We should be on the train to Manchester about now, but instead I am holed up in the storm-tossed study. Rain is being flung at the window as if from the unfurled fist of a vengeful god.
Storm Ciara quietened a little when I went for the Sunday paper just now. On my return, and while still dressed for the not so great outdoors, I stooped along the gap at the side of the house, a place which might as well have a big sign reading “Wind blow this way”, and picked up the soggy contents of the upended bin, a dismal task.
After that Ciara blew out her skirts again in an elemental hissy fit. It is comforting to be indoors and away from all that, even if we should have been on that train.
The trip to see number two son was abandoned amid warnings of only travelling if necessary. A meal, a chat and a pint or two probably don’t count as vital, although they are being missed inside this storm-tossed hiding place. It is not the tidiest room in the house; strike that, it’s easily the messiest.
Washing hangs in front of the wet window and dries on the radiator. There is a desk for sitting at and tapping out words. A portable radiator for chilly daytime typing. A rarely used futon sofa on which there rests an electric guitar. There is a music stand empty of music, and two bookcases full of books.
At my back there is a large amplifier belonging to the unvisited son. On top of the large amp sits a smaller one, bought so that my bad guitar playing can be amplified throughout the house for the pleasure of all present.
If that sounds antisocial, playing the electric guitar mostly is a lonely sin committed in secret when home alone, although occasionally a blues riff will ring out to general delight.
There are three of us in this house as our youngest has moved back while training to be a teacher. Before that it was two plus whoever happened to be passing the night in the spare room, but we stopped the Airbnb when our more permanent guest rolled up.
Had we not abandoned today’s trip, we would have visited the Northern Quarter, as that’s what usually happens. It’s a great shame not to be seeing Boy Number Two, but it does avoid any repeat of it being my round in a craft beer bar where he suggests trying a double IPA or something that costs £13 a pint. He hadn’t noticed the price and we did only order halves.
That train to Manchester struggles on a sunny day, so it was best not to go. According to the BBC website, one problem for the trains is that debris blows onto the rails, sometimes in the form of trampolines sprung by the wind from nearby gardens.
Another problem is that all the money in this country is spent on transport in the south. And if you think Boris Johnson pretending to love the north is going to sort that out, mine’s a pint of that expensive beer.