Y is for…

Y is difficult.

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The Vet points the way…

I thought ‘Yellowstone’ but having done Jackson earlier I’ve touched on that part of the world. We loved Yellowstone in truth, spending an unconscionable amount of time watching an American eagle feed its young, precariously perched high on a cliff across a valley.

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You’d have difficulty matching this

We marvelled with everyone else at how nature does gaudy in ways man fumbles to emulate. We sat enthralled, watching our watches and with half an eye on the auditorium that is Old Faithful.

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And this… she wanted to hold her nose, when I said hold a pose…

There is something supremely ironic how we talk about the randomness of the natural world yet we have erected an arena around a natural phenomena with the confidence that only arrogant man can exude that the geyser will always spurt in time for the next show. It’s rather as if someone conceived the notion of training thunderstorms to provide the timpani accompaniment to Stockhausen and then booked a world tour.

Or maybe  Yeovilton, a nothing sort of place in the West of England where I once went to an air museum – this back in the early 1970s – and saw a Spitfire up close and personal. Throughout my boyhood the Spitfire was revered as much as the fighter pilots who flew it in the battle of Britain in 1940. Part of the film ‘Reach for the Skies’ about a wartime ace was filmed at the green near my primary school; a Spitfire stood, tantalisingly out of reach at the top of the drive at Kenley Aerodrome, still an active RAF base in the 1960s so barred to small boys even one as inquisitive as me. I so wanted to see, to reach out to a Spitfire. It was, to this small excitable child a hero figure –  like Churchill – of Odysseusian proportions. It had to be covered in magic dust, to glow in the dark, to throb with knowing. I was largely disappointed at the utilitarian colour, the bent panelling, the clumsy rivets. ‘This saved us from defeat?’ though a small boy. Frankly I didn’t see how.

Or Yarmouth, a grubby holiday resort on the east coast of East Anglia, about as far East a you can go without speaking Norwegian.


Me and the North sea – even Yarmouth is more appealing than that.

When I first stayed at the Textiliste’s home, just outside Norwich, we spent a day in Yarmouth at the funfair and on the beach. Mostly it was a a respite from the Inquisition at her home as her parents tested my resolve. Like Margate and Scarborough there is something deliciously seedy about coastal fun parks that are dotted up the East coast of England. It is as if Graeme Greene scripted their exitisience with minor hoodlums glowering behind the candy floss stands.

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Me, Yarmouth, Ice cream… now where has she gone?

Every young man should take his girlfriend there at some point as a test of their relationship. As Kipling didn’t say: If you can find fun amongst the tawdry tat, and still enjoy an ice cream made from processed fat, then all the world will be yours, my son.

Or perhaps Yoxford. A strip of a town on the A12 in Suffolk that we drive through on our way to our place in Blythburgh near the Suffolk/Norfolk border. I would have described it as ‘mostly harmless’ with a neat line in Town signs, save it was where I was pinged for speeding – 37 mph in  30 zone.

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Some street art just sums up one’s motoring frustrations..

To avoid the dreaded ‘Points on the licence’ I elected to take a speed awareness course. In and of itself the course was interesting, informative and unexceptional. What was memorable was the evidence that we are One Nation. We all breathe and speed, apparently. Of the 50 or so people in the room, there were representatives of all major racial groups, every sexuality, at least five of the seven major world religions, ages ranging from the minimum of 25 up to a couple of Methuselah lookalikes. And from the accents and muttered languages I’d guess the number of birth nations in the room covered at least a tenth of those signed up at the UN.

But eventually it was obvious. Y is for York, a city to the north east with a deep history. Interestingly Noelle Granger, whose A to Z is here, has picked York in Maine with an equally compelling story to tell.

Do visit York if only for the Minster, a wondrous act of faith, both ecumenically and architecturally. Or the perfectly named medieval shopping streets of the Shambles – imagine a sixteenth century brand consultant helping devise a name for the new retail area outside the Catherdal. ‘We toyed with The Hopeless, and the Minor Disaster but in the end we settled on Shambles. More homely.’

