Friday, 6 July 2012

Rain, rain, rain

Precisely as forecast, it was raining this morning and it rained all day long until, finally, at about 8pm the tap was turned off and a faint glimpse of blue appeared in the sky.
I can think of worse places than Skipton to endure such a miserable British summer day. It's a likeable town; full of solid stone buildings that look so rooted into the land that you expect they'll last forever. The stonework has an honest, ingrained blackness about it too, like the dirt ground into a working man's hands. Contrast, if you please, with the scrubbed clean yellowness of the middle-class Cotswold stone villages down south!
Skipton is clearly focused on the tripper trade but though you can count the tea rooms and cake shops, it still has the feel of a 'proper' working town and not one that falls asleep when the last tourists of the season depart.
That said, it's having a tough time at the moment thanks (or rather no thanks) to the grim weather. We stopped for a beer at The Good Shepherd by the canal basin and the still surprisingly cheerful landlord and his wife told us about it all: the Jubilee weekend had been a washout, the Sheep Fair had been a washout and now it seems that Clogfest will probably be called off...and all because of the weather. Last Friday the pub was rammed but tonight we were the only customers.
But the granny-trip trade still seems to be thriving, rain or no rain. We watched the coaches disgorge their complements of grans (and the occasional grandpa) who headed straight into Bizzie Lizzie's fish and chip shop, then over to the big Pennine Cruises trip boat for a run down the canal. We must have counted five boatfulls of grannies pass by during the day while we hid from the rain.
At least we're not still in Sheffield, the New Junction Canal or the River Aire – all places where we've been in the last week or two and where flood alerts are now in force.
And the weather forecast for tomorrow is better. A bit better.

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