Tuesday, 15 July 2008

A Peaceful Weekend at the Seaside

The strain of the our forthcoming move is beginning to show. A couple of days away usually does the trick so we load up the van and, hey presto we're away. Three hours later and we're walking down Skegness High Street.
Dear old Skeggy, full of obese, cigarette smoking, often tattooed individuals of both sexes, many day trippers from the Midlands: Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley. A pilgrimage their parents and grandparents made in the non too distant past.
Although it is barely afternoon the effects of alcohol and the warm sun combine to make the expletives flow and I wince at the lack of self control shown by some with small children in tow.
We buy a bag of chips, obligatory in Skegness and eat them outside the shop. Skegness never did stand on ceremony; the place has a certain charm, though many would not be seen dead there, an unfortunate phrase considering what was to happen only a few hours later.
We elected to stay overnight on a caravan site in nearby Anderby Creek. A pleasant enough choice amongst the static caravans much loved on the East Coast. Plus the bonus of a pub nearby. A toilet block on the site plus a pub nearby, life is good at times as long as your expectations are not too high! We cooked a meal by the beach, returned to the caravan site in good humour and retired to the pub.
The place was full and it was immediately apparent the average age was high. (The average age of motorhomers evidently is sixty three. The average age of people in static caravans is probably higher.) It did occur to me an OAP bus trip had called in except that it was fairly obvious that most were ensconced in the best seats, suggesting they were all 'regulars'. No matter, my wife and I took a back seat, literally a back seat and surveyed the scene.
The bingo was approached by the regulars with enthusiasm, the caller screeching the numbers with deafening gusto. My original enthusiasm was tested and the production of a karaoke machine set the alarm bells ringing. Thus commenced the worst karaoke singing I have ever heard. Whether it was the sheer age of the participants, (whom I doubt had ever seen never mind used such modern apparatus) or the choice of song, inevitably Country and Western, the end product was excruciatingly bad. Plus they did encores, perhaps a case of senility rules. (One old gentleman definitely 'away with the fairies' insisted on regaling us with his rendering of an entirely different song (we were in a side room and viewing through an open door).
By now my original euphoria had all but gone, and I was beginning to wonder whether our visit was a good idea. I glanced out of the window and did a double take so as to be sure as to what I was actually seeing. A van was only yards away, its rear doors open. An unusual vehicle in a way, it took only a moment to realise it was in fact an undertaker's vehicle. Fascinated, singers ignored I watched in morbid fascination. Lo and behold, a stretchered body appeared from a nearby caravan and was carefully placed in the waiting vehicle; and the karaokers continued to karaoke. Quite a shock of a Saturday evening, not exactly designed to lift the spirits if you'll pardon the pun. The karaoke was bad but I hadn't realised it was that bad! (Evidently an elderly gentleman had died in the caravan overnight and had been discovered only minutes before we arrived for a 'fun' night out.)
The rest of a most unusual weekend passed without incident, but a weekend we would not forget in a hurry. Who said you can't beat a weekend on the East Coast for getting rid of stress!
Coincidentally I write up this post as the television announces new government plans to allow people to die in the place of their choice. Great news, except that you need to know in advance the time of your demise. No doubt the old man loved his caravan at the seaside. I wonder if he knew something we didn't.

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