WENDY PRATT Wendy Pratt Poet, writer and part-time beachcomber sends a personal postcard from the Yorkshire coast T his month I have emerged from my cocoon and begun venturing to pubs, restaurants and shops. It’s still a bit weird. There are still queues and masks and hand sanitiser; perhaps this is the way it will be now. But there is also good food, napkins and sparkling cutlery, tasteful décor and the hum of happy conversation. This month I felt brave enough to head into Scarborough, which is currently full to the brim of tourists making the most of their last days of holiday season. I caught a bus, and realised I’d not been on one for months. And what joy! A bus full of folk coming into the town from the camp sites, a bus full of children bubbling with excitement and sun burnt grown-ups carrying buckets and spades and picnics. When I alighted in Scarborough I was hit by a strange outsidey vulnerability, like a snail without its shell, or a leg coming out of a cast for the first time. Everything was so shiny and big and noisy. But within minutes I found myself falling back into the side step that us coastal people develop from childhood, a sort of crab like walk that pre-empts the sudden slowing down of holiday makers taking in the sites. I was on a mission that day, wearing actual make up. I’d brushed my hair, too, for a lunch date. I was taking my best friend out for her birthday. She’s a nurse, as is her lovely husband, and they have been working so hard, it was lovely to be able to remove her from her PPE and take her to a restaurant. One of the loveliest things about Scarborough is it’s higgledy piggledy layout, with lots of little side streets, eateries and bars. I love a little nook of a café to curl up in, but it does make social distancing a nightmare. The smallest cafes and restaurants are struggling a bit with this, and I’m impressed with the way the town is pulling together. One of these brilliant initiatives is the teaming up of the Eat Me Café and Social, usually on Hanover Road, with Good food, good views, good company A hello and goodbye from our columnist our glorious art deco theatre the Stephen Joseph. The theatre has opened its airy bar area to Eat Me, so people can spread out and enjoy themselves again. Hopefully live performances won’t be far behind. I’ve long been a fan of the theatre, I love the Art Deco style and the big windows and oh, how good it was to sit in the window, eating mac and cheese with a good glass of wine, getting waited on and having my best friend to myself for an hour while we set the world to rights. watched the people milling down Westborough, the sunshine glinting off the windows of newly opened shops, cafes with outside eating areas, seagulls back to dive bombing unsuspecting pasty eaters, it not only felt normal, it felt wonderfully relaxed. It is difficult, at the moment, to create an atmosphere of relaxed enjoyment, but in the theatre bar, with good food and good company, it happened. And thus, dear reader, I leave you. This is my last column for Yorkshire Life. It has been a true pleasure to celebrate the coast and the culture that make up my life. Thank you for your attentive reading. I will be away being poet in residence at the White Lodge in Filey, and launching my new poetry collection with The Poetry Business, and if you want to know what else I’m getting up to, pop over to my blog at wendyprattpoetry.com. Take care, stay safe. ABOVE: Scarborough’s much-loved Stephen Joseph Theatre ‘How good it was to sit in the window, eating mac and cheese with a good glass of wine’ It’s strange how these small moments become so important, as if the world has been black and white all summer and is now infused with light and colour. As I drank my wine and N Yorkshire Life: October 2020 105
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