Day Three in the UK welcomed a search for a good English fish and chips shop, which brought us to Cleethorpes.
Cleethorpes is a seaside town that Andy says used to be a popular holiday destination but “has now fallen by the wayside.” Locals, too, talked to us about this and said several mom-and-pop businesses went under because they could not compete with big-box stores. In fact — they said — parking lots like this used to be rammed full of cars and stores flooded with people. However, now — this day — the lot was half empty and several buildings stood abandoned.
A bicyclist sped by though, giving me a glimpse into what Cleethorpes was before. I imagined another time where kids ran with balloons and melting popsicles, lovers walked hand-in-hand while leaning on one another’s shoulders, and puppies pulled owners on leashes. But not all is lost for Cleethorpes — There is a hint of that energy still and it was there we headed where game shops, boutiques, book and antique stores, more stretched on a sidewalk.
His family joked that the area was not as pretty as it had been and it made me wonder what they saw because when I looked, baskets of flowers were spilling above our heads and classic buildings stretched proud of its past.On a side street, a historic church found people waiting patiently for a bus while others walked quickly past.
Meanwhile at the shore, more people were seen. True, maybe fewer there once had been during a summer not too long ago, but there were people — busy carrying beach chairs and tents, coolers, toting children. Several even risked the chilly sea to swim and splash (which seemed crazy to me as the water was freezing; however, Andy said there is no bounds to what the English will do if presented a sunny day).
Here, we popped by an ice cream shop and took our treats on the pier where we looked into the horizon at an estuary and more English land. I stood longer though, squinting harder, hoping to a distant country of the Neverlands.
Before long, we headed in the opposite direction back to Andy’s parents house. The windows were down in the car and the wind ran through our hair and I remember thinking, “To all those that think England never sees sun and has only rain, I wish you could be here now . . . ”