Friday afternoon, I cycled back home and after a cough and a splutter, went off to meet Frank in the local which was stuffed full of no-necked rugby types (again) baying at a selection of massive flat screens featuring more no-necked rugby types deliberately hurting themselves in an orgy of masochistic machismo. We couldn’t be fucked to deal with it so opted instead for the rather limp bar over the road and sunk a few lagers instead.
I returned home and had a few more cans in front of the TV and hit the sack a little later than I intended. I woke on the Saturday morning in good time and prepared myself for the trip ahead by having no less that two kippers and about 4 cups of tea. And toast. As is the custom Myfwt was late but at least when she arrived she was actually ready to go. I’ve found that women require at least an hour more time than men to prepare themselves for an excursion, even if its to take the fucking rubbish out. We were already an hour behind when we set off, of course, it was a Saturday so the roads were solid with metal and it took us almost 2 hours to hit the M1. At the first set of services, Newport fucking Pagnell we stopped and gathered together food and fags and carried on our way. This time I took over driving responsibilities in Myfwt car, I was rather keen we got to our destination before Sunday so I gave it my plate of meat. We arrived at the Huddersfield junction some 3 hours later in, remarkably, very clement weather. By Yorkshire standards it was blistering.
I’d arranged to meet Charlie at the car park of Yorkshire Sculpture Park. We didn’t have enough time to have a meander; I followed Charlie in his car through the glorious Yorkshire countryside at some pace. The road surfaces aren’t really up to the standard one expects from London, the up t’North people haven’t had roads for very long, or cars, because they’re poor, bless, so well done to them for at least making an effort. Bravo.
Actually, driving the up t‘North lanes was more like rallying and ironically I thought of Colin McRae, probably just at the very moment he was screaming towards his death in his chopper.
Unlike most Yorkshires, Charlie and his family have a rather large swanky flat; it has running water and central heating and even a loo, inside! We greeted Charlie’s wife, Lisa and 3-year-old son called Winkie, who’d just woken up, and all had a nice cup of Yorkshire tea. Charlie’s mum and dad popped by to pick up Winkie because us adults had some adult things to do. Feverishly we all got changed into our clobber for the evening’s delights. It was Charlie’s fortieth and the theme for the do (see, I’m even getting the lingo) was ‘vaudeville and burlesque from music hall to dress as you dare’ I was looking rather rakeish in my top hat, Byron-esque lace white shirt, waistcoat, pin-striped slacks and pointy leather boots. Myfwt wore a fetching black dress with fucking stockings, right dick-fattening stuff. She looked delicious. Lisa looked stunning in a green corset and an ostrich feature in her bouffant hair and Charlie, also with top hat, looked like the consummate dandy by employing lots of red silk with a tailored black-suited.
We took a cab to the station and hopped on the train to Leeds. My initial concern of Myfwt attracting a bit too much attention from ‘gentlemen’ was stymied when I realised the young ladies from Leeds are happy to walk about wearing dental floss to cover their modesty. My own rather unusual dress code was aided and abetted by the company I was keeping, I actually felt extraordinarily comfortable prancing about town, like a tit.
We arrived at the first venue; a fine looking pub with a good selection of proper ales, in fact, Tim Taylors Landlord was on the menu, a personal favourite. I was introduced to a host of similarly attired guests, there were quite a few top hats and ostrich feathers, fur wraps, stockings, tail coats, plus-fours, canes, spats… everyone looked superb. A few faces I knew, a few I didn’t but it mattered not, Myfwt and I fell into the bosom of the guests and we drifted from face to face making our acquaintance.
After a few pints dinner was announced. To my utter joy, and really this was being like a 5 year old at a your best friends party, I was confronted by a 20 foot long table groaning with nothing but yellow food. Pies, both chicken and pork, pasties of all known type, scotch eggs, a dream food when you’re pissed, ham and cheese rolls, crisps, more pies and not a flash of green in sight. Wonderful.
After stuffing our faces to the point of blindness we took a cab to Leeds University to visit a club called The Wendy House and it was here I had my true taste of the north south divide.
I’ll keep this simple because this isn’t a fucking social commentary; it’s one rather bored berk ranting. As we approached the university students were milling about and we were forced to ask them directions. Instead of reticent grunts and/or shrugs we were warmly received by total strangers who took it on themselves to not just walk us to the venue but to converse with us without any agenda. Maybe its because of the way Myfwt and I were dressed (the rest of the party were 30 minutes behind us so we were on our own) but I think it’s just because the up t’North people are simply friendlier. Indeed, the club itself played host to a wide mix of alternative codes, goth, skins, punks, indie kids all cohabiting as one, with all groups dancing at one point to (ironically) Respect by Erasure.
We stayed until it closed, I’ve no idea what time it was and took another cab to a house in Huddersfield where things took a class A turn for the better, the booze flowed mercilessly and things began to get gorgeously vague and strange. There seemed to be a seamless passing from being inebriated to waking up feeling like I’d been reconstructed from sand and poo.
I didn’t mix my drinks but my three companions did, all threw up at some point in the morning though Charlie copped the worse. Fortunately for me the TV had been left on as Charlie who was full of the stuff a few hours earlier, hadn’t been able to sleep so I was able to watch the Grand Prix and then the Moto GP as I made breakfast for Lisa and Myfwt. Charlie joined us shortly after and the girls chatted while Charlie, Winkie and I went off to his bedroom to play with his toys. Turns out Winkie is a Marine Biologist in the making, on his wall are pictures of fishes, hundreds of them. Winkie can name every bloody one, and no, he’s not autistic, weird or precious, just a smashing kid. I asked Charlie how much he’d sell him for but the idiot wasn’t interested.
At about 5-ish I felt I was good to drive, after a fond cheerio Charlie escorted me back to the M1 with Winkie in for the ride and we were off. The journey back was fucking awful, sudden queues nearly saw us buried in the back of two lorries and one of them new mini’s, I left a service station without my lights on and wondered why everyone was flashing me, I got caught by a speed camera as we approached the M25 which didn’t do much for my temper and by the time we arrived home at 10pm both of us were giggling insane but alright enough to watch The Bourne Supremacy which is ace of spades.
Yesterday was spent in bed until midday, we had breakfast, watched Clerks 2 (superb stuff) after a bit of cleaning and washing spent the rest of the day and evening on the couch taking it very slowly indeed, eating at will and having a few stiff drinks to prepare us for today.
Next weekend I’ve a bunch of friends coming to my gaff, I may have to take another Monday off for that too.
Family guy week, a little clip to get you warmed up.