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Back in the North and once more driving towards Cleethorpes where we’ll be staying the night in a trailer park with Lindsey’s mum. The journey is punctuated by scarecrows in hi-viz, bad chips and service-station-Michael-Palin-travel-slacks, just in case you should have a trouser emergency.

The trailer park has a guitar-shaped entrance and the caravan areas are all named after birds; albatross, chaffinch, wren. Although sadly there doesn’t seem to be a tit. Or a booby. We get more chips (with pea fritters) from the on-site chippy and settle down for the night to watch Poirot.

The next day we’re up, not bright, but at least early for a trip to Scarborough. As we drive through Grimsby on the way there, we see statues of boars everywhere and decide we’d like to make the boar the latest fashion animal. Fuck owls and wolves – someone needs to start printing t-shirts with great big bastard boars on them. It’s the first nice day of spring and there’s quite a bit of traffic so when we get to Scarborough, we dive into the first café we see – Parlour Tea Rooms, which is attached to a funicular down to the beach. There we eat toasties and consider our plans for the day.

 

 

Scarborough has kind of an uppy bit; all apple-bright shop fronts, little winding passageways and slopes, and a downy bit; all chip whiff and cheap thrills. In fact it’s much more vulgar than we expected. For some reason we had an idea of Scarborough as being well-to-do and up itself, but in fact it’s pleasingly tacky.

We start with the charity and tat shops of the uppy bit. One sells novelty money with pictures of Rodney from Only Fools & Horses on it. ‘Who would buy it?’, we think? But then we see a group of lads, one of whom is grasping a Simpsons version and speaking accusatorily to his mate, “What’ve you got Olly Murs for, you bent bastard?”

 

 

During our walk we decide that after all this time, Lindsey should be made an official Lost Prom member. Nhung wants to do a blood ritual to mark this solemn day but the others nix it. So we decide to do what we usually do and get fake tattoos. While browsing in a joke shop for them, somebody says, “I remember chips in newspaper – it was great when you could get grease on Maggie Thatcher’s face.” Which almost makes up for the earlier overheard comment.

Nhung tries on an 1980s suit with shoulder pads and jodhpurs, but the jacket is so tight she can’t even raise her arms in it. There’s also an amazing shop window with a moving Loch Ness monster and descending spider. And a sweet shop called Love Fudge.

We also go into a memorabilia shop which sells a signed photo of Thora Hird for £20 and one of Nickelback for £150. Broken Britain.

The covered market is slightly disappointing – quite a lot of the units are shut, there’s not much vintage and it smells of incense. However there is a cute home-made jewellery shop with giant 80s style fruit jewellery, a Palmist (Internationally Known) and a saddle shop.

 

 

The uppy bit finished with, we pay 75p for the 2 second funicular trip down to the seafront which is awash with typical seaside resort type stuff. Shops sell bead bracelets with slogans like ‘shut up’, ‘reem’ and ‘lol’. An old lady in a pink headscarf sits on the prom under an arcade, smoking a fag next to a leather-clad biker. There are donkeys and it feels warm in the sun. Someone has drawn a giant spurting cock on the sand.

There is also a shop called Ancient Warrior that seems to be aimed purely at psychopaths. We think this even before we overhear a man telling his crying child, “Don’t be weak”.

 

 

In order to test our own characters, we decide to pay a visit to ‘Terror Tower’, a snip at £2. At first it’s not really that scary – there are glimpses of the Bates Motel, Freddie Krueger, Dracula and a strange sideways troll woman. But Lindsey gets a scare when a giant descending dinosaur head in the Jurassic Park section makes her jump. The best is yet to come though. We hear a stamping from the corridor and then suddenly a very small figure dressed as Jason from the Friday 13th films stands in front of us, hockey mask and all, looking slightly lost yet somehow expectant. “Hello” we say and he wanders off, appearing again every now and then to follow us about a bit more, most notably in the “City Morgue”, which has bodies hanging down and strobe lights going off, like some sort of Death Disco. After that it’s on through the Predator and Alien sections until finally Tiny Jason leads us out, unscathed…this time.

 

 

We recover our nerves in a café called Winkin Willies where we drink tea and eat puddings with custard. The customers enjoy the names of the dishes, “I’ll have a big willy”, “I’ll have a small one”. The waitress is unsmiling.

Off the seafront, there are more winding streets, these ones with more old ladyish shops, including one called ‘Sing and Bling’. The Grand Hotel, where Anne Bronte died, blighted in recent years with fire and norovirus, looms overhead looking like a giant cooking pan – Industrial Oriental. We walk past the harbour and look at the boats stuck in the mud and the closed Luna Park theme park and then head back to the car park.

 

 

We had parked in a shopping centre and arrive back for 7pm assuming that, as in Brighton, the car park would stay open later than the shops, but we can’t find the entrance. We walk all around the periphery searching in vain and realise that the reason we can’t find the entrance is because it’s shut. It had closed at 6.30 and Lindsey’s car is locked inside overnight. We had already booked into and paid for a night at a youth hostel near Whitby. Also all our clothes, underwear, toothbrushes and toiletries are in the car. Oh. Shit. The Lost Promenade are stranded!

