It began as a blog about completing a thesis, it became a blog about everything but completing a thesis, it ended with a complete thesis.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

FarNorth trip 2, part I

Barton is blus-te-ry. Local builders have their answer machines on on on, and I am returned from my trip to the FarNorth.

Seeing the family was good:–
Pa Wexford was protective of his new teapot
Ma Wexford was irritated by pa’s irritation at carefree teapot-handling
Brother Wexford demonstrated spectacular patience with regards to his partner’s time-keeping, gob-shitedness and talking-before-thinking (if only she could think so fast)
Sister Wexford dished out her usual brand of razor-sharp acidity – cruel affection
Grandma Elspeth received good coaching on how to better board her new stair-lift

Got back to Barton a couple of hours ago – a return journey that was reasonably smooth. It had been about 90 minutes after setting off that I realised that I’d forgotten to flick the radio on – so contemplative was I.

Wednesday saw Emma and self land at the High Force waterfall at 4:10pm. En route we covered a lot of subjects, including my fondness for Yes (Prime) Minister, and that Emma was glad to be getting away from home for a couple of days. Conditions at the waterfall were cold and lightly breezy, it felt like dusk for the 25 minutes that we spent there. The noise of the torrent pouring over the hundred-foot ledge was awesome (I use ‘awesome’ in a non-‘yoof’ manner). Emma’s comment upon being introduced to said feature of the West Durham countryside was “This is amazing”. I agreed. We took in the noise, clambered over rocks, and settled on facing rocks to chat idly for 15 minutes. Prevailing darkness and the need to get to FarNorthCity required a sharpish exit. Following a vehicle drop-off and brother Wexford’s dropping us at the train station, we landed in FarNorthCity at 6:35.

A quick shower and change in our respective and adjoining hotel rooms and we were ready to head out for food at 7:15. Emma opened her door to my light tap, unself-consciously (s.o. v.e.r.y. r.a.r.e.!) I immediately blurted “Wow!” She looked amazing. At this, I received a coy “Thank you” - demure. Gladly, my blush went unspotted. We descended stairs and returned to the eatery of our previous visit to FarNorthCity. On this occasion we shared a bottle of wine during the meal. I was in no hurry to hurry back to the hotel, or to shift to pedestrian-paced socialising. In fact, work concerns were negligible - we knew we had a fairly late (1pm) start on Thursday. So, at around 9:15 pm we had a wander around the city centre and its main bar area for somewhere to sit back and gad away. A place was found and we settled ourselves with another bottle of wine. That’s bottle of wine number 2. I am a lightweight drinker. I knew Emma to be far from a heavyweight in the drinking stakes too. What followed bottle of wine number 2? Well cocktails of course. One was green and in a tall glass, the other was red and in a short fat glass. I don’t recall their names. We both liked them both. Yes, cocktails were being shared. By this time we’d shifted our position within the bar – from sturdy fashion sofa near the entrance to much more sink-intoable sofa at the back of the place. It felt intimate – despite not being secluded. We were comfortable to be almost brushing one another shoulder-to-shoulder, or arm-to-arm – whatever, as we sat there. By this time we had each confirmed our lightweight status, were conversing only in amusing terms, and were having a good evening. As far as I am aware, neither of us were thinking any further ahead than ‘here and now’. At one moment in that ‘here and now’, we languished on the soft sofa with our feet on the low table/box that was in front of us – our four bent knees were at our reclined heads’ height. These bodyforms revealed some of the green net tights that Emma wore (yes green tights, and yes they were part of a spectacular appearance – maybe it was a case of ‘you had to be there’). I remarked: “Subtle is really not the word for those tights is it” – no question mark as it wasn’t a question. I was not given a verbal response. Instead, with a quick hand to the hem of skirt Emma did throw a flick of skirt-tail that produced a flash of full leg-length proportions – not so demure. My reaction: “Game-on!” I know, what a twat. But, for me, that was the moment at which my mindset shifted. We stuck around in the bar until lights went up, and we were shepherded out towards our hotel fold...

I will pick-up this story in my next post. Have got a lot to do this evening and tomorrow.