Rushing up north

Off again. Having a car is lovely. I can do things. Today’s thing was simple enough on paper: to get myself up into Yorkshire so I can be at my 11am appointment tomorrow morning at Tennant’s Auctioneers in order to drop off some rather lovely fans for their upcoming fan sale in October. I complicated it with all sorts of delightful extras, commencing with waking up in Brighton despite the fans all being in London. Still the little Nissan goes very happily and is getting the use it has craved. After all London is between Brighton and Birmingham. All the little bangs and cracks in the car are ironing themselves out as it tootles back into fine form as a cheap to run touring city zoomaround. And if you ask it to jump, it jumps.

We made very good time through roads up north that felt about the same as usual, weirdly.

We stopped at the Walsall Arboretum. There are some pretty good parks around Birmingham it seems, and we could have an undisturbed lunch under a tree before nipping round the corner so Lou could see her parents. They’re pushing 80 and she hasn’t been able to get up to them since lockdown began, having no car and with health concerns about the train. So we swung by in the Micra for early afternoon and sat in the garden. I went off at first in search of a coffee so daughter could commune with parents, and then returned in time to have the strange conversations you find yourself having with other people’s elderly parents when you first meet them. The weather, parks in Jersey, lockdown (inevitably). I think it went well. Before we knew it we were back on the road, eating up the remaining miles to Harrogate.

India’s mum has a self contained Airbnb at the top of the house with shower and everything, and we are there tonight as it’s only an hour further north through lovely Yorkshire to get to Tennants, so I can have a bit of time to organise the fans at India’s before making the last push.

Harrogate used to have a little place in my regular existence, as the nearest town to Ripley where we had so many happy summer Shakespeares.

Harrogate. Haircuts and ASDA. Late night curry and dancing in clubs full of teenagers. Spa days and Betty’s Tearooms and vintage fairs on the green and visiting my girlfriend’s granny. HMV for CDs and Duttons for Buttons.

India walked Lou and I over for scran at Scran, through the sleepy streets of Harrogate – “It’s beautiful but it’s boring to live here.” I like it here, partly for the memories, like ghosts on every street corner. Snatches of remembered conversations and forgotten friendships. Partly for the beautiful architecture and friendly citizens. Partly for the easy access to beautiful countryside. I’d need a car, but with a car or motorbike (and maybe a helicopter on the roof – oh and a lear jet in the hangar … Submarine? Nah too slow. Space rocket! Although that might be a bit too far…) Anyway, with a means of swift return to London I could happily live here and go for tea at Betty’s in the morning, and frolic on the lawns in the evening.

It was a delight to see India again. Now I’m winding down in her flat. I took the fans out of the car to sort in the morning but the Nissan parked outside is full of antique weapons and Meissen porcelain. I have artfully draped socks and pants so it looks like a car full of crap to the Monday night prowlers on the rough tough streets of Harrogate.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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