I spent the weekend at a guesthouse in Harrogate (pronounced Harragut, like Farragut). It was in its heyday a spa city, having found what seem like a gajillion different mineral springs easily accessible in a small number of square miles. The most important was a sulphur spring that still provides water stinky enough to clear your sinuses. Geez… People came to take the cure, to drink from any one of the springs for whatever might have ailed them. The waters were good for gout and constipation, or so I was told.
It has literary cred. One of the Georgette Heyer novels that I have been re-reading allowed that the well sheltered heroine had spent a week with her aunt visiting the assembly rooms in Harrogate. Not a proper London season, but the best she could expect. Also Agatha Christie “disappeared” to Harrogate.
Today, it is a beautiful town, full of restaurants, tea rooms, lovely walks, and buses of white haired people. It is a side spur on an 85 mile country walk that is supposed to be suitable for walkers of all abilities. The Valley Gardens are spectacular, featuring wooded and landscaped walks, mini-golf, frisbee, and what is essentially an 18 hole putting green. The weather was perfect, apparently the two summer days in Yorkshire.
I stopped after my walk at this pub:
Quiet, not threatening – I had a pint of cider and moved on. There were two folks behind the bar – a young man and a young woman. They were both still behind the bar when I returned after dinner for a nightcap.
The place was PACKED with 50-60-somethings out for a Saturday night at the pub. The music was loud and the second song up was Disco Inferno. Serious cognitive dissonance for me. All of the songs were ones that I knew, and as I screamed my order to the barman (£3.60 for a glass of Oban single malt) a song came on that I was apparently word perfect on. Released from some brain cell long neglected were the words to Penny Arcade, a song written by Sammy King and recorded by Roy Orbison, I have discovered. I must know the Orbison version from my youth in SD, because apparently the Glasgow Rangers have used it as a theme song for years.
As I mouthed the words to the song, amazed that this brain cell worked, apparently that marked me as a local, but not so local that the gents in the pub knew me. Lots of men were speaking to me suddenly, asking about me. An English Rose from Chicago. One young lady with impossibly long, French manicured nails asked me if I was interested in one of the men. She offered some flirting pointers.
Time to finish my drink and get back to the B&B.