Monday, 14 May 2012

PIGY 2 – The Castle, the Wheelbarrow and the New Girl

“What are you looking at?”

“I’m not looking, I’m thinking.” I opened my eyes and started looking.

From up here, I could see along the prom in both directions. Up to the Leisure Centre to the right and past the Big Wheel (which really, nowadays, should be called the considerably-smaller-than-proper-BIG-wheels-like-the-London-Eye, wheel), to the left.

The murky-brown sea was slowly lapping its way inwards and beginning to tickle the barnacled ankles of the pier – I kept waiting for it to giggle but it didn’t – or at least I didn’t hear it. 

Children, like busy, little, non-stop ants, were running into the small waves, waving empty buckets to fill with murky-brown-seawater to pour in to the moats of their wonky sandcastles. Their parents stretched out on stiff, tense backs making the most of the rare sun on their faces and forcing themselves to try to relax.

Ally, and I, had hopped (literally in my case), onto a one carriage train that trundled us from Grimsby Station to Cleethorpes Station. It wasn’t far but I always had retained the same thrill, when chugging along the seafront, before pulling into the station and spilling out like excited children straight into the heady, noisy mix of the Amusement Arcades and Rock Shops. 

The pungent aromas of doughnuts, deep fried in ancient fat, were whipped away by, but immediately re-mingled with, the fresh, salt-tinged, sea air and it all reeked of Cleethorpes’ nostalgia. Exactly the same evocative smell from my own early experiences and memories.

We’d crossed the prom and leant on the railings, breathing in the fresh air and watching the seagulls noisily squabbling around discarded, squashed, chips on the pavement. 

Dragging ourselves away we walked up past the Pier and up through the Pier Gardens before snailing our way round, and up, Ross Castle to the top viewing level.

 Cleethorpes Beach Taken From The Pier            ©Tracey Edges 2012

Ross Castle is a spiral stone folly named after, Ernest Ross, the secretary of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, which, in the more Britain-positive Victorian era, brought the railway to Cleethorpes and thus kick-started a time of prosperity. Day trippers and tourists could easily flock to the seaside as respite from their industrial, smog-ridden Yorkshire, (mainly), lives.

“OUCH! OH GOD! My knee’s gone again.” I tentatively tried to put my left foot on the ground but couldn’t without screaming in agony. “Shit. What the hell do I do now?”
“Sit down,” suggested Ally. I looked at her with pained disgust.

“And how exactly would I ever get up again?” I looked at the rubbish which had blown into the corners. The cigarette wrappings, squashed boxes and stubbed out ends were prolific as well as discarded fast food, chocolate bar and crisp wrappers and several empty Stella cans. “Ugh. No way would I sit there anyway. Gross”.

Litter disgusts me. I’m always amazed how lazy people are. They always seem perfectly capable of carrying packets and bags full of food and drink but as soon as the packets etc are empty (and thus lighter, easier to carry and easily popped into a pocket or, gosh, what a concept, the bag they were brought in), they suddenly don’t seem to be able to manage to hold them. Do they suddenly get floppy fingers or something? 

You bring it out with you, if you can’t find a bin (and there were plenty around her so no excuse at all), you TAKE IT HOME. Bloody hell – appreciate your green and pleasant land even if the bit you happen to be in is grey and concrete. It still looks better without your lazy rubbish strewn all over it. Yes, that is another of my pet hates.

“YOOOOHOOOOO! BEN!” Ally, suddenly, and loudly, screeched, making me jump, wobble, connect foot with floor and emit my own loud screech. I glared at her while she, oblivious to my momentary wish to throw her off the top of Ross Castle, waved her arms around like crazy windmills, attracting the attention of everyone in the vicinity, except Ben. 

Ben was plugged into his iPod. You could tell as he, every few seconds, would wiggle his arse and then punch the air with his fist <Boom! Boom! Boom!>. I must remember to extract the urine out of him, later, about that. Idiot.

On his third arse wiggle/boom routine he happened to glance up as his eyes followed a hefty seagull which had swooped in front of him before heading in our direction. Maybe he was my guardian seagull trying to help me. Probably just a coincidence.

