She was pleased, proud, excited all at once. She stood on tiptoe, reached up and popped the postcard in the red letter box. Her mother and gran smiled and applauded.

‘But Mummy, how will the man reach the card inside there?’
‘He has a special key to open the box darling.’
‘And then he’ll take it to Debbie’s house?’
‘Yes he will.’
‘Can I be a postman when I grow up?’ 


The postcard sat on the mantelpiece, the colourful image of bay and castle transforming that side of the room. Rose glanced at it with a curious mixture of longing and pleasure every time she walked by. At least twice a day she would pause, take the card and read the childish writing on the back. 

Hi Debbie I am here on holiday in Scarborough why don’t you come too? Xxx Susie. 

Rose would have delivered the card to the correct address but 111 Knightly Road didn’t exist and the postman had obviously hoped for the best and delivered it to number 11. Not knowing any young Debbies she decided to keep the card until she had decided what to do. Her husband would have known but he was gone. 

The card brightened her day. She had no friends really, none that she liked. She didn’t work. Her husband had brought home money and had given her enough for housekeeping. Now it was too late to think about the world of work. She managed somehow on her pension and at least he had left her their little semi in Knightly Road when he buggered off. 

She boiled herself an egg, cut some soldiers from a sliced loaf, sat at the table nibbling away. Maybe she would go the the shop in a while. She needed tea. And salt. Not that she liked the woman that owned the shop. Always talking, wanting to know your business. But it was a bus ride to the shopping centre and there was nothing she wanted from there. Besides, she couldn’t abide the bustle of people and the queuing for everything. 

Scarborough. She’d been happy and in love there. They had both been young and her future husband couldn’t keep his eyes, and his hands, off of her. ‘You are my world’ he would say and she would throw back her curls and laugh him off, though intensely pleased all the same. Looking at the postcard brought back a frisson of those happy days. 

Why don’t you come too? 

It had been years since she had gone anywhere, and Rose had no inclination to do so. But the bay and the castle whispered to her from the mantelpiece. 

Are you going to Scarborough Fair? 

Hush! She would say to him. 

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. 

Rosemary for remembrance. 

Why don’t you come too? 

She packed a small suitcase and caught a bus into town. It was only a short walk to New Street Station. It was nothing like she remembered. She stared in bewilderment at the many screens on the concourse before marching to the ticket queue with resolve. 

Single to Scarborough love? There you go. Change at York. 

There, that was easy. Then a man with a hat told her the time and platform for the York train. Those immigrants can really be very nice she thought. After several reassurances that ‘Yes this is the York train’ she settled back in her window seat for the ride. As the train slid silently out through the city suburbs and into the fields her heart lifted and she smiled with anticipation. 

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
He once was a true love of mine 

As she was on holiday she treated herself to a cup of tea and a bar of chocolate from the trolley. The stations came and went – Burton-on-Trent, Derby, Chesterfield. With each station her heart became lighter, her smile broader, her shoulders less heavy. After wrestling with the toilet door and giggling like a girl she sat down again and must have dropped off for a while, she thought. Sheffield, Wakefield, Leeds. My God, she hadn’t left Birmingham for nigh on ten years and here she was at the other end of the country. 

We are now approaching York. Passengers leaving us here please ensure you have all your belongings with you. 

At York another nice man pointed her to the Scarborough train, a much shorter affair, on the far platform. They were soon rattling along and Rose seemed to have the little local train to herself. The ticket collector kept her ticket this time. Soon Scarborough came into view, then the station. Rose stepped off the train with the other few passengers, exited the gate and looked about her. She didn’t recognise it at all, but last time they had arrived by coach. 

scarborough postcard

Rose walked up and down a few roads, then her suitcase, small as it was, began to feel heavy. She thought she had better book a room before doing anything else. She was in luck, the B&B lady said, there was one small room left. How long was Madam staying? Her nose shot up as Rose told her one night only. £30, in advance please, no lunch or dinner. She paid the woman, put her suitcase in the small room she was directed to, and set off to explore the town.