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One of the quilts, made by prisoners: a full sized representation of their cell

Currently too the National Quilt Museum is hosting an exhibition curated by the Textiliste. Here. It only goes on until May 9th so hurry hurry. And after stop at Betty’s for afternoon tea. Trust me. It’s excellent.


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in A to Z blogging challenge, miscellany and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Y is for…

  1. noelleg44 says:

    Thanks for the mention! Could you do a whole post on York I’d love it…what a city!
    I, too, was fascinated as a child with the planes used in WWII. It was over by the time I was born, but the fighters were still much on people’s minds and I had pictures of them in my room (go figure – I’s a girl!). The ones I saw up close and personal were NOT what I had imagined from the pictures but I got to talk to F3 and F4 pilots when my son was little and we were watching takeoffs and landings at a base on Cape Cod – it’s clear the pilots are what made those planes so great!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yvonne says:

    I’m doing better with this one than I did with X. I’ve been to 2 of these places (and both of them twice.) York is beautiful. I think we went to Betty’s but it’s a blur. I remember a lovely vegetarian restaurant though. As well as the Minster and walking the walls, we had the delight of the railway museum with our kids then 3 and 4 years old. (Yes girls can be train obsessed especially if encouraged by their dad!)
    And Yeovilton – well I’m married to a pilot so you know why we went there. Twice. The first time was pre-kids and it was interesting… sort of. The second time… well maybe if I hadn’t already been dragged round all those railway museums…
    Now, after looking at your photos, I am putting Yellowstone on my list of longings…

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Yellowstone is extraordinary; try and go off season though as it does get a tad crowded. If I had the courage to drive a motorised housing estate we would have taken a RV but I’m uncomfortable in an estate so something that has the turning circle of Mars was beyond me. It did seem the best way to see things though


  3. roweeee says:

    Great post. I love how much you’ve traveled and hope to be as well travelled myself, although lately I’ve been revisiting places and having more of the indepth experience. Lady has been doing her own bit of travelling. She noticed that my son’s door was slightly ajar and snuck there, no doubt wanting to spend the night undetected. It’s getting a bit chilly out and although they each have a kennel, Lady has ignored hers and tends to take over Bilbo’s. Anyway, that’s an aside.
    I’ve done”You” as my Y inviting people to share their blogs so pop along and blow your trumpet.
    Was intending to do Tarongo Zoo for tomorrow but the way I’m feeling now, it could be ZZZZ!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 says:

    A plethora of Y’s ! All very interesting! Thanks for the journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Archaeologist says:

    My favourite quotation about medieval architecture concerns York. During restoration work about forty years ago it was discovered that one wall of the tower, the largest Norman tower in Europe, had been built with no foundations. The Clerk of Works commented;
    “It was built 900 years ago as an Act of Faith – and that is all that is holding it up.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sacha Black says:

    I think you have been everywhere! Can’t wait to see what you do tomorrow!

    Ooh that quilt is amazing I have absolutely no idea how you would do that!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ula says:

    I love that picture of you at the sea.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Charli Mills says:

    So true — “we have erected an arena around a natural phenomena.” Yellowstone is a trained monkey that will surprise us one day. I won’t be around to tell you when it happens, but do remember me and think, “Ah, Charli went down with the erupting monkey that was Yellowstone.” As to quoting what Kipling “didn’t” say — clever. I had to re-read (he said “what”?). Your wife’s project with the prisoners continues to amaze me. If Yellowstone could blast me unharmed across the Atlantic, I’d go see it in person.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Rachel M says:

    I love York but where are the pics!? I want pics of the Shambles and the Minster 🙂 We lived there for 6 months in 2013 and I loved every minute of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Rachel, you found my weakness; for the life of me I couldn’t find them and I was damned if I was nabbing someone else’s so sorry. You will have to go back! And lucky you to live there. My niece was at Uni there for four years and a once a term visit was not a chore!


  10. Autism Mom says:

    Y is for “yes, York is on the itinerary!” Love that city and am looking forward to seeing it again. Great post – love the diversit-y! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The street art on that sign is hilarious! 😀

    So, weird that I’ve been to York but never Yellowstone. York is one of my favorite places in England. It’s gorgeous and majestic yet charming and lovely. I love it. Definitely worthy of an entire post.

    Liked by 1 person

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