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Knauf

Knauf

Skegness is not looking too promising. Yet again it’s raining and during our research into the town, we clicked the ‘Places of Interest’ tab on the skegness.com website and were answered with the message, “No Results”. Skegness marketing hasn’t got the best track record, given that the most famous advertisement for the town is ‘Skegness is SO bracing’. You’re selling a holiday destination and all you can say is “It’s blimming cold”? The only other selling points we find are that the town came number one in a survey in Yours magazine for the best retirement place in the UK, that you can still buy Chesney Hawkes t-shirts on the high street and that there’s another shop called Allsorts which apparently has “something for everyone”, which is definitely true seeing as how the something includes a “humourous turd collection”.

pleasure beach

pleasure beach

So no, Skegness doesn’t look promising. But, what’s this? On arrival, the first thing we see is a rockabilly boutique called Fiesta. It sells mainly new things, not all vintage, but has amazingly cheap brothel creepers and is run by a cheery man called Del. Del tells us about a mega car boot sale (the biggest one in the country) which is happening tomorrow and promises to go home and root through his stock to see if he has any creepers in our size. In the meantime, Tamsin gets a sailor top and Nhung a vintage vanity trunk.

Skegness Pier, That's a good idea

Skegness Pier, That's a good idea

After, Fiesta, the high street is a bit of an anti-climax, and disappointingly, there’s no Chesney Hawkes memorabilia to be seen. It is one of the most garish roads we’ve ever seen, lined purely with shops selling shoddy fluorescent scarves, cheap workware stalls and grimy cafes. Everything is so gimcrack and flimsy, even the street furniture is probably made in China. The stench in the air could be chip fat or it could be petroleum-based products pooling in flabby arse cracks into puddles of grease. The charity shops are also disappointing, although Lindsey nearly buys a cook book, only being put off by a recipe inside for something called ‘Wee Pancakes’.

little hoody

little hoody

The seafront in comparison is stunning. A beautiful sandy beach with wild dunes and a dramatic wind farm out to sea. We chat to a man with a cute dog in a jacket called Millie (the dog that is, not the man or the jacket) and the sun comes out and suddenly Skegness is quite nice. We wander along the prom and look at the windbreaks which all have odd messages written on them like, “I fell in love with a pianist from the orchestra”. We walk through the Pleasure Beach theme park and admire its impressive donkey derby. We have a look at the pier, which has a sign saying; “Skegness Pier. That’s a Good Idea’” (Once more the Skegness tourism board comes up trumps). Lindsey gives her Lost Prom tip of the day, which is “The shitter the seaside town, the better the crazy golf”. Then we have ciabatta melts and chilli and garlic bread in Christopher’s Tea Room and discuss our next move. We are toying with driving out to the seal sanctuary, but it’s a bit early in the year for them and it may be a wasted journey, so instead we decide to head back in the direction of Grimsby (by way of Fiesta to check the brothel creepers – damn! They’re not quite right) and have a look at some industrial installations instead.

untitled

untitled

We drive towards Immingham, an industrial port just outside Grimbsy. On the way back from Bridlington yesterday we had seen the Lindsey Oil Refinery in the distance, lit up like an ugly smoke-charred chandelier. It had an exciting look, so big and dynamic, almost breathing through smoky nostrils with a septum destroyed by years of pollution, unsafe working practices and disrespect for its workers. However, security is so tight, we can’t work out how to get near to it, so instead we sidle up to the rival Conoco-Phillips oil refinery and photograph it instead.

Conoco-Phillips oil refinery

Conoco-Phillips oil refinery

We are happily snapping away, when a van labelled ‘Forward Patrol’ draws up and the drivers beckon Lindsey over. Apparently we shouldn’t be taking pictures and we are suspected of being ‘anarchists’. “But they’re Southerners’” protests Lindsey, “They just want some photos of belching smoke”. Strangely this seems to appease Forward Patrol and they end up giving us suggestions of other places we can visit. We are mentally filed as barmy Cockneys and allowed to go on our way.

untitled

untitled

Our Southern longing for dark, satanic mills and other grimy exotica is not yet assuaged, so next we make Lindsey drive us through an industrial estate that smells of poo, drains and burning. And then we finish off at Grimsby docks where we want to photograph the derelict Victorian icehouse and the clock tower, but here our luck runs out. We’re not allowed onto the docks and aren’t allowed to take any photos. So we console ourselves with a drive-by shot of a racist chip shop and some pictures of a duck factory. We’re Southerners, we like that sort of thing.

Brit and Chips

Brits and Chips

Lost

Seals

Brothel creepers

Lindsey oil refinery

Wee pancakes

Grimsby docks

cliff's cave

cliff's cave

Found

Retro sailor top

Four 7” singles

Cream vintage vanity trunk

New brake light for Lindsey’s car

New ‘baglady chic’ look for exploring chilly British seaside resorts

motel

motel

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