As Ben windmilled back to Ally, she thankfully stopped and I was able to stop singing “Tulips From Amsterdam” in my head – which, quite frankly, was a relief.
Ben ambled his way towards us but, when he was at the base of the castle, on the Gardens’ side, Ally leant over the wall and yelled:

“Tracey’s stuck. The silly old fart can’t walk!” Oh, great, thank you very much, Ally. I cringed, clinging on to the rough stone wall for support, as a gang of kids looked up and started laughing before, thankfully, moving along, en-masse, thumping and hugging each other as they went.

“Leave it to me.” Ben boomed. He was tall and gangly but with a massively deep voice which made it hard to compute him, as a whole. It would be easy to laugh. (I did the first time I heard it and instantly felt ashamed as it turned out he was the nicest, sensitive guy you could ever hope to have as a friend and was deeply (sorry), conscious about his voice).

I was just wondering where he’d gone when we heard a strange eek-creak-eek-creak-eek-creak noise just before Ben appeared with a great big cat’s-got-the-cream smile and a, Heavens-To-Murgatroyd, wheelbarrow.

“UH OH. NO WAY.” I wailed. “No No NO!” I put my foot down. I screeched. I wanted to cry with the frustration of it all.  

“What have you done now?” boomed Ben.
“No idea.” I scowled. “Twisted my knee or something. It just gets better and I trip over something and nobble myself again. I’m not happy. Far too busy for this inconvenient crap.”

Ben, looked sympathetic.
“Shall we get you in then?”
“Oh, God. No.”

“Do you have a choice? How are you going to get down? Good job you saw me really. Wasn’t it?!” I frowned but knew, as pointed out to me, I didn’t really have a choice. Damnit. Just as I think my life can’t get worse. It does.

Getting in was a performance in its own right but between wiggles and screeches I made it. An undignified heap, in an undignified wheelbarrow, in a very undignified situation.

You would think that getting down a slope would be easy. Go on admit it you did, didn’t you? Not, however, when your weight wants to turn the wheelbarrow into a tea-tray on a Winter Olympics luge. 

Thankfully, gangly Ben’s strength matched his voice rather than his body and he worked out a long-winded zig-zag system down to the bottom. All quite smooth really, except when he pretended to let me go and I let out a bloodcurdling scream, or two. 

May as well have waved my hands in the air and pretended I was on a rollercoaster. My whole bloody life feels like it at times – may as well just walk around (when I can) doing that anyway.

So there we were at the bottom. Hmm – the bottom of some steps. Brilliant. Not exactly wheelchair/barrow friendly access was it? Actually...maybe that would not be such a great idea. 

You can just imagine the carnage caused by little old ladies not being able to hold their little old husbands on the way down. No one would be able to get past the step-blocking, upturned wheelchair mountain to become King of the Castle, ever again. Not that there would be the steps, if it were wheelchair friendly, but you get the point.

I waited until no one was about and then bummed my way up the steps, got hauled to my foot by Ben and Ally and manhandled to the nearest bench, by the road.

Ben rang for a taxi, while I bemoaned the lack of use of our return train tickets.

Waiting, the instructed 20 mins, gave us time to discuss what we needed next for PIGY.

“Clients.” I said
“Flyers” said Ben and Ally, at the same time. They also giggled at the same time. Oh God, I thought – here we go again. 

Ben and Ally had been not-going-out since school reception year when they were 5. Why? I never understood. They were my favourite people but never quite got past that really best mates, couldn’t do anything with anyone else, but, no, can’t go out with you stage. Just get a room. Get it over with. Have fun.

I groaned.

“I’ve got a pile already done but can’t exactly get out and about with them”, said Frustrated of Grimsby. I then noticed Ally, staring at Ben, staring at a tall blond girl on a very small bike. “Who’s that, Ben?”

“That’s Susie Todd. Her Dad owns the Newsagents down there,” he pointed along King’s Road. “She’s great. Really nice, I mean”, he added hastily as he saw Ally’s pouty lips tighten slightly. “I bet she’d help you, no problem – she’s always helping her Dad out when the paper boys don’t turn up.”HEY! HOT TODDY! OVER HERE!”

