Thursday, 7 June 2012

Day 24 - Lincolnshire, including Skeggy! - May 24th

An excellent sleep – my coughing has faded as we distance ourselves from the smokers.  Having stayed here before, it was interesting to compare rooms – but I’ll leave that to the Tripadvisor report.
Another good English buffet breakfast and with freshly poached eggs to order again. Amazing how many places serve eggs the way THEY want rather than the way WE want so to get the option was much appreciated.  We had a chat to the lady on the next table who was from Australia.
Today, we were heading back to Nottingham and left the hotel at 10am heading to Boston.  The last time I was there was about 30 years ago but the town had been spruced up, as have several others, with dedicated pedestrian areas.  We wandered around, mainly just to stretch our legs, and noted that almost 1 in 2 people we heard talking were Polish.  We did call into the cathedral and as is common in the UK, quite an impressive building.
We then headed for Skegness.  Now for those not well acquainted with the UK geography or reputation, Skeggy is probably the nearest seaside resort to the Midlands and East Midlands, so in days past, when most Brits were confined to public transport and before the cheap airlines dominated the holiday scene,  Skeggy was the annual pilgrimage for many, many blue collar workers and their families.  That includes the car workers of Birmingham, the miners from Nottinghamshire when the last week in July and first week of August was known as either factory week, or pit week. Skegness’ catch phrase is “Skegness is so bracing”, a thinly disguised reference to the howling and chilly winds that come in off the North Sea.  This means that like Blackpool on the west coast, it has always had to offer an alternative to sunbathing, though the sands stretch for ever are ideal for beach cricket or football.   When the tide goes out, it really goes out and visitors often opt for catching a Dukw to get to the water’s edge!  Monaco it is not.
The entertainment on shore is the usual neon lit cacophony of bingo parlours, slot machines and when in season, funfairs.
We arrived just before the season really started, so many attractions (sic) were closed but there were still a fair few people around enjoying the sun - once the sea mist had lifted.
We parked in McDonalds and therefore treated ourselves to a snack in return for 90 minutes free parking.  A healthy grilled chicken wrap for Paula (she gave it top marks) and a burger for me.  With a while before our free parking expired, we headed for the central beach area.  The photographs may tell the real story...  As we walked back, I was somehow magnetically attracted to the “Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas for £4.50” sign, with a notice on the stall itself that also stated ”We do not insult our customers by serving frozen fish!”  (In NZ, I wish they would state that the fish has only been fried the once, but that is a different story.)

Needless to say, my nose was twitching and a quick look at what others were eating convinced me to give it ago, but having already had a burger, I opted to do without the chips.  (I am not greedy.)  Now I have had many, many pieces of battered fish over the years and it would be fair to say that the quality is somewhat variable.  As for mushy peas, they can be OK or a total disaster. (To Paula, they are all a total disaster...) If I had to rate this portion, it would be 11 out of 10.  The most perfectly cooked piece of extremely fresh fish on a bed of perfectly cooked mushy peas, I think I have ever had.

Suitably full and extremely happy, (well I was) we then headed back towards Nottingham, as the afternoon temperature rose to a very warm 27 degrees.  We stopped briefly at a farmers’ market type of establishment on the outskirts of Newark for a drink, and for the second time within a couple of hours, I managed to knock something else off my food hit list – a drink of Dandelion & Burdock.  For the Brits, this may not be too much of a problem to identify, but I do know that the Kiwis, Australians and Americans reading this may be somewhat puzzled.  Suffice to say it is a soft drink that has a slight taste of liquorice.  Reliving my youth.
The smile on my face for the rest of the day told its own story.  Thankfully, Sue had a light meal for us of cold chicken and salad as I was still rather full.   

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