I have a great affection for the medieval City of York. My first taste of freedom from home was enjoyed there while studying on a Foundation Art course….and I met “Tall Man” within the stronghold of its ancient city walls. Actually, it was in the queue at the college canteen and it took nine years for him to pluck up the courage and ask me out.
The last 48 hours have been spent tootling in the campervan to York and back in order to see my father in law and his latest art exhibition. In a modern vehicle the outward journey takes about two hours. In an elderly vehicle that defies the laws of mechanics, well, you’re just delighted to arrive at all. Sunny the Splitty took it all in his stride despite gale force cross winds and, through no fault of his own, no visible form of heating. This is unfortunate when tootling during the winter months especially as Sunny has many, shall we say, ventilation holes. Why, if you look carefully around the base of the clutch pedal you can find yourself mesmerised by the sight of the road’s surface speeding beneath you. But Tall Man and I know how to dress for such a journey.
Many layers for both travellers. Jeans tucked into hiking socks, two t-shirts, cardigan, denim jacket, canvas coat and hat for him. Double layered dress, two cardi’s, coat, thermal tights, thermal knee length socks, Doc Martin boots,woollen hat and travel blankets for her.
My father in law’s exhibition, at The School House Gallery looked fabulous. The gallery’s light, bright, airy space really brought out the colours in his work. Some of the reds and oranges were so vivid I could almost sense heat emanating from the canvas. Although this may have been a halucinatory effect due to my bodily thaw.
Sadly dogs, skinny or otherwise, were not allowed in the gallery, so while Tall Man appreciated his father’s art work I took the hounds for a trot into town. This was no easy task. Skinny Dog #2 always pulls ahead while Skinny Dog #1 trails behind. Add to this the realisation that my thermal tights were being pulled southward by my knee-high thermal socks and you have a recipe for panic. Top of Goodram Gate and into Kings Square and my knickers had slid below my buttocks with the tights in hot pursuit. Fortunately my double layered dress, two cardigans and coat were all knee length, so I risked lengthening my stride toward the nearest ginnel. York has many of these, its a Yorkshire word to describe an alleyway. Discreetly adjusting my underpinnings beneath so many layers of clothing while keeping two dogs from making a dash to the Hog Roast shop, was impossible. I successfully manouvered my socks from calf to knee bunching up the thermal tights into undulating wrinkles mid-thigh. In order to get a good grip on the tights I had to drop the dog leads to the ground and put my foot on them. There was nothing for it. I lifted up all the layers, exposing bare upper thigh, and yanked. Yorkshire folk, and I am one of them, must have a strong constitution (its the daily intake of freshly brewed tea, Yorkshire puddings, curd tart and pomfret cakes), because not one person ambling down the ginnel batted an eyelid. I scuttled out into The Shambles with the dogs and sauntered calmly back toward the gallery.
York was looking lovely. It’s narrow crooked streets twinkled with fairy lights as each shop and coffee-house tried to outdo its neighbour with glowing festive charm. However,it wasn’t long before my hosiery began its southerly descent once more but I didn’t care. I was so hot you could’ve roasted chestnuts on my cheeks. Either pair.