 

 

It’s all OK though because after an initial panic, we manage to find a room at Powys Lodge B&B. When Nhung phones to check for vacancies, she says ‘Hello, is this Powys Lodge or Powys Manor or something?’ which makes us all crease up in the background. But the chatty lady called Tina who runs it doesn’t seem to mind and tells us about the time she went to London and found a booking hadn’t been made at the hotel she was due to stay at, so she had to change her knickers in the back of her car. It’s our misfortunes that bring us together.

After food in a nearby pub, we all settle down under a blanket on the bed to watch another rubbish vampire film. The Lost Prom has had its closest shave with disaster yet, but everything’s going to be fine. We have temporary tattoos.

 

 

 

Lost

Car

Boggle Hole youth hostel, where we were supposed to stay the night

Nhung’s temporary tattoo – didn’t go on properly

Tamsin’s ankle – turned it on one of Scarborough’s many slopes

Cream tea – as usual we never had one

80s suit

Hairy Bob’s Cave – a feature of Scarborough apparently

 

 

Found

Book about tarot cards

Dennis Wheatley novel

Octopus-shaped keyring with the name ‘Judy’ written on it

Navy cardigan

Temporary tattoos (an eagle, a wolf and a My Little Pony)

5 postcards

2 Puffin books

2 Mills & Boon Classics

3 toothbrushes

Toothpaste

Nurofen

Moisturiser

Chocolate digestives

Terror in Terror Tower

An unexpected bed for the night

A variety of mystery items that may or may not form part of a special future Lost Promenade project

 

 

High Marnham

High Marnham

After the hard-faced sneer of Skegness, Cleethorpes on a sunny Sunday morning has a hazy charm. Most things are closed, apart from the RNLI shop which is staffed by two old ladies discussing a man who collects ties. It feels like the last day of summer and the air is heavy with future memories. But there is a hint of darkness – we hear a man shouting abuse at his child, a boy who looks stunted and miserable. And Cleethorpes’ most popular nightspot is called ‘Gypsy Tears’.

little donkey

little donkey

But there are donkeys on the beach! Mike, their handler tells us that he’s there with them all the year round, ‘because the resort is poor so you have to look for money where you can.’ In season there are 16, but now it’s down to 3. Their fur is soft and thick like British Blue cats and they keep trying to headbutt us to steal Nhung’s biscuits. The man who was bullying his son buys his daughter a ride. The boy is not allowed one.

crazy golf

crazy golf

We continue along the seafront, which is peppered with sweet, retro ice cream signs and an eccentric home-made crazy golf course that looks like outsider art. On the beach there’s a big wheel and some other fairground rides. We hear Northern Soul and we see see some middle-aged mods on the seafront. As they get older, mods start to look the same as rockers.

Onto the Wonderland Indoor Market, a collection of mainly second hand tat; VHS videos, faded pink lampshades and for some reason, a ‘fetish kit’, complete with bondage restraints. There’s also a café that serves ‘ostrich butties’.

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untitled

That’s it for Cleethorpes. It’s time to start the drive back home to Brighton. But we have a few more stops on our way home. First, on a tip from Del in Skegness; Hemswell Sunday Market, which is near the glamorously-named Spittal-in-the-Street and allegedly one of the biggest boot fairs in the country. Unfortunately, by the time we get there, at about 1.30pm, most of the traders are packing up. However we strike lucky at one stall selling mainly outerwear. Tamsin and Lindsey both get a coat and Nhung buys the same leather jacket that she’s wearing. It’s useful to have a spare. Tamsin also buys a single mannequin arm. It’s useful to have a spare.

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untitled

We finish our Northern road trip on an industrial high, revelling in the beauty of some curvy, mighty hourglass-figured cooling towers, supermodels of concrete and steam. Tamsin and Nhung duck under some barbed wire and scuttle through stinging nettles to try to get closer to Cottam Power Station, but we can’t stay long as Lindsey is waiting in the car and has spent the whole weekend in fear of arrest due to our lust for smoke. However, our next stop, High Marnham Power Station is paydirt. These beauties have been decommissioned so we can get much closer. Oh god, how we love cooling towers. Nearly as much as we love the seaside. The only way to finish the trip is to stop for milkshakes and twisty fries at The OK Diner, a 50s style diner at the side of the motorway.

High Marnham

High Marnham

 Donkeys. Car boot sales. Cooling towers. Milkshakes. Mild trespassing. It’s been an exemplary Lost Promenade day.

 Lost

The full glory of the biggest car boot sale in the country

 Found

Donkeys

Tin of RNLI biscuits

Notebook with picture of bunny rabbits on the cover

Black coat (which has gone on to become Lindsey’s favourite. The other day, as the sun blazed down, she said, ‘I love that coat, I wish it was winter again so I could wear it’)

Blue and black check tweed coat

Olive leather jacket

Disembodied mannequin arm

Various records

Vintage dungarees

Beautiful, sexy cooling towers

Joey

Joey

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