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Cat lights

  Thu 7th February 2013

Their last letter had "Final Notice" stamped across it, so I don't know why they are sending me any more.

At the ---- Hotel, it's the Northern Soul Night. M and I discuss preparations. "Bring what you've got and I'll exchange it for something better," he says. Very Pretty Woman in Black Dress is there with Older Boyfriend, who wears pressed trousers that look like old British Rail uniform, and large round black specs. Everyone wonders.

The drugs do work and we are talking and talking, doing that hand gesture that indicates exasperation with something we understand and that should be common sense, but isn't. M is a bit shy about dancing, not knowing what distance to give us.

Trina and I are in the living room with a bottle of wine, in front of a radiantly glowing coal fire. My desire for comfort and my lust are arguing with each other, knowing it's freezing cold in my bedroom, but we repair upstairs and get into bed without time to make sex out of taking our clothes off.

"I was having horrible dreams last night," she said, "about you talking to your friend and saying how difficult it was dancing with that woman at the Soul Night and kissing her at the same time. And then there was a kitten in the bed and I crushed it by rolling on it." "You just hadn't had enough cock, darling," I said, pushing her legs open. You hadn't been fucked enough. You just needed more cock, that's all." "You can fuck me any time," she said.

As we were getting dressed there was a loud knock at the door. In my underpants and T-shirt, I am immobilised with worry before I move myself slowly out of sight and away from the window. Trina is chatting away, unaware of what this might mean. "Shhh," I said. "We'd better talk quietly. I'm not answering that."

I wait until I think he might have gone away, praying that the lodger doesn't open the door. I peer carefully from the window to see a man tapping something into a handheld gadget. Downstairs, there's put a card on the mat. "Oh bugger, it was just the meter reader."

I suggest Trina and I could go to Clapham--the pretty one owned by one man, just over the border in North Yorkshire. We get off the train and have just started walking the mile and a bit to the village when someone stops and asks us if we'd like a lift. We tell her we're going to have a drink in The Old Manor House. "Oh, that was mine. Yes, I did it up and put the accomodation in upstairs." She drops us off outside. I have the blandest "curry" I have ever had, before we move into the bar and order our drinks in what was the kitchen, with its fireplace ten feet wide, now occupied by a woodburner.

"I must warn you," says the landlady, "the Knit and Natter group will be arriving soon."

As Trina is standing by the fire, one of their number moves her coat, her bag and her chair. Trina points it out to her and she is apologetic, to some extent. We move on to the main pub in the village, the New Inn. The landlord fiddles ineffectually with a fire. His tales about the collusion between the police and the editor of the local paper he used to work on are interesting, but it's too cold to relax.


We go back to the Old Manor House, where we report all our conversations to the landlady, including what the landlord of the New Inn had said about her place. Without meaning to, I have become a conduit of internecine rural Yorkshire conversation. "The dry stone wallers will be in soon," says our commentating landlady. They're dressed in beaver hats, high pale yellow boots, and layers of green and brown outer clothes.

The Lancaster Amber beer is so tame as to be undrinkable, and we give our pints to the dry stone wallers, as the last train to Lancaster goes in half an hour. As we walk back to the station, they pull up in their car and offer us a lift. We squeeze in amongst the bags of kindling on the back seat. At the station, a cat does a mannered walk along one of the rails, into the blackness.

The train's headlights poke into the dark. I pull up my trouser leg and start thumbing. The driver puts his head out of the window. "With a leg like that, I wasn't going to stop." On the train, students are buried in laptops and I feel a flare of irritation with them for not being on the same level of sociability as me. "Come on, it's the last train. Put your work away you miserable fuckers."

I say goodbye to Trina and start walking home. Kirsty texts me wondering if I was coming round. At her house I set about the largest pile of washing up existing that evening in any kitchen west of the Oder-Neisse line.


How are you going to resolve this housing issue? It’s a real concern!

I was so charmed by the The Old Manor House photo that I Googled it. Built ca. 1640. Did you know?

Fri 8th February 2013 @ 11:37
Comment from: [Member]

Well apparently, the bailiffs will eventually give up and return the bill to the Council nul bono which is a Latin legal phrase meaning “he hasn’t got anything worth selling, so good luck in getting any cash off him.” But when that will happen I’m not sure. One forum post I read suggested it can take months.

Yes, I read about the Old Manor House before we went as it has an entry in the Good Beer Guide. It’s been very little altered, apart from the fireplace which went in in the early C18th.

Fri 8th February 2013 @ 13:47
Comment from: isabelle [Visitor]

I really like the bits about the lifts …. that’s countryside hospitality for you !
And re your comments over at mine, my desk is the same, as is my house and my life. A great big jumble.

Fri 8th February 2013 @ 14:56
Comment from: Gorilla Bananas [Visitor]

Yes, that’s the problem with these old buildings, they’re so damned difficult to heat. You deserve a medal for getting it up in that climate.

Sun 10th February 2013 @ 13:47
Comment from: [Member]

Hello GB! I’ve seen you sniffing round some blogfriends so it’s nice to see you here.

Trina has a happy effect on me which seems to be relatively temperature resistant. A nice coal fire though is undoubtedly an aphrodisiac.

Sun 10th February 2013 @ 14:00
Comment from: [Member]

nothing warms me up better than a good romp…

what i love about visiting Europe, England and the rest of the world? you remind us of what “old” is…. in the states, if a home is over 200 years old? it’s on the historic register, and considered a landmark. in your part of the world? it may be just a shitty old house.

Mon 11th February 2013 @ 02:19
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks DF. I lived for eight years in a house which was built in 1675 (or, more accurately, mentioned as new in a document of 1675). The County Surveyor of Historic Buildings, or whatever they’re called, came round to have a look at it once to see if it needed to be Listed, but after poking round for a bit he politely said it was nothing special.

Mine was number 2, on the right.

Mon 11th February 2013 @ 09:14

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