Friday, 3 January 2014

York and Leeds

Just before leaving Wakefield for London, we had the mother of all issues with the emergency disabled alarm cord in Nathan's flat. Essentially, and I should add, only by mistake, I pulled the damned thing. More specifically, I lent against the bed that it was draped across and the thing was somehow activated. Obviously, this is only something which could happen to me.

The alarms went off - almost everywhere in the building; a nasty, high-pitched wail. I waited patiently for the obligatory "are you alright, Mrs Jones" telephone call, but nothing came. The alarms just kept ringing...

I ran into the hall way, and in a panic pressed a "call for assistance" button, which set a whole new alarm off... And still no one came.

Here's the issue I have: If you're going to fit state-of-the-art spac-cess into a building, you HAVE to have a procedure in place which is triggered when a disabled or elderly person pulls the blinking cord! Otherwise someone lies in a pool of their own vomit all night whilst a screaming alarm rips their ears to shreds! Insult upon misery.

In the end I found an emergency out-of-hours help number on some kind of inventory in the flat's kitchen, and a rather lovely lady let me know where the reset button could be found. I hit the button and the noise stopped as soon as it had begun. ...And breathe (or actually, run like the blinkin' wind to the train station to make the train with seconds to spare!)

The rest of the day was just lovely. The sun shone all day. It apparently rained almost everywhere else in the country. I drove Cindy to Leeds first thing in the morning. I had a radio interview with the BBC to publicise the Yorkshire auditions for Brass. I'll consider myself to have failed entirely if a good percentage of the eventual cast aren't genuine Northerners.

The chat went well, and I hope it will have generated a few enquiries from young people in Yorkshire.

From Leeds, we drove to York. I wanted to show Cindy the city which has probably meant more to me over the years than any other.

The nostalgia tour started in Ambrose Terrace, one of the many little Victorian streets which meander down to the River Ouse. It's where I once lived, in a corner house, in a little stables complex. My best friend, Pete and I, for three years running, wrote our initials in tippex on the bottom brick of the back wall of the house. Twenty years on, the three sets of initials are as clear as they ever were. Twenty years of rain and wind and broken guttering... And yet the letters are still white as snow. As I get older, the sight becomes more moving.

We parked up near Micklegate and walked along the city walls towards the minster. We fed squirrels in Museum Gardens, drank tea Cafe Concerto, shopped for antiques on Stonegate, ate proper Yorkshire chips, and climbed to the top of Clifford's Tower to look down upon a sun-drenched city.

I did a second, and rather lengthy interview with Radio York about Brass. The presenter reminded me that the last time he'd interviewed me, I'd just had vocal surgery, and was holding up a white board with written responses to his questions! That was the night that a Symphony for Yorkshire won three Royal Television Society Awards. Not the best time to be unable to speak!

We returned to Wakefield by car and sat for a while in Subway before heading back to the flat, where the incident with the disabled wire happened, and that, as they say, was that! A perfect day. I feel very much alive, tired, but stress-free.

Tomorrow, I head to Bristol...

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