Knowing we had another full and varied day ahead of us, we again rose reasonably late before having a hearty breakfast at the hotel, packing our bags and setting off for north Lincolnshire.
We arrived in the Grimsby area around 2.00pm. Being relatively ignorant of the local area, and knowing we would have the afternoon at leisure, we took time during our journey back across the Pennines to research sites of interest that we might visit. Evenutally, we lighted upon the stunningly impressive Thorton Abbey and Gatehouse – check it out if you’re ever in the area. It certainly strikes an interesting contrast with the huge chemical plant at nearby Immingham.
After a couple of hours combing over the ruins of the abbey and exploring Thornton Abbey’s monumental gatehouse, we got back in the car and headed to the sea-side - to Cleethorpes to be precise. The Grimsby Folk Club is on the Cleethorpes side of the town and neither of us had ever had the pleasure of Cleethorpes before.
We parked up on the Promenade before going off in search of something to eat. We found a splendid little hotel providing excellent Sunday roasts at a very reasonable price. How nice of them to also throw in some entertainment for us - a couple on a nearby table having a spectacular and noisy ‘domestic’ with a full 20 minutes of solid ding and dong.
After settling up, we completed our little circuit of the sea front, with its spectacular beach and views and taking in the impressive pier before making our way to the club.
On arrival we were met by sound engineers, Mark and Linda, who proceeded to look after us splendidly through both the sound check and the subsequent performance. The Grimsby Folk Club is held in a substantial back room of The Spider’s Web PH in the Old Clee part of Grimsby. The room, decorated with naval memorabilia, has a decent sized performance stage and seating for a substantial number of people.
Soon after we completed our sound check, we met club organiser, Mary, who, along with club members generally, made us feel very welcome. Shortly after meeting Mary, we met George, our MC for the evening, and I enjoyed sharing stories with him about Middlesbrough - a place where both he and I had spent considerable time in our lives.
The evening was kicked off at 8.00pm by a wonderful set of four songs from local duo Paul and Lynn – great guitar playing and cleverly crafted harmonies. It was a treat to listen to them. We then followed on with our first set which seemed to go down well.
We chatted with Lynn, Paul and other audience members through the break and after the raffle – which I again failed to win (am I losing my touch…) – we were treated to two beautiful ballads, delivered a capella by club regular Arthur who had a fine, mellow, baritone voice.
After that, we again took to the stage to deliver our second set following which we were more than pleased to accede to the MC’s request that we do an encore.
At the end of the night, we spent a little time chatting with club members and organisers but, with a long journey ahead of us it was eventually time to turn for home. We said our goodbyes to Mark, Linda, Mary and others and set off to cross Lincolnshire back to the A1. Midnight on a Sunday night in late September meant the roads were mercifully clear and we were only discomforted by a police van careered out of nowhere to join us as we sped down the dual carriageway. Still, even with the roads behaving themselves and (for once) no closures on the A1, it took us over three hours to get home and we arrived back in St Albans around 2.00pm-ish.
Very many thanks to Mary for the invitation to perform at the Grimsby Folk Club and, similarly, many thanks to Mark, Linda and George for looking after us so well throughout our time at the club. We very much hope to make a return to the club at some time in the future.