Two years on
- and what a lot has happened meanwhile -
and I am back to the Goths at Whitby for Halloween 2019.
Visions of taking the train from Hexham evaporated when the 0731 was cancelled due to 'driver shortages' - whether this meant someone had not turned up or that he could not reach the controls was unclear.
After a surprising Brief Encounter in Newcastle Central Station I picked up the train there and was joined by my daughter, PJ, at Seaham.
The train followed the rain southwards. By the time we got to Whitby it was tipping it down: cue quiet streets, umbrellas and damp costumes. However the forecast was promising, or at least promising it would stop sooner or later, so we pressed on.
Up the hundred and ninety nine steps to the Church, equally challenging to the out-of-condition going up or the ladies in platform boots coming down. It was cold and cheerless at the top so we did the descent thing, accompanied by a young man cheerfully relishing the prospect of his forthcoming four day hangover on his return to work.
By now the rain was getting intermittent, and there was more of a buzz in the town as a few brave souls began to promenade.
This year it seemed as if there were almost as many photographers as Goths, dodging into doorways and hiding under overhanging roofs to protect their gear from the rain. There was a sort of competitive camera-arderie - no banter or chat, 'look at this, look at that', just mutual suffering and a rather predatory watchfulness.
Church Street was like a channel in some exotic reef. The current would waft brightly coloured characters along, and the Gotherazzi would dart out to snap up - or just snap - their less-than-unwilling victims.
One flash geezer had gone so far as to rent an empty shop as a studio for the day, and enticed his flattered subjects in, albeit with a rather shabby sense of celebrity.
We met a friend of PJ's from Kynren: very well turned out, nice ears! Good to get an inside track on the proceedings.
As ever, both young and old were there: these graceful girls were chaperoned by 'Nan'. I wondered if she had made the charming costumes as well.
Recognising a face from two years back we chatted briefly. He explained he normally went to events as more of as pirate, but was doing something special for Whitby, sporting the most enormous set of antlers. They certainly turned heads, although paradoxically he himself was necessarily rather restricted in that department.
And exotic headgear was by no means only a male preserve.
The rain was finally stopping and we met up with Neil Atkinson and the group of photographers he was coaching for the day.
Neil made a great 'Artistic Director', encouraging and helping subjects to pose effectively, making sure his group all got good shots
- and holding umbrellas!
The non-human contingent was represented too, although sitting all day dressed up like this is a bit ruff!
We were serenaded back to the train, first by a jovial bearded gentleman playing spooky tunes on a bowed saw, and making sure he was appreciated.
Then by the bridge the first Gothic Morris dancing side I have seen were enthusiastically whooping and beating each others' sticks, their electric band helping them to dance to a different drum.
And so home: serious fun again!
Thanks to all who so generously posed for photographs.
I rather hope you may see yourselves here!