grimsby

It’s Sunday afternoon. I’ve been reading about Brexit and can’t help thinking it’s a terrible idea. How will they opt out of hundreds of agreements with the other countries in EU? What a nightmare that must be. No wonder they call it a divorce. And there’s a child too, the Irish backstop. Reading about Teresa May’s recent visit to Grimsby brought back memories of the few hours I spent there long ago.

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Our ship was berthed at the port of Immingham. It was June and the weather was pleasant. My husband and I hitched a ride to the Seafarers’ Club from where we caught a bus to Grimsby, about ten miles away. It was a double-decker and we had front seats on the upper level. Oh, the countryside! This was my first time in the UK and all the imagined landscapes in English storybooks from childhood came alive.

We walked around Grimsby town, shopped for – I remember – a box of oil paints, turpentine, oil and paintbrushes, ate lunch at Wimpy’s and headed back towards the bus stop. But we couldn’t find the bus stop. So we asked people for directions. They all looked puzzled and repeated “Bus?” Finally I requested someone to wait for a moment while I found a twig and drew a bus in the sand at the edge of the road. “Oh? You mean a boos?!”

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We got off the bus at Immingham town and walked around for a couple of hours looking at the pretty little houses and gardens. Another short bus ride, and we were at the docks at sunset. It was one of those perfect days when you feel happy just to be alive, and don’t wish for anything to be added to your life.

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I can’t imagine what will happen to small towns like Grimsby that largely depend on fishing, or any other one thing that gets taken away because the world is changing.

Our ship used to visit a small village in Newfoundland called Come by Chance, where there was an oil refinery, and the lives of everyone there revolved around it. A few years ago I read that the refinery was closing down. Once, while driving through the Las Vegas/Hoover dam/Lake Mead area in the US we passed many places that began as housing for employees of manufacturing units and factories. Like, Kingman came up in the late 1800s for housing railroad workers, Henderson was settled during  WW2 as a housing area for employees of a Magnesium plant, etc. They went through crises when the reason for their formation ceased to exist, but reinvented themselves and are involved in other pursuits now. I guess that’s what could happen to Grimsby and other places that will suffer if Brexit happens.

 

 

 

 

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