Thursday, 21st May 2015

Yes, it’s been a long time since this blog was updated and much water has flowed under many bridges (hint, hint …) since the previous post. So here we go with the trips since the Dutch Expedition of 2015 beginning with a short one, a day out in Whitby which is about 85 miles down the coast from home.

The story actually begins on the 11th October 2003 when No. 2 Son Andrew and the lovely Lyn whisked me up to the town where we could visit the replica Napoleonic Wars frigate Grand Turk.

Grand Turk

This was the ship, designed by Michael Turk of Turks Shipyard Ltd, which featured in the “Hornblower” TV series as well as the outstanding docudrama “Longitude” which tells the story of John Harrison’s invention of the marine chronometer via an all-star cast. It was subsequently sold and renamed Étoile du Roy. It is now based in St Malo, France, which is a bit sad as I was there a few years ago (as we shall see) but didn’t know she was there at the time.

It was my intention to visit the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, and we duly turned up at the admissions desk around 16:00 – only to be advised not to enter. The kind gent pointed out that the museum would be closing in about an hour and we wouldn’t have time to see everything. He was so right.

Thus it was that, over 11 years later, I at last got in. And now, Gentle Reader, for the sad news. I had left my trusty camera in the car, and only had an ancient cellphone (an Sony Ericsson K700i) whose built-in camera resolution was a meagre 640 x 480, compared to my Canon’s 4000 x 3000. Also, it lacked a flash so struggled when taking interior shots. The pictures that follow, therefore, are of extremely low quality. Click them to view the full-size image.

In 1746 Cook was apprenticed to John Walker, master-mariner, of Grape Lane, Whitby. With the other apprentices he was berthed in the attic when not at sea. Here the Walker’s housekeeper, Mary Prowd, provided the Cook with a table and candle so that he could read and study by himself “whilst the other apprentices were engaged in idle talk or trifling amusements” (to quote the man directly). The small, circular attic window afforded a view of Whitby harbour.

There are model exhibits:

and a portrait of the man:

The yard at the rear of the house enjoys a fine view of the harbour:

After spending the afternoon in the museum, I drove up the hill to the ruins of Whitby Abbey:

Whitby Abbey, of course, was the scene of the famous Synod of Whitby in AD 664. Less well known is that the Synod was the setting for the first murder-mystery book by Peter Tremayne (aka Peter Berresford Ellis) featuring Sister Fidelma and titled Absolution By Murder. You’ll remember I was at the Féile Fidelma in September 2014.

But the day was not over even then. After suitable refreshment I repaired to Whitby Evangelical Church 0n Skinner Street in the evening for a presentation by Professor Andy MacIntosh as part of the church’s Bible Week. Professor MacIntosh is a well-known speaker on creation matters:

At Whitby he was speaking on the design of the ear. And so ended a full and pleasant day.

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