Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Bygone Bridlington

Until yesterday, I hadn't been to Bridlington since the early sixties, which was when I was Very Small Indeed.

I do remember having a donkey ride there and when I mentioned this to my mother today she remembered it too. Somewhere in this house there's a photograph of me, very small on a Bridlington donkey, and I hope to find it one day.

The donkeys are still there, though possibly not the same ones:

There are very few seaside donkeys left these days for various reasons, including the fact that many people think it's cruel to the donkeys. Well, I think that, providing the donkeys don't work too long hours and are well looked after - and these had water to drink and did seem to be in good condition - donkey rides are not on my list of things to abolish if I'm ever put in charge of everything.

It's easy to get all steamed up over perceived cruelty that we just happen to come across, and to choose to ignore "hidden" cruelty - I think people's time would be better spent getting upset over factory farming of pigs, for example. I've seen round an intensive pig farm in France and hated seeing intelligent animals kept on concrete for their whole lives.

Anyway, after that little digression - -- in the early Sixties we were in Bridlington on a day trip with the Communist's parents, my grandparents.

Grandad knew that I liked stories and decided to entertain me with the Welsh legend of Gelert.

The story in brief (though there's a fuller version at the link, above): The prince goes out hunting: can't find his dog: comes back to find his baby's cradle overturned and blood everywhere: assumes dog has killed baby: dog turns up and, horrified, he kills it: then he finds baby alive: then he finds body of huge wolf which dog has killed defending baby.

This was not a good story to tell a sensitive animal-loving small child. I could not bear it. I did the only possible thing in the circumstances, which was to howl with grief at the sadness and injustice of it.

I howled all the way back to Leeds. I bet my Grandad wasn't popular with the rest of the party.

7 Comments:

Blogger Dumdad said...

I remember going on donkey rides when I were a lad in Scarborough. I can't say I liked them much - they were smelly and unresponsive most of the time. But it was always part of a day at the seaside.

8:13 am  
Blogger Kippers Dickie said...

I too remember donkey rides but at Weston super Mare. I still have loads of B&W photos of those 1950's holidays.
I also remember my one and only visit to Bridlington. My brother got married there. The snow was so deep that the police would not let us cross the moors...had to use the coast road....got there 2 hours late!... I was the 'Best Man'!!!!

10:47 am  
Blogger Jennyta said...

I remember the donkey rides at Weston Super Mare too!

11:40 am  
Blogger Debby said...

Nice ass....

1:18 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

You howled all the way back to Leeds? I bet that really pissed Silverback off!

11:05 pm  
Blogger Arthur Clewley said...

I haven't ridden a donkey but have bet on a few in my time

8:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im 12 yrs old and i work with my dad on the donkeys and tyson yorkie and sandy are still there everyday they come down and give rides its nice seeing donkeys tht are here now on the web

1:44 pm  

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