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Grimsby In February Part 2

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 15/02/2005

WE decided on a change of plan compared to previous trips, but not before picking up a world-beating pork pie from Pettits to export back to Hampshire. The plan was to go to Cleethorpes and have lunch there and take in the sights.

Home > Features > 2005 Features > Grimsby In February

We caught a 9X, and went up top to savour the views of Freeman Street. Merlin asked why the seats had different upholstery - clearly, I am regarded as an authority on these matters. I suggested that it was probably because of people who had gone out for the night and thrown up, necessitating replacement of the seat covers. ‘Be refined’ said a woman next to me. It’s only when you hear things like this that you realise cultural differences. First of all, this is a linguistic construction (if I remember rightly, a second person imperative or is it is jussive? - help me here, Swanny!) you don't hear anywhere else. It’s impossible to recreate the intonation in words. Also, if there was any reproach, and I don't think there was, it was done nicely. We had a laugh about it. Compare this to the irritable Southern commuter telling someone in an adversarial tone not to use a mobile phone or rustle a crisp packet in a ‘quiet zone’. In the northern parts of Lincolnshire, people join in other people’s conversations, and it’s entirely natural and friendly. This happened to me countless times during the day as we worked our way round, and I do it myself. ‘Having a laugh with a stranger’ is an alien concept to the Sullen Southerners. Actually, I don't know why they have ‘quiet zones’ on trains in the south because they don't have conversations ... other than for the purpose of showing off their trendy mobiles, I suppose.

The children, on being presented with the options, decided they'd like that most Lincolnshire of dishes for lunch, an Indian meal. Since the last trip, they've become more sophisticated in their eating i.e. it costs me more money. After thanking the bus driver (does anyone do this anywhere else, it’s like taking your glass back to the bar which never happens ‘down south’), I had an instant reminder of a forgotten life skill - putting a piece of paper in a bin. In Grimsby and Cleethorpes it’s like a scientific experiment. Mine went wrong as I attempted to put the used bus tickets in a bin with the wind at the wrong angle. The tickets blew 50 yards down the road within a millisecond.

We walked through Cleethorpes Market Place to the Agrah on Sea View Street. The service was a bit surly, but the food was superb. As good as anywhere. Before doubts are raised, I haven't sold out and gone girlie - haddock and chips was on the agenda for tea. The walk back to the centre of Cleethorpes was nostalgic. Sea View Street has two Tetleys pubs where I spent many happy and beery hours in my late teens - the Nottingham and the Queens. I wonder if the Queens still has ripped up seats. It used to have real atmosphere. I didn't have time to find out, unfortunately. We walked back up St.Peter’s Avenue and to my old primary school, Bursar school, which I had promised to show the children. Apart from new houses incongruously replacing the prefabs across the road, it hasn't changed since 1970. I took the opportunity to explain how to say ‘Bursar’ properly, knowing that both of them are intrigued with the local accent, which regrettably I have lost myself for the most part.

We still had a bit of time, so I gave way to the children’s desire to fuel their gambling addiction, and so we went to the ‘slotties’. This cost me 72 pence, including being jizzed out of 50 pence on the defective roulette machine. I couldn't be bothered to complain. We walked to Wonderland, taking in the exotically mixed smell of the sea air, fish and deep-fried doughnuts. The children tried to work out how a Grimbarian would say doughnut. This resulted in a stern lecture on the importance of distinguishing between Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and other accents, if they were going to get anywhere in life (I haven't so I don't know why I considered myself such an authority, but I suppose it’s a parent’s prerogative).

The temperature had dropped still further and it had started to rain when we got to Blundell Park. At least we'll have the wind behind us going back to Cleethorpes station, I thought. What would the footballers make of it? It had been a good day so far, and it got better ... it was free for children today. £16 all in for me, Merlin and Revis. All we had to do now was to look forward to a cracking game of football. We took our seats in the John Smiths Upper with anticipation, as teams came on and battle commenced.

The article continues in Part Three.

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