Two GPL Librarians in England, Post #4: Robin Hood’s Bay, Whitby, and York

Robin Hood's Bay

Sunday morning we woke up in a bed and breakfast called the Grosvenor in the romantic, seaside Yorkshire village of Robin Hood’s Bay, the situation of which is truly superb, nestled as it is on the side of a cliff near the sea.

Just after sunrise and before eating pretty close to the full English breakfast (i.e., save for blood pudding, which I couldn’t muster the courage for), I took a few snaps of the village and Ravenscar Cliffs, located just a few miles to the south.  Though I got some great pictures, the North Sea maritime climate here is unpredictable, and I was caught in a rain shower and got pretty wet.  When I returned to the Grosvenor for breakfast, seeing my wet coat an amused native quipped, “Welcome to Yorkshire!”

Whitby Abbey

It was then off to nearby Whitby, which is just as beautiful as Robin Hood’s Bay, though quite a bit larger.  This town is known for its ruined abbey, which I found absolutely enthralling, as well as for its associations with Captain James Cook, one of the great navigators and explorers of the 18th century, and Bram Stoker’s immortal Dracula.

Greensboro Public Library’s holdings include recent books on both Capt. Cook and Bram Stoker:  Sea of Dangers:  Captain Cook and His Rivals in the South Pacific by Geoffrey Blainey (2009); and Bram Stoker’s Dracula:  A Documentary Journey into Vampire Country and the Dracula Phenomenon, edited by Elizabeth Miller (2009).

And, if you’re interested in the breathtaking Yorkshire coast like me, the library has James Herriot’s Yorkshire.  Better know for his All Creatures Great and Small, a collection of delightful stories about Herriot’s experiences as a veterinarian in North Yorkshire, the former volume is a guided tour to this lovely region, which Herriot knew as well as just about anybody.  James Herriot’s Yorkshire is especially rich in information on Whitby.    

York Minster Cathedral

After Whitby, we headed for York to see York Minster Cathedral and walk what remains of the ancient city walls.  It was Sunday and the streets of York were bustling with tourists and visitors.  Though time and hunger pangs did not permit a tour of the Cathedral, it was, needless to say, absolutely gorgeous. 

We also enjoyed walking through “the Shambles,” a street of ancient buildings (some as early as 14th century) once known for its butcher shops, and nearby stumbled upon an antiquarian bookshop where I was able to purchase a mid-19th century engraving of Robin Hood’s Bay.  From there, we made our way to an excellent tea room where we drank Earl Grey, and I had a jacket potato topped with delicious chili-con-carne.   

By early evening we were comfortably ensconced in Gareth and Heidi’s home back in Haslingden, Lancashire.  Gareth made a fire, and we dined on beef pies and mushy peas from the local “chippy.”

The next day was a wash day, though later in the afternoon Gareth and Heidi took me to the town of Ramsbottom, where I enjoyed sorting through a bucket of old English pennies, chiefly minted during the reigns of  George V (1910-1936) and George VI (1937-1952) and bought a few to take back home as souvenirs.

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More Halloween Season Goodies: Bats, Bram Stoker, Telescopes & Poe

Bram Stoker

Stephanie Meyer and the Twilight series may well be more popular these days, but check this out:  the great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker (1874-1912), author of Dracula, the greatest vampire novel of them all, has come out with a sequel to his famous ancestor’s book.

Titled Dracula:  The Un-dead, and written by Canadian Dacre Stoker in collaboration with a New York screenwriter named Ian Holt, the plot of the new novel involves a hunt for a murderous vampire, set against late Edwardian Europe.  Interestingly, Bram Stoker is actually a character in the new book.    

Greensboro Public Library has copies on order, so I imagine we’ll have Dacre Stoker’s new novel soon.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in Bram Stoker, we do have a couple of recent titles, including Bram Stoker’s Dracula:  A Documentary Journey into Vampire Country and the Dracula Phenomenon, edited by Elizabeth Miller, and The New Annotated Dracula.   

We’ve also plenty of other books on vampires.  Just a few of our 2009 titles make a long list:  Blood Promise:  A Vampire Academy Novel by Richelle Mead; The Vampire Archives, edited by Otto Penzler (on order); City of Glass by Cassandra Clare; Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon; Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs; The Thirteenth by L.A. Banks; Must Love Hellhounds by Charlaine Harris; Dark Road Rising by P.N. Elrod; and Club Dead by Charlaine Harris.  Search the library’s catalog here for many, many more.

A Vampire Bat

Speaking of vampires, it’s well-known that they occasionally transmogrify into bats.  And, if you’re like me and fascinated by bats (I love to watch them flit around at dusk, and one of my favorite books is Randall Jarrell’s The Bat Poet), you won’t want to miss our program on bats at the Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch on Monday night, October 19th, at 6:30 PM.

This program will also include a telescope viewing, provided skies are clear, and, though there’s no connection to our Kathleen Clay program, it’s nonetheless a fact that our master weaver of the horror tale, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), was also an astronomy enthusiast.  As a boy, Poe enjoyed using a telescope to study the stars and planets, and one of the last books he published before his tragic death was Eureka (1848), in which he attempted to explain the origins of the universe.

Edgar A. Poe

Lastly, thoughts of Poe and the Fall season always remind me of my favorite of his poems, Ulalume, which begins: 

The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere –
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year.

The library, of course, has books on bats, astronomy, and Edgar A. Poe.  Let us know if we can help you find something.