I ended my week of freedom with a trip to Scarborough with D. Now, there is a town that I will forever associate with childhood. Back when I was younger and lived within spitting distance of the M25, North Yorkshire was a regular family holiday destination. Being your typically insular London-born child, I subscribed wholeheartedly to the belief that everything north of the Watford Gap (also known as “The Norf” in East Londonish) was a peculiar, foreign place. The idea of one day living there would have seemed laughable. How times have changed. Not only do I now live in the Norf but I am preparing to marry a Norferner and if we decide to have children, they may very well grow up with Norfern Accents. How very odd.
Anyway, Scarborough. They say that the sense of smell is the one most closely linked to memory, and there is definitely something about the scent of the British seafront that carries me straight back to being a child again. The combination of saltwater, hot fat and melting sugar with just a whiff of fish that has been left too long in the sun – there’s nothing else like it in the world is there? And that’s even before you’ve factored in the accompanying soundtrack: the mournful squall of the seagulls, and incessant plinkity-plonk of the arcade games.
We ate sugared doughnuts, fresh out of the oil and blisteringly hot. And we shared a portion of proper chip shop chips while sitting on a bench looking at the North Sea. Delicious and nostalgic; tastes which still have the power to transport me backwards in time so that for a moment or two I am that little girl again rather than her older, fatter, sillier, sadder counterpart.