Christmas in Whitby

Christmas does funny things to time. It seems to slow it down and speed it up in equal measures. Days are drawn out and then gone in a flash. Afterwards, the world feels a little like it has been pricked with a pin. It takes a while for Thursday to become Thursday again.

This year, I spent Christmas beside a grey winter sea that was as beautiful as a blue summer’s one. If you looked out of the window of our apartment, you could see the waves crashing into the pier, during the day, and, at night, nothing. It is rare to stare out into nothing. On Christmas morning, we walked out along the beach. The water made the sand firm and spongey. When you pushed down, it glistened as the water emerged, temporarily. The sea was strangely quiet in comparison to the wind.

whitby photo

In the church watching over Whitby, there was an old iron stove and tens of Christmas trees, each representing the organisation which donated it. I have not seen a Christmas tree adorned in lobsters before. Behind it, the Abbey was dramatic and austere. I wonder why that feels like the word to describe it. There was a clifftop walk, just beyond it, which we followed until the feeling that the sea directly below was waiting to swallow us up became too intense to me. Some places don’t feel like they are from this time.

On Christmas day, we forgot the outside. We ate smoked salmon, for breakfast, and turkey with all the trimmings when the Queen had finished her speech. I had been attempting to beat last year’s Christmas dinner record in the run up to Christmas but I am beginning to think that Turkey tastes better when you have forgotten how tasty it actually is. And when you’re enjoying it with friends. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about the day.

I am not yet accustomed to being back in London. Outside, the traffic roars past and I can already feel my body switching back into fast forward. It feels like the holiday is shrinking but I do not think the urge to clutch onto it is helpful. I have enjoyed, I guess, the unusual opportunity to properly unwind. There are few occasions when I’m just enjoying the moment rather than overlooking it to see what’s coming ahead.

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One response to “Christmas in Whitby

  1. “On Christmas day, we forgot the outside… “

    Whitby does that to you! There’s so much to do in this town; so much history, so much entertainment and activity. You could easily spend a couple of weeks here doing something different each day, visiting different places, trying different activities and dining in different restaurants. So much so, that at times it can seem quite frenetic. And yet, when the need arises or the time is right, Whitby is a wonderfully peaceful, serene and timeless place to relax.

    Relax, slow down, breathe and let the world pass you by, for a while at least. When you stop, Whitby stops with you and the tranquillity of the place simply washes over you.

    Sitting in the lounge in Prospect Holiday Home, gazing out over the marina, Whitby is an utterly different place, so calm, undemanding and ageless. I have spent hours watching the boats swaying on the gentle wavelets in the marina and listening to the silence punctuated by nothing but the muted call of the gulls.

    But, whether you’re contemplating the gentle views of the marina, the more austere views of the gothic architecture or the cold steel grey of the winter sea, Whitby always offers the rare and unusual opportunity to properly unwind!

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