tears when I saw that the old pub, in which countless drinks had been knocked over by our over-enthusiastic youngsters, had been changed to a much smarter restaurant/bar. The old food court was now a Burger King and a pizza place. The Donkey Derby had disappeared entirely. It was far more emotional than I’d expected it to be and I gulped as I looked at those same little children now all grown up with children of their own, wondering what happened to all those years. Where had all that time gone?
Equally surprising was our trip to Robin Hood’s Bay. Regular readers of this blog will know that the series of books I’m currently working on are set in the fictional village of Kearton Bay, which is based on this very location. I haven’t been back to the bay since I started writing the novels and it was astonishingly moving to go there and imagine my characters walking around and living their lives among those beautiful little passages and alleyways.
There is a very steep hill in Robin Hood’s Bay which is the main route down to the beach, and several of my characters moan about it. It was funny to walk down it and see for myself how much of a struggle it is to get back up! I reached the bottom eventually and stared out over the beach and imagined my characters doing the very same thing. I could visualise scenes from the novels and could even hear their voices echoing around me as they played out the key moments of their lives.
When I eventually made it back up to the top of that hill (and believe me, it took a while) I stared out over the sea and thought about how far I’d come since the last time I visited this very place and realised how much my characters meant to me and how real they seemed. It filled me with an enthusiasm to get back to the laptop and start work on the third in the series. I’m keen to get going but also rather dreading the day I write The End on book four as I will be saying a final goodbye to my fictional world and the lovely people I met there. One thing’s for sure, Robin Hood’s Bay will always hold a special place in my heart.
Have a great week xx