If old people’s homes are platform waiting rooms for heaven then Harrogate is the last stop on the line before that penultimate destination. Don’t get me wrong – Harrogate is a beautiful place with fabulous shops, a wee bit culture and some great restaurants – it’s just full of pensioners, which is surprising really because it’s pretty damn hilly.
I visited with Maxi-me for a few days (remember I took her to the red light district in Amsterdam last time) and I made the mistake of booking us into The Hotel That Time Forgot – probably circa 1970. Our room would have been luxurious in 73, the breakfast Michelin starred and the clientele in their 40s. Today the hotel is as tired as the pensioners that litter the foyer. The tiny lift (max 5 persons – yeah right!) really only held 2 comfortably but 3 adults and a zimmer frame were the normal load.
However, the hotel for us was only a base and although Maxi-me is in her 70s she was sprinting up the slopes and shopping until it was me that was dropping. Together we visited the Pump House where an Amanda Barrie lookalike (Alma out of Corrie btw – just to save you googling) let us go down to the old street level and smell the eggy water, which had put Harrogate on the map. Apparently ill people would drink the sulphurous water as part of a prescribed course of treatment, having to drink 2 to 3 cups a day before rushing back to their hotels to allow the purgative effect to take place . I felt ill just smelling the natural, rotten-egg smelling, spring water from the well so immediately felt better after we left – now I know how it really works 😉 We also visited the art gallery, had a cream tea and enjoyed a coffee morning at St Peter’s Church.
I bought a fab outfit from the tiniest shop in the world and Maxi-me bought a glam jersey from a shop that had random zeros after the normal prices. We also had a beautiful meal at William and Victoria.
What surprised us both though, was the amount of jobs available in the town. Shop assistants, waiters/waitresses, receptionists, bar staff….loads of signs in windows. Why? Are the young people of Harrogate that scared of being trapped in the 70s time zone they escape as soon as they can? Or is growing up there, among all the years of intelligence captured in each octogenarian who frequents the Yorkshire town, completely conducive to being accepted into Uni?
Anyhoos, Harrogate is a lovely place – it was a great get away from it all and allowed me to see how young Maxi-me is in comparison to her peer group, so it was win win.