Ilkley, United Kingdom
Over the last couple of days, the weather has turned and I’ve seen my first rain in a very long time and in great abundance. As a result, I haven’t been up to much. Chris came over again to drop off their shared car for the weekend. We drove him back to his new digs which have a lovely view of the adjoining mental health facility. But other than that, we’ve mostly stayed in chatting and watching such televisual gems as Come Dine with Me which was too much for me to bear and had to be counterbalanced with episodes of 30 Rock just so I didn’t renounce the medium altogether.
We went for a drive to nearby Menston for a lovely afternoon in The Hermit pub. We beat the crowds, in fact we beat the publican! To avoid looking too desperate for a drink, we went for a little amble there and back to see how far it is and tried to look casual when the doors eventually opened.
Back at the homestead, we decided to beat the wet weather blues and get all dolled up for a night on the town. We cracked open a bottle of wine, plugged in the GHDs and laid out the face paint. Diane took up her throne as Queen of the GHDs. She is the first person I knew to ever own a pair and she knows how to use them! She worked her magic on herself while I followed standard airline emergency procedures and tended to my own mask before helping others. Then we turned on each other – she made my hair surrender its will to bend and I somehow managed to shave years of her already youthful complexion making her look, as she believed, barley legal.
We were having so much fun, we decided to share the joy, makeover magic and wine with Maria – now it was a party. Although she had no intention of coming out with us, she was now all dressed up so needed somewhere to go.
We headed down to Bar T’at where I was already being afforded ‘regular’ status having made another substantial withdrawal from their wine supplies. I put a little something back by way of paper cranes – they were out of paper so I used feedback forms which I think had a certain poetry to it.
We were joined in time by our barman, Blondey (I know he has another name but I only knew him by this one) and one by one, by the rest of the staff until the bar closed and we were at the centre of staff drinks. They ’emptied the taps’ which made for a table heavily laden with the last of every kind of beer they have on tap, including Diane’s greatest, glutenous and wheaty weakness – Erdinger and my favourite sweet treat, Fruli. In our already will-weakened state, it was too much to resist and open season was declared on beer.
Even with everyones combined best efforts, the table was still half full when it came time to leave. It was a shame to see such waste so we each pocketed a traveller and made our way across the carpark to the only place in town still open – Renaissance nightclub! I don’t know if it was flashbacks or just the strobe lights, but I was sent rushing back to a time in my life when I felt equally out of place in the nightclubs of Sydney’s western suburbs (preferring the glitz and glamour of the Oxford St crowd). I tried hard to recast the experience as kitsch but it didn’t work. I could feel my anxiety rising so we made our escape passed a growing queue of people making us all kinds of generous offers should we choose to stay.
We made a pit stop at the fish & chip shop before hopping in a taxi to take us up the hill which had somehow grown twice as long and steep since we traversed it just a few hours before. Safe inside, we chatted and chewed the early morning hours away.