I love York. There are probably other beautiful places in the UK which are equally as lovely, but when you‘re lucky enough to live in one, you often forget just how lovely they are, especially if (like me) you actually spend more time away from home than you do enjoying the place. However, as I’m sure those in other such beautiful locations will appreciate, living somewhere so appealing has its downsides. Whilst appealing as somewhere to live, it’s also appealing as somewhere to visit. Yes I’m talking about the species that is, the tourist.
Why is it, that when you ‘visit’ somewhere, you lose the ability to consider those around you, when walking down a busy street? This happens in York a lot. Today, I walked down Coney Street (York’s main drag) and struggled to withhold my laughter at the ‘You’ve been framed’ style event which unfolded before me. I’m following Yorkie, a local-looking chap, who seems to be in a bit of a hurry to get from one end of Coney Street to the other. In front of Yorkie are Rob and Freda. About 60-odd, they’ve been to York a few times now and they just love it. They did the Minster and the Jorvik Viking Museum on their first visit, and have since clocked up various other attractions including the York Dungeon, Railway Museum and that famous pub which always floods. But they love York because every time they come here, they see something new. Unfortunately for Yorkie today, without any warning, Rob and Freda just stop suddenly. This is unfortunate, but Yorkie’s not daft; this is why Coney Street is like playing British Bulldog at times! So Yorkie is alert to the risk and takes evasive action to the left. However, Freda has noticed something (questionably) interesting on the façade of WHSmiths, and as she raises her left arm to point it out to Rob, Yorkie gets a face-full and is taken out like a WWF pro. Yours truly (luckily) diverted right and thus missed the pileup evolving in front of me, and the only evasive action I had to take, was to dive into WHSmiths, pick up a copy of Hello magazine and hide my laughter from Rob and Freda. Classic – not uncommon, but classic.
Then there’s Kai and To. Collectively known as Kato, these guys are on a grand tour of the UK from Japan, and therefore have the single objective of photographing everything they can. By the time they’ve waited for everyone to walk past between photographer & subject, extracted their brand spanking new camera out of a case larger than Ryanair’s in-flight luggage allowance, fiddled with all the settings on their piece of technological wizardry, drunk the coffee it made them in the process and finally prepared their shot, the photogenic pigeon was flown off, and they go running round the corner trying to find it again.
And the Americans. Strangely recognisable (perhaps the long shorts, white socks and bright white trainers give it away?) they’re generally heading for the cathedral. At this point, I will (as I always do) point out – IT’S A MINSTER! OK, so as Charlie pointed out to me last year, a Minster is a type of cathedral, but it’s a name which is earned for ecclesiastical status and therefore deserves to be used. It’s like calling Lord Sugar, Alan; or calling a judge by their first name in court – yes, those are the names with which they were christened, but they’ve earned the right to have a title, so why not use it?! This is clearly a pet hate of mine! It’s right up there with post-it notes and bagpipes for Room 101 submissions!
Then there’s the wannabe Yorkies who, when they visit, try and go native. Rather than seeing the sights, they do the shopping, grab the opportunity to go to the opticians, or buy their lottery tickets. Of course, these are all things they could easily do at home, but they don’t, because they don’t have time, they’re always off visiting places, like York, to do the lottery… confusing?
Ttfn /R xx