While Jess performed her daily duty as a wage slave, I continued my almost daily explorations of the small city of my birth. The spring in particular was a lovely time, if you could utilise the brief window in time before tourists overwhelm our narrow streets and snickleways, with names like Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, The Shambles and Mad Alice Lane.
I always seemed to end-up in the compact and delightful garden of the Treasurer’s House, which was free to go into, unlike the house itself, unless going to the cafe in the haunted basement. There are few better places outdoors to munch on a large pasty or substantial baguette filled with real Yorkshire ham.
I like to watch other visitors, so long as they don’t come to close, because some are lovely young women, or so they seem on the surface. Just because you’re in a genuine love relationship doesn’t mean you can ignore female beauty, it would be an uncomfortable denial of the reproductive impulses we all share.
Yet it’s also good to have a non-human experience of pure solitude, when you’re the only soul amidst all the plants and crumbling stonework. The massive east end of the Minster looms so very close, and often concealed behind scaffolding and plastic covers.
Sometimes the fountain is working, and the sound of water gently falling into the pool of colourful fish can allow you to imagine it’s a Japanese Zen garden, where it’s possible to exist in an exalted state removed from shadows of the past or worries about the future.
‘Are you a local ?’ an American woman asked.
‘No, but it’s a lovely place’ I replied.
‘You sound like you might be from here.’
‘I’ve always had the unconscious ability to adopt the accent of any place I visit, unless it’s abroad.’
‘Not really, it only brings confusion in my conversations with others.’
‘I suppose it would.’
‘Where are you from ?’
‘I’m sorry to hear that.’
‘I’ve been told it has no centre, no heart.’
‘That’s not entirely true.’
‘Don’t be offended. Anyway how are you enjoying old York ?’
‘It’s wonderful ! And the weather is great.’
‘Just like L.A. then, but with an ancient heart.’