I’m not lost, I’m adventuring…

I’m a meandering kind of adventurer; less Bear Grylles and more Winnie the Pooh.

During a recent work trip in the UK, a day off appeared and it was time to go adventuring.  The waiter at breakfast overheard me tell a colleague I might visit Ilkley.  She approached me across the pastries and fruit to suggest Haworth would be better; she said it was her village and it was nicer than Ilkley.

She wrote down the directions.  It all seemed clear enough:  ‘Catch the train to Keighley.  Walk up the high street and at the L bus stop, catch the bus to Haworth.  Smiley face.’

I’m a sucker for a well-drawn smiley face, so I changed plans and ventured forth to Haworth (Bronte sisters country).

I boldly caught the train.  Once at Keighley I confidently strode up the platform.  The High Street, I was certain, would be proud and obvious.  The L Bus Stop would have a bright, clear sign.

It wasn’t, and it didn’t.

The station was on a busy road with several offshoots.  I glanced in all directions and decided – with no evidence – that turning right seemed like A Good Idea.  Surely that way lay L Bus Stop.

It did not.  I found a bus stop which said ‘M’, so I assumed I was close but I was venturing further into a part of Keighley which was clearly not central.

I purposefully turned and headed back toward the railway station.

I was a bold, fearless adventurer.  I was not lost, I was merely exploring options.

Thirty minutes later I’d passed the train station, turned up a busy-ish road, discovered no L Bus Stop, turned back, and eventually found another bus stop marked ‘M’.  There were many ‘M’s, but not an L to be found.

I don’t normally do Asking For Directions, but I was nearly 2 hours into a journey which should have taken me 45 minutes.  I got on the next bus and – assuming the pronunciation was phonetic (not my first mistake for the day) – asked the driver how to get to Haworth.  He looked at me blankly.   I repeated slower and firmly, “Hay-worth”.  Silence.  “Hayworth?” with a question in my voice.   No response.  I dug out of my pocket the wrinkled paper with smiley-faced-directions and handed it to him.  His face showed recognition and slight frustration, “Oh…Howith.

He gave me  a list of directions in rapid succession, nodded me out of his bus, and drove off.

I stood bemused and befuddled (very Pooh-esque), staring at the departing bus.  A kind and mildly amused gentleman, who was getting off the bus during my conversation with the driver, repeated the instructions and pointed out landmarks which would help me know I was getting close.

Victory was mine.

I reached the elusive L Bus Stop and, 20 minutes later, Haworth.

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The country lanes inspired thoughts of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice (I know I was in Yorkshire and P&P was set in the south, but details like that have no place in imaginings).

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The moors were moody, the cemetery evocative and the whole vibe took me back to being an angst-filled teenager dreaming of Heathcliffe.

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Also, I had flashes of Kate Bush’s dancing in her Wuthering Heights song.

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It was a perfect day of being a 21st century adventurer(ish), dreaming of an 18th century hero, pretending to be a 19th century heroine, with a 20th century song in my head.

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Incidentally, I never did find the high street.

 

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