Dear Reader: Hiding from heatwave + annoying rail station barriers

Dancing the afternoon away in 40s Day in the heat of the Valley Gardens. (1706182AM10)
Dancing the afternoon away in 40s Day in the heat of the Valley Gardens. (1706182AM10)

The weekend’s heatwave was perfect weather for lying on the beach in the south of France or Bridlington, even.

Perhaps it’s my Scottish roots and my pasty-faced skin but, being in Harrogate, I spent as much time as possible doing things indoors in the shade, not outdoors in the fierce glare of one of the hottest June weekends on record.

So, while most people were enjoying a drink in a beer garden on Friday night, I was at the launch of the hugely impressive annual Open Exhibition inside the cool oasis of creativity that is Harrogate’s Mercer Gallery.

While the Stray at West Park filled with youngsters playing and families picnicking on Saturday afternoon, I was sitting in the dark of the Harrogate Odeon watching a new movie called Churchill.

While thousands of people steeped themselves in wartime nostalgia on Sunday lunchtime in the Valley Gardens in the popular 40s Day I was tucked up inside the Yorkshire Hussar enjoying a meal in the village of Markington near Ripon.

This once overlooked pub has been relaunched in the past year and, as a result of the changes, has become a firm favourite.

Alarmingly, staff did run after me across the car park as I attempted to drive away on Sunday.

It turned out I’d accidentally tipped them £20 more than I’d meant to and they were merely returning the excess cash.

Quite amazing.

Who doesn’t like a good shortcut whether by car or on foot?

If you know where to look, there’s a handy one on Regent Parade off Skipton Road in Harrogate which taxi drivers in a hurry seem to love.

The beauty of these quiet snubs to the world of one-way systems isn’t just that they get you there quicker.

It also feels like your cheating the system a little.

Sadly over recent decades these secret cut-throughs have dwindled steadily in number as the strait-jacket of modern commuting tightens.

The narrowing of options can also apply to pedestrians.

The recent introduction of automatic ticket barriers at Harrogate railway station has had repercussions beyond making buying a ticket in advance an absolute necessity.

No longer is it possible to meet friends on the platform coming off a train.

No longer is it possible to break into a sprint to catch the train if you’re late.

No longer is it possible to have a pint in The Harrogate Tap pub via the platform even though it’s located on said platform.

No longer is it possible to use the station’s bridge as a shortcut from East Parade from Station Parade when you’re shopping.

The latter is particularly annoying.

What for years felt like public space, a handy part of daily life, has been revealed, in fact, to be private space.

I’m told there is still a sneaky way to get from one side of the railway station to the other without being confronted by ticket barriers.

But I never betray a source.