Whitby: closer to Dracula; further from Trump

I guess we are British snowflakes. I wasn’t that into American politics before. I worried that Jimmy Carter was shouldering such a burden it would kill him. I tutted at Bill Clinton’s betrayals. I laughed, shamefaced, at jokes about W’s  I.Q. I remember practically skipping into our local shop the day Obama was elected; perplexed when my friend, the shopkeeper, gave a muted response.

But… I didn’t dwell on any of them. Not really. Not until Barack left, and Donald arrived. We didn’t think it could happen. We didn’t think there were enough voters to be taken in by such a flaky narcissist – because, after all, to do justice to the office, someone should, at least, be:-

  1. hardworking
  2. clever
  3. honest and trustworthy
  4. measured and calm
  5. reliable and consistent
  6. peaceful and respectful

Donald is none of these and it troubles us. Troubles us. TROUBLES US. Us, being me and the circle of people who are friends, family and most acquaintances. I don’t think we live in a sheltered world – so there are a lot of people who just don’t get Donald Trump as President, if President means leader of the Free World. This guy likes bans, insults, barriers, and has fondness for #alternativefacts and making enemies. Even Putin is having second thoughts.

So – here we are. Troubled since November 8th. Christmas came and went. January has been plagued by bitterly cold winds.  This day, there was a break in the weather. We headed to Whitby, a seaside town on the east coast, about 12 miles from our home. Sunshine sank into our bones. Not deeply. Just enough to give some comfort.

Whitby has a history. This is how I explained it to my grandson in a letter:


Looking back at the land, you can just see Whitby Abbey perched on the hill.

This Abbey was the inspiration for the spooky story of Dracula, written by Bram Stoker 120 years ago. He often visited Whitby and would have walked past this gravestone  of Henry Duck, Mariner, who died August 26th 1773. The weather and salt air is wearing the stone away, so soon you won’t know that this is poor Henry’s gravestone at all.


Bram’s book, Dracula, is about a vampire who boards a boat in Transylvania to England, but gets shipwrecked off the coast of Whitby, which is bad luck for these poor folks, as Dracula is interested in drinking people’s blood. Eeww. It’s a must-read book – but maybe you can save it for later…

There’s a nice bookshop in Whitby that stocks my books. Yay! [Added for shameless self promotion. Sorry.]

So, here are a few photos of our jaunt out to Whitby, which soothed our souls, and helped us not to think about Donald Trump for a little while.

After a good stomp up and down the worn Abbey steps, along the arm of the harbour and across the beach, we got coffee. A mug of joe. Americans will surely understand that. It’s universal. So is the power of good. We remain hopeful though not quite full of beans.



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