This year we've swapped Spain for Scarborough to have a staycation instead of jetting away. Instead of a fortnight in the sun it's a long weekend on the North Yorkshire coast where if the sun comes out, we'll be lucky. And do you know what? I couldn't be looking forward to it more.
Scarborough holds a special place in my heart. It's where we went as a family for years and years and years (repeat until you get fed up) for two weeks during Shipyard Fortnight in the middle of August in the 1970s. We'd stay in the same guest house on the North Side and spend as much time as we could on the beach. The most vivid, happy memories of those days with my parents and two brothers are of happy pub lunches in beer gardens, eating scampi and chips in a basket under a pub umbrella in the sun. Very special memories, still to cause my stomach to flip with childish glee, are of the Tree Walk in Peasholm Park, then the most magical place in the world, twinkling with fairy lights. Happy days indeed. We all loved going to Scarborough.
And then when we grew up, left home, Scarborough was forgotten as holidays were spent more than 200 miles from our own front door. And then one of my brothers and his then wife had two lovely little babies and as a family they'd go to Scarborough too, carrying on the tradition of a traidtional seaside holiday to a new generation. Fish and chips, ice-cream, donkey rides on the beach, the cliff lifts, little steam train, water slide and outdoor theatre.
Anyway, time passed, as it does. My parents started to take their growing grandkids to Scarborough whenever they could. Everyone was happy. More time passed. And then something happened.
Lost, trying to cope with our grief, one of my brothers said: "You know what we should do?" We looked, we waited, we had to know what it was he was going to say. "We should all go to Scarborough." And so we did. We all went, grandkids included, but we were missing one person who couldn't be there. We played bingo, frisbee on the beach, sang karaoke, ate ice cream and chips, and all the time, did all the things he used to love doing, all the things we did when we were there with him as kids. And although he wasn't there, he was with us all, in our own way. And he'll always be in Scarborough because he loved it more than any of us. His love for the place carries on in all of us, his kids and his grandkids, their friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, our own partners and mates.
And after that weekend when we went to celebrate dad's life with a weekend as a family in his favourite place (apart from the local working men's club), we started going at least once a year, for a weekend, for a day. We'd rediscovered the joy, the childlike enthusiasm the place brings out in you, it's a seaside town with bells on, it doesn't pretend to be anything else. And that's why I'm going tomorrow.