Ilkley, United Kingdom
After enjoying a long Sunday sleep in, we headed down the hill into the village in search of coffee. Having just returned from Italy, I use the term loosely – no one ever came to the north of England for a good macchiato! Luckily the company was stimulating where the coffee was weak.
Stacy headed home shortly after and Diane and I returned to The Grove (where we’d ended our previous night) for a sumptuous (yet gluten free) lunch with a bottle of wine. If you don’t know Ilkley, you’ll soon get the impression that it’s a small, quaint village with few of the distractions offered in larger cities. With that in mind, we headed back to Bar T’at for dessert… and another bottle of wine.
We thought long and hard about what we should do next… back to The Grove for bottle number three! Although our conversation was flowing as free and easy as the house red, we decided against a fourth – far from being a sensible decision about moderation (let’s face it, we passed that point a couple of bottles back!), we merely decided to change streams. It was around this time that Diane’s commitment to gluten free started to waiver and then dissolve completely at the bottom of a pint of Guinness (hers with a shot of blackcurrent, mine straight up as the bar was completely out of Vegemite).
We still weren’t ready to call last orders on ourselves but (un)fortuntely, others were. By this time, it was quite late on a Sunday night, this marathon effort having lasted the whole day. It’s said that they breed ‘em tough up north and we iron-gut-Aussies can certainly hold our own too so we bought a couple for the road and headed back up the hill. We were ravenous so when we saw a light still on at Seema’s, the local Indian restaurant, we made a bee line for it only to be informed that they’d just closed.
Diane being a woman of many charms, casually dropped the name of her friend who also happens to be the owner. The doors were magically reopened to us and we were graciously allowed to place a substantial order, including a Kingfisher beer while we waited. I couldn’t quite believe what happened next – Diane sweet talked them into driving us home! Admittedly it was just up the hill a few of blocks but they’re very steep blocks! I don’t know if it was good customer service, obligation or pure fear of consequence but at that point, I really didn’t mind.
Safely, if not soberly, inside, we enjoyed an Indian supper while we watched the show that can be credited as forming the basis of our early friendship – The League of Gentlemen (I once met them in London and had them leave a message for Diane on her voicemail. She still has it to this day). A very fitting end to a day which already has me feeling more ‘local’.