I have been away for the weekend to York, a city of cobbled streets, narrow alleyways and a river with no concept of staying where it belongs.
When my travelling companion called the hotel to check the reservation on Friday morning, he enquired about parking and was told ‘Ah, well, you see, our car park is flooded so you’ll have to use the NCP (priced at a very reasonable forty squillion pounds a night).’ The idea of this flooded car park was mildly intriguing but the actuality was better than we’d imagined. Our hotel was directly on the bank of the River Ouse – or at least, where the bank used to be. When we got there, half the river had got out and was trying to explore the hotel. It had surged through the underground car park (I can’t help wondering if any cars were actually in there at the time, and if so, I wish I could have seen the faces of the owners when the water finally went down this morning) and was creeping up the side street towards the main entrance, stopping whenever we looked at it and then nipping up an extra couple of inches every time we looked away. I confess to being rather relieved that our room was on the third floor!
I popped out to get the Pepsi Max supplies and accidentally bought some shortbread biscuits while I was at it (as you do). When I got back to the hotel a small foraging party of Canada geese had taken advantage of the river-cum-street idea to wander around looking hopeful, so I cracked open the biscuits and started sharing. There was a small-ish child with a large-ish grandpa watching, so I gave him a biscuit to feed the geese with. Bad idea. He didn’t let go fast enough and Poppa Goose wasn’t waiting around for slowcoaches. We rescued him before it swallowed his entire arm – just.
Despite the Venice impression, York was a delight. All those funny little streets with funny little names and funny little shops! Also, of course, they pride themselves on their ghost quotient. If all the claims are true , York is actually overcrowded when it comes to the dearly departed wandering around looking see-through and saying ‘wooo’. Some of our party went on one of the organised ‘Ghost walks’ but apparently the spooks were having a night off and the scariest thing they saw was the tour guide.
I ate too much, laughed more than enough, made new friends and was re-acquainted with old friends, slapped Amanda’s arse with a hairbrush thirty seconds before she had to go and get naked with a gent, leaving her with explanations to make, and generally had a fantastic weekend. Thanks again to my driver, masseur and stripy-sock-supplier – you know who you are.