Today whilst O was digging for worms on Grandad’s allotment, I went on my own unearthing expedition to a nearby reclamation yard. Well…I say nearby. It was an hours drive away for most, a little more for me as my ability to remember, read or even listen to directions is dismal and thats with the help of Tom Tom. S and I arrived in North Yorkshire without this essential piece of equipment, the house having….you know, you’ve heard it before ….so I have been left with no choice but to reacquaint myself with the old fashioned way of getting about – signage and instinct.
Road signs, I’m discovering now that I’m forced to read them as opposed to obediently following a backlit screen, are pretty good at their job. With their help I have been able to get both to and from O’s grandparents and no, the return journey is not a given. To promote the longevity of this sense of accomplishment I’m choosing to ignore the fact that S has been driving me to both houses multiple times a year for the past six years.
With the sign reading in the bag its the ‘instinct’ bit which I find more regularly lets me down in that I am seemingly unable to picture where I am within a map of the UK. Is Thirsk North or South of where I need to be? To get home should I be headed towards Middlesbrough or away from it? On Monday, after doing really rather well all day, darkness fell and I managed to get lost actually in the village where I was headed as opposed to on the way to it. That aside, encouraged by my growing confidence I decided to brave the unknown and head out on an adventure to Thornaby. Once again, it was at the last hurdle I fell.
Drawing up within an industrial estate I decided to park and take a wander on foot. As I strode past mechanics and warehouses a sinking feeling came over me…I had been foolhardy and set out without even checking if the yard was still operating. Convinced I had wasted my time and depressed at the thought of having to retrace my steps so soon, I searched for someone I could ask. An overalled man emerging from one of the units looked the most promising.
“Excuse me. Do you know where the Architectural Salvage yard is?” I enquired
“Yes. It’s on this street. Somewhere. If its still open?”
“Hmmmmmm, architectural salvage….it could be…” He broke off whilst he considered that particular pairing of words before suggesting I could “try walking up the road…..” as if the suggestion might serve to turn the problem on its head in some way. I nodded my thanks as he shook his head again. “No, never heard of it”
I walked back to the car, irritated at my own schoolgirl error, and did what I should have done before setting out and rang the yard. A man picked up.
“Are you open?” I asked
“Yes, we are open” he replied
“Are you still based on Robert Street?”
“Yes, we are still in Robert Street.” he said
“I’m parked now in Robert Street. Where exactly are you?” By which of course, I meant yard. Not him specifically.
“I’m standing in the road” he replied.
I opened the car door. There he was, a few metres away, phone pressed to his ear. I got out.
“Hello” I said.
He gestured to the yard….or rather a big garage….and I wandered in. I think, though, I had already ignited the thought in his head that he had Seen Me Coming
Sheepish, I began my rummage. I found some lovely solid brass handles which I imagined might work for our utility and boiler cupboards …but the price didn’t. I found some coat hooks for the back of the door which he refused to sell to me as apparently they were reserved. I found a slate fireplace mantle almost identical to the one on our Dogs Dinner and discovered the marbling is just a paint effect on the slate and not an insert at all. Armed with this knowledge I feel it might not be a crime to paint over the marbling effect to match the mantlepiece in which case that’s one element of the colour cacophony toned down. (Fireplace gods may well strike me down but then they don’t have to live with it.) And there were some fabulous benches but alas, too low to be adapted for our banquette idea. So I left empty handed, by that point cold and a fraction disappointed. The Finance Director, on the other hand, breathed a sigh of relief.
Back at the house, my mother in law suggested I have another rummage but this time in her garage. Hidden under mountains of cardboard boxes awaiting a trip to the skip and guarded by a concrete sheep…in fact I’m told there’s a small menagerie in there somewhere…was a wooden table. Plain topped, sturdy legged, simple and functional it could well suit us and I texted S a picture. He will need to view in person, came the reply. Thankfully escorting him on the viewing to the most exciting of the two garages will not require navigation skills of any sort.