Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Crossing the Tees (and dotting the Eyes)

The wave didn't materialise. This was not a complete surprise, as it's quite fickle, and only breaks a few times a year. When it does appear, it's somewhere round here:Not the most bucolic surf spot in Britain. You drive along the side of the steel works, which is strangely beautiful on a sunny morning, in a bleak, industrial way, especially if you're foolish enough to think you might get a surf at the end of it.
Unfortunately, the waves didn't materialise anywhere else either. And have continued not to materialise. While the West Coast is being buffetted by hurricane-force winds, the same winds are blowing everything on the East Coast over to Norway. It's as flat as a mill pond, which is more than a little frustrating.

If I had known how flat it was going to be all week, I might have gone in at Saltburn on Saturday. There was a knee-high wave flopping listlessly around the pier like a depressed haddock, with a few longboarders putting on a brave face, but it barely looked surfable, let alone worth surfing. So I didn't. And now I'm wishing I had. There's a lesson in there somewhere. Seize the wave, or something.Almost as soon as you cross the Tees, the landscape changes dramatically. From the headland above Saltburn, you can see the charming Victorian 'new' town, complete with historical pier, with the apocalyptic sprawl of Middlesborough just a couple of miles beyond.

And they like their tractors.
Something to do with hauling boats up the beach, I suspect. But there are far more tractors than boats. On the other hand, if the boats are as seaworthy as the tractors are landworthy, they will have sunk long ago.

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