 She looked up, smiled, a perfect-teeth smile (I was quite surprised a ring didn’t PING around her sparkling mouth). She waved, wobbled precariously, nearly ending up under a number 9 bus. I would have taken bets that she had on clean designer-frilly-undies. Just for the in-case occasion.

“Any chance you could help Knackered Old Fart Tracey out? I audibly groaned before giving her a sheepish grin and shrugging my shoulders dramatically. I knew I needed someone fit and this vision of loveliness was fit personified. She looked like she had just left a Tennis Tour – all bronzed and Amazon-Barbied. I resolved never to look in another mirror ever again.

Five minutes later I had a new recruit. A damn good one, this time. She was having a gap year from, well, doing anything really. She was pretty well loaded so didn’t need paying, (yippee – thank God for that), she had run for the County and had even done a spell as a Special Constable for some work experience thing. Best of all she was bored and fancied a challenge.

Oh yes! Hot Toddy would do very nicely thank you. Things were looking up and PIGY had staff. Now we just needed a case...


  1. Kathryn Anderson14 May 2012 at 20:40

    Brilliant!!!! ooo, when will the book be out then?! this is going to grow wings Tracey!! xx

    1. ...and PIGYs may fly! Thanks Kathryn. This is my toe in the water.I'm enjoying it though - mixing fact and fiction. You never know when you may turn up - in one guise or another.... :-)

  2. Hilarious! Love it...great descriptions :)

  3. Thank you. I just go-with-the-flow and imagine how things would happen as they unfurl. As I am a disaster in real life it's not difficult!

  4. very good read Tracey . roll on the next part:)

    1. Ooh sorry, Phil - forgot to say thank you :-)

  5. So funny Tracey. Wonderful image of you in the wheelbarrow.

    Some great turns of phrase. I particularly liked:
    "The pungent aromas of doughnuts, deep fried in ancient fat, were whipped away by, but immediately re-mingled with, the fresh, salt-tinged, sea air and it all reeked of Cleethorpes’ nostalgia."
    "As Ben windmilled back to Ally..."

    And totally agree with your rant against litter!

    Roll on Part Three. :)

    1. Thank you so much Chloe. That is such a huge compliment from a writer who knows what she is doing (I don't profess to either; being a proper writer or knowing what I am doing!) :-)

  6. Should have commented when I first read Chapter 2.....but better late than never?!

    Love your descriptions especially 'The murky-brown sea was slowly lapping its way inwards and beginning to tickle the barnacled ankles of the pier – I kept waiting for it to giggle but it didn’t – or at least I didn’t hear it.'
    Also your rollercoaster wheelbarrow experience - sounds very realistic! The upturned wheelchair mountain....what an image!
    Keep up the great work Tracey!
    Ali x

    1. Thank you, Ali :-) Had dodgy knee but not rides in wheelbarrows but someone did threaten to pick me up in one to go to an exhibition if I couldn't drive - so put the idea in my head. The joys of making it up as you go along!

    2. OOOOOh I've just heard this fantastic episode...its so great to actually listen to the fab story line and your voice bringing it to life Tracey! I was able to hear my fave barnacle ankled description!...the magic of the internet - thanks so much for the link..will be tuning in next week!
      Ali x

    3. Oh I am SO pleased you listened AND liked it - thanks Ali xx If you want to hear no.1 The Podcast has just gone up today and will be around for about 3 months.As it's me I had a stonking cold for the entire series so all a bit breathy due to not actually being able to breathe and talk at the same time!

  7. Getting really addictive! You really capture the moment - from Ally's tightening pout to your own exaggerated shoulder shrugging! Loving it .... :)

    1. Thank you again :-) I just imagine it happening as it happens (if that makes sense. I don't know where my next sentence will lead. I'm,basically, writing like I paint)

  8. Well done Tracey! Now I'll have to schedule a listen to part two of PI GY, which I think I might like even more, we'll see;) Keep writing, is my advice. I really like this and want to read more.

    Paul R. Hewlett

    1. Thank you , Paul. Really pleased you are enjoyed both the written and the spoken PI GYs. I think you're just the person to say it in "An American drawling accent". Perfect! :-)