Friday, 3 April 2020

3rd April 2020

Back in early 2012 I was still mainly working from hotels.  In April I ventured to Carlisle in Cumbria.  "It's going to be lovely," I thought, "an old Roman city in the lovely Lake District."  I imagined something like York or Chester plonked in the beautiful Lakes area.  I was... not correct in that assumption.

The Hallmark hotel I stayed in near the railway station was lovely, actually - full of old charm.  I saw some very nice gentlemen during my brief 'working' visit, then on the last day before heading home decided to wander and enjoy the town rather than just seeing the inside of the hotel bedroom.

I had a look around the beautiful Cathedral area, then wandered up to the Roman Castle, which was probably a bit more interesting back in the day (ie. the Roman day).  Once back in the town square there was a very pretty little tourist information place, and needing some advice on where to eat I decided they could probably help.  I wandered in.  The shelves were full of dusty old tourist information leaflets, possibly from 1974.

"Can I help you?" asked the tiny bird-like old lady behind the counter.  "Yes," I replied, "I'm looking for a vegetarian restaurant."

She looked perplexed.  "Vegetarian restaurant?  We don't have have anything like that up here!" she replied, sounding quite put-out by the query that a city might, just might, have something that could serve a meal without meat.

"Oh," I said, "OK, I'll just have a wander and look around," heading for the door.

"Wait a minute!" she suddenly exclaimed.  She dusted down an old map of the city centre and took out her biro.  "We're here," she said, marking a big 'X' on the site of the tourist information centre.  "If you step out of the door and turn left, then head down past the back of the centre..." she advised, drawing a shaky line of ink on the map in the direction she was describing, "leave the Square and head down this road.  Turn right here, then walk down this street about a hundred yards or so... then take a left."  The squigly line continued its path on the map.  "About twenty yards down you'll get here."  She marked another 'X' on the map.

"Lovely," I said, appreciating the time she'd taken.  "Is that a vegetarian restaurant?"

"No," she replied, "it used to be but it closed a year ago."  She handed me the map like she was passing over one of the forgotten Dead Sea Scrolls.  I backed slowly out of the Tourist Centre, thinking either 1) she was a possibly a little bit crazy, or 2) I was on some strange reality TV programme/comedy.

She was right, though... it had closed.

Another thing I remember is heading to Cafe Nero in the Square once I'd realised Carlisle wasn't really York in the Lake District and there wasn't really a lot to see.  I sat outside, enjoying the sunshine.  A young lad belted past on his bike... and slammed straight into a tall tree sapling that was growing in the Square.  His bike went one way whilst his own progress was halted suddenly by the tree, landing heavily on the concrete slabs of the Square.

A man on the table next to me jumped up and ran quickly over.  "At least he's going to see if the lad's alright," I thought.

He ran over to the lad, looked down at the poor chap, bloodied and bruised from the impact with the tree. "YOU STUPID CUNT!" he bellowed, then calmly walked back to Cafe Nero to finish his coffee.

That was Carlisle.

This was the Square, with the pretty-in-pink-but-not-very-useful Information Centre.

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And this was me - fetish Leather Lady, ready for one of my gentlemen visitors.

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