IT IS seven in the morning and the bank holiday rain is falling. Friends are coming round for a walk later. A wet walk by the sounds of it.
The night has not been tender. Rough sleeping saw me alert until about three, waking twenty minutes ago with a thick head. The reason for my restlessness is rather ridiculous and is due in part to a young woman I only met yesterday. We are, you see, in the middle of a rush of Airbnb guests.
Saturday night saw the arrival of a young academic who was from the Crimea but had been living in Norway for a number of years. Bright, interested and interesting, he chatted away for an hour or so in the evening, and was very engaging company.
Yesterday we put up an American student from Upstate New York, who is travelling while studying at a summer school in Oxford. She arrived earlier than expected in the afternoon, with a towering rucksack on her back. I don’t know much about her, except that she likes to sing jazz and is studying international something or other, plus media studies. She also, as is usually the way, seems very pleasant and friendly.
After turning up early and over-heated, she changed and went off into York at around 2pm. She hadn’t returned by the time I went to bed at after 11.30pm, and this triggered an old insomnia response: the vague worries about daughter syndrome. Lying awake, first upstairs and then down in the other spare room, I couldn’t tell if she had returned or not. Just like I have sometimes done when our daughter has stayed out late, or perhaps even early.
A few moments ago I looked at my mobile and there was a message: “I ran into some old friends so I’m just catching up with them. All is well!”
Ah, if I’d checked my phone at 12.30am last night perhaps sleep would have come easier. It was nice of our guest to keep me informed, but I shouldn’t have been so foolish. Young women often return late, as I know from the occasional early-hours antics of our youngest. And a 24-year-old guest is free to do as they wish.
Tonight’s guest is a young Frenchman who is driving home from Scotland, and breaking his journey in York. Tomorrow a 62-year-old man is arriving from Adelaide, and will be staying until the weekend. Most guests have been young, but we have had a few older visitors. The last one, well into her sixties at a guess, was also from the same part of Australia.
After that we have a cameraman covering York Races who is here for the night, followed by a young woman who is coming to a wedding in York. Then a young man who is working in the city for five or six days. With so many guests, we’ve blocked off a few days with the electronic equivalent of a “no vacancies” sign, just to rest our conversational skills. And to give the washing machine a break.
The bank holiday rain is still falling. I wonder if our friends would have any ideological objection to paying to get into York Art Gallery (see yesterday’s ledge report).
Glancing at the news online, I see that the Chancellor, George Osborne, is warning that Labour hopeful Jeremy Corbyn is a threat to national security. Dear me, does he have an atomic bomb strapped beneath that beige jumper? Er, no. Instead Corbyn opposes the renewal of Trident, and Osborne says this would be disastrous for Britain.
Oh, I don’t know. I still have some doubts about how good Corbyn would be for Labour, but maybe he has a point about the untold billions and trillions we spend on nuclear deterrent. Does all that money really keep us any safer or is it an old-style solution to yesterday’s problem?
There’s a thought for a wet yawn of a bank holiday morning.