Halfway up the east coast of England, the north Sea reluctantly brushes up against the shore of a town which at best, can now only claim that it actually once had a heyday.
A former thriving fishing port and jewel in the crown of victorian holiday destinations, now reduced to a place fit for tramps and drunks, and over weight people to get their fix on chips and take their dogs for a shit.
These people are not fat because they are disabled. They are disabled because they are fat. None of them know each other, it is a mystery even to themselves how they have all ended up in the same seaside town on the same bank holiday Monday in May.
The sad irony is, that the town needs these people in order to exist, but much like the hopeless heroin addicts that have descended on the town in order to beg for loose change, know that the thing that makes them feel better is the very thing that is killing them, so the town knows that these hordes of tramps and junkies, by deterring young families from visiting, will eventually spell the end of it too.
The council have the metaphorical methadone to start it on its long road to recovery but none of them appear to know how to administer it correctly. A half hearted injection of cash every now and again, in the wrong place, more often than not misses the vein completely, but another season is coming to an end so instead they whitewash the buildings, scrape the mess off the beach with a tractor, congratulate themselves on still being in business and tell themselves that things will be better next year.
The sea leaves the town twice a day, if it were at all physically possible, I am sure it would try to leave more often. The fog horn, imprisoned in the lighthouse, half heartedly attempts to warn unsuspecting seafarers of their proximity to the place. “Save yourselves, its too late for me, save yourselves,” it seems to call.
The army of seagulls stationed on every pier swoop down to put inattentive pigeons to the sword by trying to bite off their heads. They don’t seem to do it for their own sake so much as for the pigeons’.
A mother and her two small children, their first holiday in the town, run for cover as yet another bar brawl spills out of the Newcastle packet public house onto the harbour front. One man in handcuffs, one covered in blood and another attached to the wrong end of a police taser gun.
But at least a bit of excitement at last, not to mention some unusual pictures for the holiday photo album.
The only reason that it ever goes dark here is because even the sun is too scared to stay out at night in this town.
So will I ever return? Yes, in a heartbeat, like visiting your ailing grandma you hope against hope that the next time you visit her she will be up and dressed, waiting to welcome you back with a smile on her face rather than lying depressed in a dark room surrounded by rubbish and smelling of piss. There will still be good days of course, but left unchecked, the bad days will gradually become worse and more frequent. At the moment she is not getting the help that she so badly needs and deserves and God knows she needs it quickly.
Time’s running out for this lovely old gran. But time and tide as we know, will wait for no man.
I would welcome any guesses on where you think this may be.
Do you know of anywhere similar? Let me know in the comments section below.