Saltburn Revisited 1

So I’m doing repeats already, but there are reasons…
1. The Royal Mail lost my films from our first visit, back in June, so I hadn’t managed to get a 360-degree Lomo shot of Saltburn pier
2. We wanted to see Lynne Wixon’s Littoral Structures exhibition at Artsbank.
So we went back on a Friday in August, driving over rainswept Yorkshire Moorland to stop at a Premier Inn in Stockton-on-Tees.

As is often the case, rowan trees surrounded the motel, a traditional charm against evil – perhaps recommended by some corporate consultancy mage.


We drove into Saltburn for the opening of the exhibition and wandered around for a bit, looking for somewhere to eat. Despite only having visited twice, I feel strangely at home here, perhaps because the yellow-brick Victorian buildings resemble those found in parts of Hove, near where I grew up.


After dinner in Signals Bistro, we went to the exhibition. Lynne plans to travel around the coast painting ‘representations of manmade structures found along the shoreline’ – literally (or littorally) a fellow traveller. The paintings are spare without being stark, lines and blocks of colour building the structures she chooses to paint into vast spaces of coastal light. The various huts, jetties, pilot stations and sheds face the viewer straight on, like the subjects of enigmatic portraits. Lynne is still near the start of a clockwise trip that will end up in Cumbria – it will be interesting to see what she finds further round. We bought a print.


After yet another purple-cocooned Premier night, we drove into Saltburn again on the Saturday morning. As on our last visit, it was chilly and gray.


This time we ate in Real Meals, where we had a sort of Platonic ideal of breakfast, where every element – smoky back bacon, a single large field mushroom, free-range eggs – were perfect embodiments of their form. While we ate, Jennie kept reaching down arcane condiments from the well-stocked shelves, moves in a spicy chess game.


My love for Saltburn was getting out of hand – where was the catch? Would it turn out to be run by a sinister Number Two figure, or populated by androids? With its Jewel Streets, myth-laden house-names (‘The Crypt’; ‘Asgard’) and helpful shopkeepers it had a sort of pocket-heaven feel to it…

Time for business. I went down to the pier.


Beneath the pavilion end, pigeon feet had made a textured landscape.

Sane beneath Saltburn Pier

I hung around waiting for one of the small blue gaps in the cloud to reach the sun, but this never happened. I took pictures while I waited…




Then I climbed a small hill at the edge of the town to get a view back over the town. From there I could see Jennie as a tiny figure walking down the hill. I clambered down to meet her, then we walked up Happy Valley in the soft rain. Idyll fully installed, we drove home… Hopefully my film pics will survive this time (unless Saltburn doesn’t actually exist fully enough to show up on analogue film) – hope to post them next week.


Posted on August 28, 2011, in Piers (actual). Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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