You can’t play Roller Derby forever.
Freshly dressed crab, I assume in this weather it'd be wearing a duffel coat
You can’t play Roller Derby forever. Okay, that may not be true. I think Team Japan from the first men’s World Cup proved that. But once that all-consuming first wave crashes you need to find other outlets to stimulate your brain.
I’ve been cutting down on the Roller Derby shoots over the past year. I needed to reclaim some weekends, diversify my own interests, just to keep my own sanity.
After the World Cup, with a bit of holiday time to use up I thought I’d get away, do some landscape/night photography, slow things down, do something different.
I was uming and erring on where to go but finally picked a date and location for my travels.
I’m very good at bad ideas. Or good ideas that turn bad. I thought I’d do the whole out of season seaside trip, get some fresh air, a different landscape, do the whole Banksy, ‘Dismaland’ for real.
I hadn’t planned on the ‘Beast from the East’. I could always have ducked out, stayed at home to ride out the bad weather, but hey, it was all booked up, why not. What’s the worst that could happen? Being swept out to sea by a freak wave was my best guestimate, attacked by a pissed off leprechaun armed with a sharp stick was the second on my list.
Waiting, for that fateful wave that would drag me to the depths.
I had decided to go to Scarborough and whilst there why not do the whole experience and stay at the Grand. I was sort of looking forward to an empty hotel, a dystopian break, myself, a typewriter and a slow descent in to madness and murder.
I had been told the week before that the hotel had seen better days. Threadbare carpets, empty, draughty rooms. What I hadn’t expected in such unseasonal times that it’d be a favourite haunt of the elderly on coach trips. I was out of place. I wasn't planning to stay in, it was just somewhere to crash so it shouldn’t have been an issue, I wasn't planning to stay in and play bingo.
The snow I could contend with, the gale force winds were something else. Standing was possible with effort, but every time I put my camera bag down to take a photo, once properly braced, it would start to edge away from me, trying to escape with help from the power of the wind.
Changing lenses was nearly impossible and exposed fingers (and I assume also toes) went numb in seconds when exposed to the wind chill. Time to find a café. Easier said than done. Everything was closed. One café announcing ‘Sorry but we cannot open the door without losing the roof, so we are forced to close!’
Photography was out of the question so what else to do? The Crazy Golf was shut, the miniature railway wasn’t running, there was nowhere open to buy a bucket and spade to while away the hours building a sand castle to hide from the wind. I bet Dismaland wasn't this dismal.
Crazy was out, and so was the golf.
Checking my camera on my return home, I had taken a meagre amount photos. Certainly far less than at a Roller Derby bout. However, like Roller Derby, most were blurred, not due to the faced-paced action or lack of coffee, but from the buffeting of the wind and shaking induced as the body tried to keep warm.
So what did I learn from my trip? Landscape photography can be as challenging as sports photography, and not to leave the house when even the penguins have upped sticks to warmer climes.