After a trip of many hundreds of miles around the British Isles, I was a bit closer to home last weekend in Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast.
It’s only 86 miles from home but, if you’ve done this drive yourself, you will know that you are not going to cover the distance quickly.
If there was a motorway it would be just over an hour away, but the meandering road over the moors past Whitby and Scarborough is best taken steadily.
Inevitably, things slow down when a large lorry or a tractor holds things up, but most people have the sense to accept the slow pace and admire the great scenery over the moors and the coastline.
Sadly, some impatient soul decides that he can overtake the line of traffic, and the annual toll from serious accidents is always there.
The reason for my trip was speak at the annual conference of NODA, the National Operatic and Dramatic Association.
This really is a huge organisation and, given the strength of amateur entertainment in Hartlepool and district, there’s a good chance that it’s known to many readers of the column.
The attendees seemed to have taken over many of the hotels in the town and, on the Friday night, we were guests at the splendid dinner to kick off the weekend which had over 600 guests in real party mood.
The event was at the Spa on Bridlington seafront and the meal served made many top end venues in London look pretty average.
It’s a lovely building, reminiscent of our own Borough Hall, and the posters for future events showed that it’s very well supported.
After dinner, we were treated to a cabaret, and I was well and truly surprised and delighted. One of the societies takes a turn to put on a show ever year and this year it was the Wales Musical Group, confusingly based in Sheffield.
They are, like nearly all NODA members, an amateur organisation but the quality of their show was most definitely of professional quality.
The singing and dancing was top notch as they performed a selection from famous musicals, and even the sound and light would have delighted a West End audience.
I slept like a log after a superb evening, but needed a walk and bracing sea air the next morning to clear my head before going on stage myself on the Saturday morning.
The beautiful room in the Spa for my tutorial session had huge picture windows overlooking the sea, and I kept thinking I was back on board the ship which had passed this very spot a week or so earlier.
My audience was fabulous and there’s something about a great reception which gives you a kick for the rest of the day.
Bridlington was absolutely buzzing and all the way down we had passed the cheerfully decorated bikes ready for the Tour de Yorkshire cycling event which has just filled this bank holiday weekend.
In some ways, the Yorkshire coast hasn’t changed much, and we couldn’t believe that it was so many years since we had been here on honeymoon – in a caravan in nearby Flamborough Head.
What has changed for the better is a desire to show the world what is good about our region and the television pictures of cyclists in beautiful surroundings, as when the Tour de France started here last year, will bring huge benefits to visitor numbers.
Well done Brid – we won’t leave it so long next time.