Helmsley

We had originally been meeting Big Dave and Joan, but not surprisingly perhaps, they gave backward at the last moment, leaving us wondering how we would get on with strangers for a weekend.  We needn’t have worried.  BD&J’s absence threw us into it.  Chris still didn’t want to come but recognised he couldn’t be left at home.

Friday.  Journeyed, arrived and set up.  Wasn’t too painful.  Went shopping.  Super butcher on the bridge at Helmsley – just about to shut up for the night, nothing in the window, had to keep going into the back for the meat, even had to ring up somewhere for a quarter of sliced ham.  BBQ’ed in the rain, under an umbrella.  Went for a drink at a very flashy restaurant in Harome and met some of the other weekenders (Greg and new partner, Angela who was camping, Jenny and Sam in their Carlight caravan).  Back at the site, the car alarm kept going off and Sheila was awake all night.

Saturday.  Found a dog walk behind an a Saxon church in the next village.  Late for golf at Ampleforth College GC. – we went to Ampleforth, bad idea, you have to go to Gilling, obvious really.  I’m not really wanting to play, but manage to get something going and enjoy the surroundings.  We skirt the college, particularly a cricket square and a rugby pitch.  Good looking but possibly not used.  Nets as well.  Surrounded by trees.  A pavilion (one side home and away changing rooms facing the rugby, the other a veranda facing the cricket), decaying and overgrown, doors in disrepair, nets needed tidying up, long grass on the square.  And a long view, designed that way, of the college.  An avenue in the trees.  The groundsman tells us off for playing with one bag and fetches the tattiest looking one imaginable.

We stop for lunch after the first nine holes (nine hole course).  They run out of chips and eventually food.  Opposite the course carpark, they are having a model railway open day.  Large scale, outside.  Porky middle aged men in boiler suits and peaked hats.  Wives making teas and sitting around in deck chairs.  Campervans and caravans – they’re making a weekend of it.  One of them is grumpy because his turn wasn’t long enough.  Impressive models.  Complete with tape recordings of train noise.  Bill swore there was a tape of mooing in a cattle truck.  Will and Sara (veggie) get their lunch here – made fresh, doing well since the pub failed.

Sheila omits the afternoon session.  Chris does well.  Consistently under 100.  Later goes round on his own.  Sun breaks out.  Will and Sara are camping and give me a lift home.  Stories of campervan holidays in New Zealand.  I have to go back for Chris who is now glad he came.  An evening meal in Wass.  A tad expensive.  Jenny does the bill.  I don’t know what went wrong, but they were £60 out.  Got it sorted eventually, but there must be a better way.  We sat with Alan Priestley, golf organiser, and family.  Wife, daughter and boyfriend who looked like Chris de Berg with Sidebottom’s hair.  Jeweller and landscape gardener from Kirkheaton but now residing in Jackson Bridge.

Sunday. Another dog walk and we get the papers in Kirkby Moorside and ring mum.  Sam and Jenny go to Scarborough to meet friends they met in Spain.  Sam has told us several times how they have sold up, bought the Carlight and intend to spend every winter in Spain and summer touring Europe.  Great idea if you only hear it once.  They live in Shepley.

The site is mostly trees and the sun struggles to get through.  Its noisy with wood pigeons and very crowded.  He couldn’t have got anyone else in.  The fields for camping were far better.

We play cricket in the afternoon at Duncombe Park CC.  Marc is captain.  Lovely ground, great facilities.  They bat and get 226.  They have an Australian playing, who looks the biz.  Keeps their opener company for a while.  Few chances but some playing and missing.  Alan has one over and goes for some sort of boundary every ball.  A young hitter has come in.  Chris has three very respectable overs.  Simon takes the wickets.

I open with Will.  The Australian is off line and length and we make a good start. I nurdle and defend the quick at the other end.  Lots of sundries and we do 100 opening partnership, great.  I need to get on and get out.  In comes Simon, all-Italian, born in Milan, youth international.  Will runs himself out on 97.  He’d no idea he was so close.  Chris gets one, and then pushes at a short pitched delivery which dollies back to the bowler (someone said he was Maori).  He’s disappointed and thinks being clapped in is taking the piss.  Greg and Dave bring him round.  Dave goes in and then out to one that didn’t bounce.  He’s very angry and shouts at the bowler from the boundary when he delivers a long hop which Simon swats for four.  ‘You didn’t bowl like that at me.’  Chris sees this and knows he’s not the only one who’s disappointed.

I talk tactics with Greg.  Do I keep in nurdling or get out so the hitters can have a go?  When you’re in best to keep going, a new batsman is going to slow things up as he gets in.

Despite Simon’s efforts, we’re twenty or so short.  Tom Rocket is watching – where did he come from?

Few beers.  Chris is better and talks with Chris de Berg (Kim) who fielded for us.  Rupert didn’t turn up, apparently ill in bed and couldn’t get through to any of us.  Scrabbled.  It can be nice living in one room.

Monday was about fetching mum and packing up.

And I didn’t take a camera.

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