Mais bonjour, internet, et bienvenue a York, une small city dans the North Est of Angleterre.
Things for which York is notable:
Pervasive smell of chocolate from three (THREE) resident chocolate factories. When the wind is in the right direction it feels like you are walking around in a giant After Eight.
Historical reenacters lurking around every corner in their woad doubloons and hemp tabards, grooming their beards with oversized chips.
Slow moving tourists clogging its main arteries marvelling at the quaintness (even the sex shop, or sex shoppe as it is known here, has a half timbered frontage and olde worlde font. I will document this for you tomorrow because fun is a scarce commodity this week).
Barnitts. Just, Barnitts. We will create our own wipe clean handy hommage to Barnitts this week I think. Lashes' first Christmas present from his adoring parents was a length of dog chain from Barnitts. Barnitts bears witness to the lives of York residents from cradle (dog chains to chew) to grave (spades?). It's the ultimate York institution.
Disproportionate numbers of one time residents are bloggers, or rather bloggeuses of note. I cite Petite Anglaise, Antonia, the Non-Working Monkey. I could probably put together a theory on this, centring around the fact that there is fuck all to do in this city if you don't like shouting viking curses whilst dressed in a hemp shroud and carrying a giant replica skull splitting tool, and we are forced to create our own entertainment.
The National Railway Museum, a cavernous, gloomy hangar filled with pieces of obsolete machinery where gentlemen ranging all along the autistic spectrum rub shoulders with excitable, soon to be desperately disappointed small children.
An Archbishop who sleeps in a tent in the cathedral. Or did I dream that?
Faced with this smorgasbord of stimulation, we went to Sainsburys and bought pumpkins. Yes, it is a week early, and your point is? I give you: clock change, extreme cold and darkness, sleep deprived uber-brats. We take our entertainment where we can, my friends.
The spawn carved pumpkins in their own likeness:
When I look at this picture I can almost hear the smaller pumpkin wail "He scribbled on my picture!" as the big pumpkin unconvincingly maintains "It was an accident!".
Then we decorated pumpkin biscuits (my god these photos suck, apologies, but I know it's been a while since we had a wrecktastic display of ill-advised home baking). I love how the ones with the orange faces look like clowns who have suffered third degree burns, but one of the burns victims seems incapable of learning his lesson since he seems to be smoking a green pipe. Could you match the biscuit to the person? Lashes did 2, Fingers, me and the Space Cadette one each.
Then we teased prog rock step dad about our childhood Halloweens.
"Emma says you carved her SWEDE" says Space Cadette "I'm sure you never carved ME a swede. Also, why a swede? WERE YOU ON DRUGS."
"There were NO pumpkins to be had in York in 1980. They just didn't exist. I am not even sure they had any even in London in 1980" protests Prog Rock Step Dad.
"Did you try Leeds?" says the Space Cadette incredulously.
"Hmm", I say, sceptical. "I always assumed it was some kind of conscious, anti-Halloween stance on your part. Like, 'we don't buy into this gross American consumerism with your grotesque giant easy cut pumpkins. This small swede makes a perfectly serviceable lantern, and look, I can mash the insides up and turn it into a joyless soup'. Your act of Halloween protest, if you will".
"You don't think I did it voluntarily do you? Have you ever tried to cut a swede? Have you? Can you imagine anything harder to carve into a lantern?"
We reflect for a minute on the act of love involved in making a swede lantern for your child. Not even your biological child. It is awe-inspiring.
"Celeriac would have been harder" I say cruelly.