Thursday, November 03, 2005

On the road

I've been on the road for work. I went to the lovely market town of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It was a stark reminder of just how "Londonfied" I've become.

I and a colleague arrived around 9:20 at night and walked out of the train station to find no taxis. We were so stunned by this that we fell into a fit of laughter. The only people around were four youths, some of them 'hoodies' on those low slung trick bikes. They had pretensions to hoodlumry, but frankly they just looked too healthy to be true delinquents. (Somebody was clearly making them eat their vegetables). They were at the train station to harass the station attendant and were lurking about the entrance plotting their next move - which consisted of "We'll tell him that we're waiting for a train." followed by "What train?"

We discovered that there were no taxis to be had for the next half hour, so we asked the young hooligan-wanna-bes if our hotel was within walking distance (yes) and how we might get to the hotel. Now, I had my doubts that they would answer correctly, but they were very helpful and gave us good directions that took us straight to the hotel.

Differences from London:
  • we just expected transport to be handy at our whim, and it wasn't
  • healthy looking hoodies
  • polite hoodies
  • the fact that we felt no fear of speaking to them at all

Beverley is a pretty little town with lots of well kept shops and an interesting mix of traditional architecture and new build. But at 9:30, the place was pretty much deserted. Oh, the pubs had customers, but hardly anyone was walking around the streets. We had the town to ourselves, except for one or two couples doing some nighttime window shopping.

Differences from London:
  • there was no one about at 9:30 pm
  • despite the fact that streets were deserted, I felt no fear (of course, I was walking with a black belt)

I could go on about the fact that we couldn't find any decent olives or coffee. Or I could wax on about how the first big news scandal I remember after moving to England was the collapse of school discipline in East Riding (oh, it was beyond belief). But I won't. I could have made this post about the dubious qualities of English hotels. But I won't (I'll save that for another time!).

It was a cute little town filled with really nice people. Everyone we met was only too happy to help.

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