I must apologize in advance. My phone is a little bit worse for wear, and thus, I have issues with my camera, which likes to decide not to work for a few days at a time. When I set out on today’s journey, my camera is working (as you will see), though somewhere along the way it decided to stop. So my absolute apologies for the lack of photography.
Today we had a destination, we had an objective. My co-pilot, who will probably soon be named pilot, needed to pick up a car that he had bought in Leeds. Our goal was to be on our way by 7, but due alarms not going off, dryers not doing their jobs, and dogs doing dog stuff such as eating candles, it was a delayed start for all parties involved.
I’ve been to Leeds once, I think. I know I’ve definitely been to Yorkshire, I just can’t remember if it was York or Leeds that I went to, as it was over ten years ago. I’ve been eager to check it out again, or really anywhere in the east simply due to my own eastard lack of experience. I’m from the west coast and have never traveled to the east coast of the US, and really, for the most part, have never really been to AN east coast at all (aside from a 12 hour stint to Dublin a few years ago that was mostly spent on the ferry).
When we did set off, we made a pit stop on the side of the road to sort out my drivers side window, which likes to roll itself down half a center meter–just enough to make an annoying noise in my ear, and won’t roll back up again. During that time, I thought I might take the opportunity to highlight the Welsh country side while my co-pilot had a smoke.
These were taken just outside of Betws-y-Coed, and destination for hikers and cyclists. I hadn’t ever been until a couple months ago, despite having been in in the area so often. It’s a beautiful village, one that I look forward to exploring further for its hikes once the weather lightens up.
We were off again, after having put a fiver in the ga–the petrol tank–to Llandudno junction so that we could get cheaper fuel. Unfortunately, once we arrived, we discovered a hitch in our plans: my funnel portion of my gas tank had completely detached and I was spraying fuel everywhere when I tried to fill up! Thankfully, my co-pilot is a jack of all trades, and does well keeping things running. So he was able to fix it, after we went to a B&Q (which is kind of a Lowe’s or Home Depot) and a Halfords (a car store thing). He said it’s just a temporary job, but it’ll hold for a while at least.
This put is back another hour or so. Nevertheless! We set off, again, to get his car sorted.
I knew we had reached Yorkshire when my sentence, whatever it had been, was interrupted with a bellowing of “Yorkshire! We’re in Yorkshire!”
“Oh?” I sputtered, indignant that I had been interrupted, but aware that I probably would have don the same thing had I been on my way home and entered into Whatcom County.
“Yep, the rocks are better. Can’t you see?”
“Yeah, they’re good better,” he replied.
“Is that a Yorkshire styled sentence?”
“Nope, that’s me just messing up English.”
Often times, since he is a Yorkshireman, we get into debates about how words are pronounced, spelled, and how sentences are structured. From my observation of his slung linguistic skills, many words are completely dumped from a sentence altogether, leaving only nouns and some verbs. My favorite example (which I have heard in general conversation as well as on television) is, “Go’n’ up road t’pub.”
Apparently, there is no need for pronouns (I), leading verbs (am) to the gerund, or articles (the x 2)–or even full pronunciation of the gerund (going) or the preposition (to)!
However, I have it completely wrong. “The” is absolutely there, but it is silent as the word “road” is said, but you can hear it in the breath before the word is sounded (goes the argument).
Discussions along these lines was why I needed clarification as to his exclamation about rocks above. He went on to tell me about how the moors and trees are better, the valleys are better, the dales are better, and the lakes are all better in Yorkshire.
I’m still trying to figure out why someone who is so loyal and in love with Yorkshire lives in Wales, but Wales certainly has some phenomenal qualities as well.
Eventually we found our was through a suburb of Leeds (which I guess are called towns within Leeds?) whose name I’ve already forgotten, and to the tiny little blue car that is shockingly smaller than my own car (I truly did not think that was possible). He had to run and errand, and so he went off, with me following, to find somewhere for me to sit while he erranded.
As my co-pilot led me through the winding estates and neighborhoods, we came to a peak of a hill which, as hills are want to do, sloped downward, towards Leeds City Center. I saw for the first, clear memory of time Leeds, with it’s tall buildings and grayness. And for a moment, I felt my heart absolutely swell as I felt a feeling of home–not because Leeds seems to be the place for me, but rather because I instantly thought of Seattle. I had a pang of longing for home, for familiar, for even Seattle which has never been my favorite place to be. But there it was, in that moment. All I wanted to do was go into the city center, to explore, see what there was to see, talk to who was available to talk to, observe, and simply be.
However, my co-pilot turned pilot was having car troubles. As it turns out, his new ride was smaller than mine, and he’s about twice my size. His feet struggle to distinguish between peddles, which causes him to stall at each stoplight, and so I was denied the opportunity to go into the city…for any extended length of time that is. In the end, I was able to convince him to at least drive me along the edges, which he did. I saw nothing that negated my reminder of Seattle.
Eventually we made our way to Bradford, me following behind now-pilot as we went off in search for pho. Spoiler alert, we didn’t come across any. However, I did observe some interesting things as we made our way, unsure where we were going, only that I was following the tiny blue car in front of me.
I noticed a sign which read “No Street Lights from midnight-5:30”, and wondered what it was the prompted such a decision on the local council. Was it due to being energy efficient? Was it a result of saving money? Or was it actually just that lifeless between those hours that it wasn’t worth having them on? I pondered the crime rate in that area during that time. Did crime go up? Was it a dangerous area to begin with? I wondered about those who lived in the area, who were pedestrians, and how they scheduled their evenings. Did they scurry home before midnight to ensure they had a lit and safe path? What was their reality like?
This is something I often ponder when I go to places I’m not familiar with. I see people making their way to work, to shops, walking their dogs, while I wander around, drive around uncertain of my direction. These people have a reality set in a location that I can’t even understand why which road does what. They know the streets, they know their neighbors, they know the accents, the local linguistics, the local problems. They know what shop is going out of business and to be knocked down for the next. They know that it’s cheaper to go across town to the petrol station rather than the one closest to the east side.
I question how different their realities are, and how it is that I’m not a part of their reality. Not that I’m narcissistic and think that I should be involved in everyone’s lives, but rather that my brain can’t comprehend a reality in which I don’t know the things that they know. Their world is outside my realm of understanding simply because I have never set foot in their town.
It’s an interesting thing to ponder, and a difficult thing to put into words. But this is why I travel. I want to expand that realm of understanding, of consciousness, so that I can come to new understandings of the world.