Leeds and ennui

Do you ever get that urge to disappear? That burning desire to hear an automated female robotic voice announce destinations glamorous only in their distance from you, when Kidderminster becomes a beacon call, when you have lived, worked and slept in less than a square mile for five days and you just want an adventure, to get on a train, feel it slide away underneath you and to arrive into somewhere new?

I had that craving on Saturday. It was a floridly hot unnatural May morning and the  crowding shouting  different possibilities of a wonderful day were all too much.  I could not make a decision without thinking of all the other ones left to shrivel and die. So we went to the train station to let fate take its course.


I had been there once before and disliked it. Found it bland,  concrety,  commercial and a bit nothingy. But it would be a pleasing train journey through Yorkshire and it would be the difference I craved. An adventure.

The minute I put my card in the machine to pay the forty quid I knew I had made a bad decision. Suddenly as if through a tunnel to heaven I saw the Morecambe train bathed in luminescent glory. Golden children with buckets and spades, happy beaming adults with tattoos and beers, joviality, happiness on golden sand (and of course with the Palatine serving the best pizza ever-see Morecambe review) and for 2.50 return.  Then I had one of those devilishly bad moods clamp down like a personal thundercloud.

Suddenly I felt I was heading to Auschwitz. The train was hot, cramped and we were facing the wrong way. And I then found the journey was over two hours.  I sat looking out through reinforced plastic at people having fun as I sweated in a metal coffin, felt hot, tired, hungry and thirsty and ended getting out at Skipton after an hour travelling as could not bear to simply witness the day as a guest and not a participant any longer.

Skipton was hot, crowded and annoying. Old dears kept stopping dead in the narrow swarming high street to point at stupid carved wooden ducks and sweating cheese. Women pushed prams bigger than my house with malevolent arrogant fury through red burny ankles. We went to a veggie place with decent reviews (I will not give the name as just cannot bear to be rude about a nice veggie place) but my mood and my ankles were on fire and when the ‘bruschetta’ arrived-thick cut brown bread with toppings rather than the light dainty Italian snack I expected I turned into sub Paris Hilton, sneering quietly and angrily about it whilst beaming at the waitress. It was the same price as the pizza in Morecambe, which actually made me feel sick. Or maybe that was the veggie pate.

So that was Skipton. I did not want to continue to Leeds. But I had a blog to write! Well, more to the point, I was not wasting that forty bloody quid even though there was a direct train to Morecambe, now the Champs Elysees and Mecca combined.  Despite the fact neither of us wanted to go to Leeds, we went.

And it was crap. Feel free to comment on how wonderful it actually is and why didn’t I go to this that and the other place, it will make a change from spam and I am aware there must be nice bits but the centre was busy and filled with anger, Lobster red people barged, there was no trace of greenery, just chain shops, sunburn and aggression.  A bar down by the riverside offered an overpriced respite but still the anger remained. And the dreams of Morecambe.

I had to salvage the day. I looked up an historic walk and tried to follow the route but that was also shit.  Oh look, a building covered in scaffolding. A church. Not even with the cold damp sweet decay of a graveyard next to it. Just concrete. I argue with my boyfriend about where the exciting named ‘dark arches’ were to be found and we returned on separate trains (both filled with racists) and I saw Hebden Bridge roll past and wish we had gone there, think of Morecambe, think of sitting in the garden or Williamsons park in Lancaster (see Lancaster review) think of my utterly diminished bank balance and watch the day so full of promise gently prettily die  from a prison window.

And I decide that sometimes, only sometimes it’s good to be unadventurous and to be somewhere you can lie, relax and just be, rather than to seek relentlessly  after something or somewhere else.

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