And so my nine-day sojourn to the North comes to an end. Back I go to sad old flat Norfolk, deadlines, essay marking, accountability. Excuse me while I feel sorry for myself.
Cunningly, I've contrived to bring some of Yorkshire back with me. I went for one last walk along the banks of the Swale and got my Levis caked in the mud churned up by yesterday's torrential rain. The river was brimming, the waterfall almost invisible due to the sheer volume of water coming down from the dale. I walked along past my old school- I'll have to find the Pevsner entry for it- and went for a coffee in the new arts centre housed in the former station buildings. Even Richmond has been cappucinoted. There is another new cafe (in what used to be the sandwich shop we fattened ourselves up in during lunch hour) called 'Sip'. Teesside and the North Riding currently seems very committed to the 'aesthetics of chill-out': I fear that speakers concealed on street corners might start thrumming out Groove Armada at passers by. I personally don't understand the need to create a patina of faux-classiness for an area that is almost universally admired for its rugged edges. All the new latte bars and hair salons- nearly all of which seem to be run by people who've been overexcited by a weekend in London or, even worse, Leeds- have an incongruous, trying-too-hard feel about them. That said, I didn't mind the new arts centre so much. They seemed to be making an effort to stay 'Yorkshire'.
- A short visit to London to look at some art and, regrettably, watch another Darlington match.
- Strikers and the right to write/ writers and the right to strike.
- Thoughts on setting in fiction (a thesis-writing warm-up).
- W.S. Graham
Okay. That's enough. Train to catch. Thanks North.