To the sea – dinosaur coast triptych


The Captain Cook and Stithies Heritage Centre is a clutter of nostalgic photographs and memorabilia crammed  from floor to ceiling. A mish mash of everything. Life guards, boats, ores, plastic fruit, folklore, flying fish, bonnets, botanical engravings, paintings, do not touch signs, turtle shells, a 1970’s TV Documentary and no clear information about Captain Cook. A haphazard hilarious museum. I leave none the wiser with a headache.


The sea comes in the sea goes out.

Blue basket of plaice.

Heavy tray boxes containing the crab catch.

Broad shouldered fishermen strong as oxen unload the crab cargo from boat to van.

Five boxes of crabs one basket of fish.

Dogs and dangerous cliffs.

Syd, Naoise, Patrick crabbing on lines strung off the harbours edge.


Nets. Lobster Pots. Ice cream.

A boy child aged around seven comes up to me speaking in German about the fishermen. I try to catch what he is saying but my German language skills are rusty. I smile. I listen regardless. He is thrilled and excited I understand that much.

Making sea defences with the rocky sand. Watching the wall and the castle being destroyed by the tide.

Dog. Bats. Balls.

A child in a wet suit balances on a surf board by holding tight to the harbour rails. His mother watches on.

Mothers watch.

Syd describes this place as perfect which pleases me. Big boy. Small boy. Man. All happy and content.



I sit tight to the sand and the shore. The concrete harbour wall and the deep sea below fills me with anxiety. I cannot relax on the wall for imaging my children falling beneath the waters surface.

Drowned in maternal anxieties.

Bare feet on sand.

Prints of feet in sand. Naoise small. Mine big.

Eating apple pie with bare feet in sand.

The beach is blissful. Simple pleasure playground.


Yesterday…rushing back for the Tour de Yorkshire. Packing the car from the shed tent hut thing. 

Coffee. Fruit Cake and Sisterhood. 

Speeding home in just two hours. 

Entirely shattered, bed comfy, house hot….forest full of wild primroses and violets. Hide and seek. We all dream of yurts….warm temporary home spaces. Cave of the yellow dog, 

Fire and flammable onesies .  Peekachoo. Tiger. Power Rangers. Gruffalo. 

The birds land close. 

A river if water. Up in the night with Naoise at 3am for a shower. Felt so grumpy. We listened to the owl before opening the door to the pod. Telling Naoise to hold on tight to my body incase I slipped in the mud. 


Ate chips at Whitby pier. Scared off the gulls so they couldn’t steal our tea. I shared my fish and chips with Naoise, he ate all the fish. I was glad he ate the food. So many calories in fish and chips yet delicious and better tasting eaten beside the sea. Tried to pose for a family portrait. Naoise placed his hands over my eyes. I am blinded. Everything is a game. I like his playfulness. I like that he is nice and naughty. Blindfolding your mother however is a hazardous occupation especially when you are perched on her shoulders.

Robinhoods Bay

Bay of my childhood, ice cream, fish and chips, sea swims in ice cold water.

Eroding cliff face of red clay.

Syd finds fossils. He picks out an ammonite fossil within moments of landing on the shore.

The red clay sticks to hands and fingers.

Naoise, Syd and Patrick scour the cliff edge for fossil finds.

I walk on the sand look at the pools, and rocks. Look at sea weed and plastic bits n bobs washed ashore.

I watch the small line of red in the sky. The sun is falling. The day is ending. A perfect day.


Almost a perfect day. No day can ever be perfect. Just about good enough will do. There are always conflicts and misunderstandings and wants and desires and scuffles and tenderness and accidents and cruelty and anger and frustration. We muddle along.

Syd looses his camera whilst fossil hunting.

The hunt becomes a camera hunt.

The light is fading. We give in. Camera sacrificed to the tide.

Syd is sad, we hug him.

I enquire about a missing camera in every pub on the way back up the hill.

The camera is definitely lost.


Driving back home. The children sleep. I watch the moon. Full behind shifting clouds. I try to stay awake and help navigate. Patrick stops at the services to buy an energy drink. My eyes are heavy. We arrive home. Its past midnight. A holiday in a day. All we had was a day to squeeze in as much fun as we could. Syd will be away at the half term. I am always trying to catch time, find enough for relaxation, for pleasure, to step outside of the mundane. To find time to mother. To mother with peace and with care. I need to be away, away and outside of home. Home is not always a sanctuary.



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