I’m away this weekend on a reunion, staying at Nidd Hall Hotel, near Harrogate. Nidd Hall is a Grade II listed building with large gardens and a fishing lake. Many years ago, I went on a daytrip to the fabulous Turkish Baths in Harrogate. Dating back to 1897, it is full working order and historically complete: islamic arches, tiled brickwork, terrazzo flooring.
That outing was organised by Spice UK where Spice stands for ‘Special Programme of Interest, Challenge and Excitement’. Spice was started in the ‘80s on a part-time basis by Dave Smith, a police officer who held a sky-diving qualification. It grew into a national franchise organisation and still exists.
New to Manchester, I met lots of people at the social events, made friends and tried things I wouldn’t have done otherwise: abseiling, rock climbing, motorcycling, Formula Ford at Aintree. Here is a poem about one of those events. It’s from my first collection Another life. I hope you’re having a good weekend yourself!
From Grassington, June
for Dave Smith
We had been following the Roman road:
Rita who was almost 80,
her bearded son, clutching champagne,
the pale daughter-in-law, and me
still gripping the metal frame.
Our shadow floated ahead of us,
scaring sheep and deer into running
towards the orange early evening.
The only sound creaking wicker
and the hissing of gas
We ducked as we rushed over
telephone lines, fences, tree tops.
The Land Rover – still keeping up –
with the bottle of whisky to placate
the farmer on whose field we hoped to land.