Gradually, imperceptibly, and frankly a bit sneakily, doings, goings-on, situations and I-wont stands-for-that's in the East Riding of Yorkshire have crept away. I would not be stupid enough to allow that this is a permanent situation, its more like one of those old cowboy films where the sixth, seventh or eight cavalry are riding through a canyon and the grizzled old trouper says to the lieutenant "I dont like it, Sir. It's too quiet". In those movies anyway, I was, child of the sixties ever, always on the side of the "Indians" - the oppressed, the glorious braves, the people with a cause. And causes mean chaos. So where, I suppose, RHB and self could just concentrate, for the immediate future, on making money, doing the house up, fixing the garden, walking the cats, it is very unlikely that the situation will last forever.
For the moment though, I take great pleasure in announcing that almost nothing of significance has occured recently. There was of course our attempt to visit Great Meg and the Legal Eagle in Glossop......
"Are you sure we'e got everything?" asked RHB.
I nodded, which immediately sent shards of pain across the balding cranium. Last night we had been to JJ's for "a few drinks".
We set off from Large Mansions in good spirits, settling into gossip about everyone we knew as soon as we hit the motorway.
"Should I put some music on?" asked RHB
I thought for a second.
"Actually, I forgot to bring any" I admitted.
"OK. No problem" said the Boffin.
"Shall I take a look at the map, just to check where we're going?" asked my co-pilot
"No need" I said "its pretty straightforward. We just head down the M62 and sort of turn left-ish once we've crossed the Pennines. Or maybe just before. Or maybe at the top of the Pennines. Anyway, it doesnt matter, its signposted. "
Two hours later, we were passing signs for Liverpool. The promised signpost for Glossop seemed to have been removed.
"Should I check the map?" asked my partner
"Well, you could if I hadnt forgotten to bring it" I admitted, continuing "I think we've come a bit far." We pulled off the motorway at the next sliproad, crossed over, headed back down the sliproad on the other side and headed back in the sirection we had come.
soon we were climbing back into the Pennines, but there was no sign of signs for Glossop. We decided to call Great Meg to ask for directions, so I pulled off the motorwayagain , while RHB called her mom. Directions were negotiated and noted, so we re-crossed the motorway confidently set off again, heading, as instructed for Huddersfield.
An hour later, I tentatively asked RHB if her mother was prone to drinking this early in the day. The directions we'd been given bore as much connection to reality as if we had been issued some text from a science fiction novel 'Head for the Alpha Centauri, turn left just past Proxima Majoris, tuck into the slipstream of the nearest comet and our house, number 23, is first on the left'. We were in a small town called, I think, Milford. Or Milltown.
We decided to consult a map, so we pulled into a roadside garage. We found the big stack of roadmaps near a leaking coffee machine at the rear of the store, and furtively opened on, pretending we were considering a purchase. Quickly turing to the page representing where we thought we were, we memorised a route, based on our locationary estimates:
"Left out of the garage to the crossroads. Then, if we are here, it should be a right on the A63 to B2354. Turn left on the A56, then immediately right on the A65, across the roundabout then ten miles to the B6384. We should then pick up the A64, follow it round the reservoir and take the B....Well, I cant read what that last road says, but I'm sure it will be signposted. Got it".
Leaving RHB to purchase some of the worst coffee I had ever imbibed, I walked back to the car, repeating the directions under my breath to aid memory. At this point, it should be noted that, on occasions such as this - ie being completely and utterly lost due to one's own stupidity - between self and RHB, a characteristic emotional reaction occurs. It is not however, the reaction which we were surprised to later learn, a reaction that typifies most partnerships in similar situations. In short, the giggles had well and truly set in. Every wrong turn had increased, and exagerrated the previous mistakes, resulting in what I can only describe as hysterical giggling. At times, driving had become dangerous as tears streamed down my face blurring the vision, and I had concerns that RHB might suffer an asthma attack, or choke to death on a cup-cake. Telling her this made things worse, so her usefulness as a navigator was significantly decreased below her baseline level. While an excellent driver, RHB's navigational skills are compromised slightly due to an inability to identify, or name, certain terms essential to navigation, such as "left", "right", "up", "down", "South", "North" or "that way". Informational processing interruptions, such as giggling fits, that diminish that baseline level of ability do not improve matters.
Twenty minutes after leaving the garage, we were sitting at the base of a 200ft viaduct at the end of what had looked like a promising slip-road, admiring, between tears, the magnificent engineering ability that made such an edifice possible, while trying to work out from the shadows cast by it's arches which way was South. Of course such information is mostly useful if one actually knows where one is, in that the identification of where South actually is only helps if one has any degree of certainty whether one is, in truth, South of anything. We didnt, but emerging from the hills that backed the viaduct was a man walking a dog. I wound the window down.
"Excuse me" I breezily cried "Do you know where Glossop is?"
"That's in Derbyshire, isnt it?" he replied.
"Yeah" I answered, glad for his knowledge.
"This isnt Derbyshire" he helpfully noted before picking up another stick and throwing it for his dog.
As he walked away, we hit on a brilliant plan. We would go back to the garage, and purchase a map. So we reversed the car, and headed back to the garage. Map secured, we navigated the remaining hour to Glossop with a kind of ruthless efficiency, passing many familiar sights along the way. It was a shorter than planned visit, but Great Meg's soup, was, despite several reheatings, as fantastic as always.
Of course, other things have happened recently. Sue and Ethan visited which was lots of fun, RHB went to Barcelona and mostly enjoyed a holiday(an occasion in itself), I did a bit of paid work locally, but on the whole, life is quiet and routine. We risk as few journeys as possible, occasionally venturing outside to do some gardening, altthough I make sure I do not explore further than the back gate. We go to the gym. I work on my novel (honestly - most of you lot are in it). I am heading towards exams at the end of term, and write far too much about determinism. Summer is, for me, only six weeks off. I plan to do some exploring in the Wetsern Isles of Scotland on the Crosstowner. And a massive volcano has grounded all airtraffic over the UK. Over the last two days, life has, if anything, become quieter.