03 September 2012

2nd UK trip, day three

I know I'm not posting these on time, or in order. I wrote the below on, like, the 14th of August. I am a Time Lady. Sorry. (If you have no idea what I meant by that--watch some Dr. Who.)


There are no silences here, in this hostel. The windows are open against the heat, and Manchester traffic rumbles constantly by underneath. Wailing sirens, streams of raucous revellers, impatient horns. The door to the room squeaks and clatters open. People come and go, following their own disparate schedules. Sleep is taken only in snatches and fits. The blue silicone in my ears is very imperfect insulation, but I make do with what I've got. Being dry and off the street is all I need.

I allow myself to sleep as long as I want and take a leisurely breakfast out of packets and tins downstairs. With tea of course: the lifeblood of my travelling. Then a train to Huddersfield, a nice conversation with a local lady who has an electric bike; green streaming by the windows, layered over sandblasted stone and aged brick. The hills are formidable and render electrics on a bike a necessity for all but the most hardy cyclists. But I've only five or six miles to Holmfirth from here, so they give me little pause as I set off into them.

The road twists around and among the hills, skirting thru small towns along the way. The smell of old forest permeates the air. Mildewed leaves and dirt and mossy trunks. Much of the way is sheltered under canopies of branches and leaves, natural tunnels with a peaceful darkness to them. The air is moist and sky overcast, but the atmosphere is that of natural, subtle beauty.

Holmfirth is small, set tumbling upon the road into a valley. I'm here because my Grandmamma said that I should come. I'm glad she did. She cannot come herself, so I'm her eyes and ears for now. I don't take as many pictures or video as I should like, but I do my best. Happy birthday, Grandmamma. I'll be seeing you very soon.

The ladies in the tourist office are imminently friendly, and gab and gab with me until we realise that the exhibition will close before I get there if I don't move out. I've already essentially missed the tour bus, so I buy a DVD that will take us on it later, and head down then to Compo's house. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's from a long-lived British show called Last of the Summer Wine, filmed in this little slice of Yorkshire for decades. Grandmamma is a big fan.) After the museum, shop, and tea in the Wrinkled Stocking tea room, it's off to find the series' iconic pub. I would stay for a bit of summer wine (haha) but I'm full and it's been raining off and on for a while, so I head back the way I came, into Huddersfield. The shut-up shops have transformed the town from bustling and busy to dreary and empty in the few hours I've been gone. The roadworks on the ring road don't help either. It smells like dust and wet concrete. The train comes late.


Fog blankets everything in whitish grey outside the train back into Manchester, and I am sitting on the floor in a train that had no seats for me to take. BK rests against a pile of cases next to me. I like how bicycles can travel on the trains here, free (as space permits). The entire country opens up to me that way.

It'll be York tomorrow, then. Not much else from this day or the next to communicate. My poetic mood seems to have waned. We'll see what's left of it in the coming days, I suppose.