Saturday, March 28, 2015

Happy in Hull

Dave had a day's business meetings in Hull on Thursday, and we've spent so little time together this month that I decided to tag along.  I've never been to the city before - the closest I ever got was a day trip to Beverley with my parents, simply years ago - so I was looking forward to exploring.

I'd heard some bad things about the city - poverty, shabbiness, even the risk of being mugged - but in the event I was very pleasantly surprised.  Even Dave, who last visited about eight years ago, said it had come on leaps and bounds.  We arrived late Wednesday afternoon and after dumping our bags at our hotel, shot out for a long and really enjoyable walk round.  This started in the main shopping street and ended up at the same place, but by way of the marina, harbour, and the maze of winding narrow streets that forms the old town.  Everywhere we looked there was something interesting, from traces of Hull's oldest dock to the largest parish church in England, from the swish modern building housing aquarium venue The Deep to lift-up bridges, from a statue of poet Philip Larkin at the railway station to fish carved in the pavements.  The sun shone, the river Humber sparkled, and it all looked surprisingly prosperous and nice.

On Thursday I explored more by myself (Dave being parked in his meetings all day) and discovered the Maritime Museum, free to enter with detailed displays on the whaling and deep sea fishing trades that flourished in the town in past centuries.  Some of the whaling stuff was a little too strong for my stomach, but the information about the whaling boats' frequent trips to Greenland was fascinating.

Finally, yesterday morning we drove over to the top of Spurn Head, a long narrow strip of land surrounded by the sea on both sides, which was formed by erosion and deposition along the coast.  Again the sun shone and a brisk wind blew waves crashing along the explosed seaward side; a mile or so further up the coast you could see huge chunks of the cliff broken off where the sea has eaten away at the land.  On the quieter, estuarine side we spotted vast flocks of wading birds, and a hare, dashing along the shore at a great rate of knots.  Sadly we couldn't walk right along the Point because it was full of lorries, tractors and men working hard to repair the breach which happened during last winter's storms.  It was still fascinating, though, and a lovely wild and windswept end to a very enjoyable trip.

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