Debbish does England – 41 hours to Harrogate

Friday, July 21, 2023 Permalink

** I found this post wallowing in my drafts folder, written on arrival in Harrogate for the Theakston Crime Writing Festival, so I’m belatedly posting it. **

I’m not exactly sure why I kept calculating the hours. Perhaps I thought I was on track for some sort of Guinness Book of Records award for number-of-hours-awake or something. Of course it’s most likely I was just feeling sorry for myself and wanted to make sure I could accurately document the travails of travel here on my site. And yes, please take a moment to acknowledge my hardship. (#firstworldproblems and all of that)

Anyway, though it’d been just under five years since my last overseas trip, it was mostly like riding a bike. Just a really big one in the air that you have no control over. Either way, after a rainy trip to the airport in Australia, a flight to Singapore, seven plus hours in transit (albeit in the Qantas Club), then a delayed 14hr flight to London, an underground train trip to Kings Cross that I erroneously thought was the same Kings Cross station that my train from York left from (but wasn’t and resulted in a mad dash at the last minute), a connection from York to Harrogate and 6 pound taxi ride from the Harrogate train station, I was here.

I couldn’t get into my room straight away but was relieved to be free to movement so lolled about over a glass of Prosecco until I could lie down.

41 hours to harrogate

The hotel I’m staying at in Harrogate is lovely. I’m yet to work out how to adjust the heat part of the shower setting and have opened windows as there’s no air-conditioning but I was extremely relieved to arrive. I avoided going straight to bed but by 5pm or so England time decided to have a nap. And kept napping. Then I took some sleeping tablets and napped some more. After 10ish hours of napping I felt sufficiently human and was up early for a wander to see Harrogate before it got hot and touristy. Nothing was of course open at 6am but I did find a Tesco Express to get some Diet Coke (wine, water, chips and chocolate) was back in my hotel room by 7am.

When I later ventured out again – mid-late morning it was far busier but I made myself wander about, checking out the venue for the crime-writing festival, some local attractions such as the famous Betty’s Tearooms. Yesterday afternoon (and most afternoons) the queue for afternoon tea curled around the block. I’m not sure why morning tea or brunch isn’t as alluring but there was no queue so I wandered in. As a coeliac nothing gluten-free really jumped out of the takeaway section so I continued my wandering instead.

This afternoon the registration desk opens at the writing festival and I’m also attending a ‘freshers’ event for first-timers as well as the launch party which starts at 8pm. I feel a bit too old to go to something that starts at 8pm though was awake at that time last night and noticed it was still light out.

Launch party ready

I’ve been chatting to a stack of people on social media about the festival so hoping I’m able to sidle up to others and join in conversations and the fun and frivolity.

** As I’m posting this over two months after I wrote it, I’m closing comments. **

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