Thursday, May 04, 2006

I Am A Cider Drinker 

Thursday was sad because I ran out of pants, and that’s how you know when your holiday is drawing to a close.
Leanne left around midday. I gave her a big hug, and then another, after advising where I felt she could improve on her technique.

Me and Girlfriend set sail for Harrogate, after saying our farewells to Juggling Protégé and Charlie - perfectly executed handshake and hug respectively - who would also be gone by the time we returned.

Harrogate’s bloody posh, isn’t it? I didn’t realise, otherwise I’d have made more of an effort.
We wandered around streets lined with art galleries and kitchen showrooms. At times it was hard to tell one from the other - some of the kitchens were so elegantly minimalist you’d completely ruin the effect if you so much as, I don’t know, cooked something.
And then we had a late lunch in a pub so trendy that there was a fashion shoot going on in the other bar.

Afterwards we sat on a bench outside to recover, and watched the world go by; or rather, watched everybody else sitting around on benches. The sun beat down but I refused to go topless.

We stopped off in Grassington on the way back and it was true - not one person told me their life story - but I couldn’t pretend to be bitter.
On a perfect evening in early Summer like this the Dales are heartbreakingly beautiful, that’s the only way I can describe it, the fields and the walls and the sheep with their lambs, and the trees and the wise hills. So peaceful and still and utterly lovely.

We dropped off our stuff in the cottage, secretly checking to see if anybody had changed their minds and returned - they hadn’t, sadly - then walked all seventeen steps to the pub. We hit the cider - Westons is to cider what Green and Blacks is to chocolate - and read funny stories in the paper about stupid people who should know better, and I began to cheer up.

We chatted to a couple of Americans: a girl studying at Cambridge, and her Dad who’d flown over to check up on her. They were from Connecticut and I was wearing a shirt that said Cape Code in big letters, so that kind of got us started.
We told them no, they wouldn’t be anywhere near able to walk the Three Peaks by lunchtime tomorrow, although either Whernside or Pen-y-Ghent should be do-able if they made an early start, and the café at Horton where you can clock in is very nice.
They asked what all the yellow fields that they’d seen were, and we said it was rape, used in cooking oil, and were surprised they’d never seen it before.

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