The Stray is going to look a little like a potato field for a few months

“So for those of you…who think that the Council owe you some kind of refund…” 

November 11th, 2019

Well then my special ones, there’s only really been one thing to keep us talking since my last hilarious bloggy instalment – oh you guessed it, the bike race.
I’m going to have to be quite delicate here, because the aforementioned bike race (the UCI World Championships in case you’ve been out of the county for a couple of months) had a rather dividing effect on the fine people of Harrogate.
There are those that embraced the once in a lifetime opportunity to experience our home town playing host to a major international sporting event, bringing with it the world’s media, thousands of visitors from around the globe, and the chance to watch our streets, countryside and friends and family on the telly for a week.
There were also those for whom the inevitable travel disruption, the mistaken predictions that every shop / bar / cafe / restaurant in Harrogate would be packed to the rafters all day every day for a week or so, and the fact that The Stray is going to look a little like a potato field for a few months were too much for them to cope with. Now as I said, I’m going to be a little careful here, I’m not a badger who’s keen on alienating people, but I wouldn’t be doing my duty as one of Harrogate’s most opinionated mammals without giving you an insight into my personal viewpoint.
So it’s very easy to whinge when it took you three hours to get to Killinghall to pick up some decorating supplies, messing up your schedule for a couple of days. It’s very easy to count how much less money your ***type of shop removed for legal reasons*** shop took compared with what it would in a normal week.
It’s very easy to notice the damage that the fan park did to the usually lustrous turf of a small part of The Stray (I’ve never seen anywhere near as many people taking photos of mud through a fence).
What isn’t so easy to do is to calculate the future input of wealth into our economy on the back of people visiting us from around the world after seeing all the reasons why we’re regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit. It’s also quite difficult to understand why people could think you can run a  World Cycling Championship series with thousands of participants without closing lots of roads, and that having four months notification of exactly which roads would be closed and when isn’t ample warning.
But most of all, it’s impossible to put a value on the experience of having an event on such a scale in your home town. Walking to work through thousands of excited people, TV helicopters overhead, World Champions going past your front door every twenty minutes – quite possibly we’ll never experience it again.
So for those of you that don’t want to experience it again, who think that the Council owe you some kind of refund for your short term inconvenience, who actually thought people would travel hundreds of miles to watch an outdoor sporting event only to spend all day in the pub or avail themselves of a new carpet or a posh telly before they set off back home, then that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. For the record, we had a less lucrative week than usual – although our sisters at The Yorkshire were lucky enough to be in the right spot, it was just the luck of the geographical draw I guess. Let’s just all have a big hug and move on shall we?
Speaking of muddy fields – I should be able to get this blog out just before this year’s Harrogate Christmas Market. Now we are geographically lucky with that one – it’s right on our doorstep! For those of you who aren’t familiar with how it works – it’s pretty straightforward:
The wife and kids pester you into going to get some earlier than necessary festive spirit on board (I turned Heart Extra FM on the other day, and it’s now “Heart Extra Xmas FM” – a 24 hour Christmas music station, first week in November – but that’s another story).Then they convince you to drive rather than walk, even though you know you’ll end up doing two laps and still not getting anywhere near. On arriving, you notice that there’s no little reindeer pen that there used to be since the animal rights people put a stop to that carry on (fair enough, they did look a little forlorn – and who knew they were that small?). Then you’ll spot the Runaway Train ride and burst into hysterical laughter recalling Clarkey’s annual award winning hilarious joke. Give it about twenty minutes of dawdling behind people trying not to get too muddy, realising that there’s an awful lot of different companies who make pork pies round here, and that you don’t really know anyone who’d appreciate a holographic Ariel from Frozen advent calendar and it’s time for the pub.
Wifey is easily convinced – everyone knows how good the mulled wine is at the Badger – the kids can do some colouring in and laugh at some of Dan’s hilarious jokes – and you get to have a pint. Not two though – she talked you into driving remember? It’s all agreed that it’s been a successful family trip out and you’ll do it all again next year – except maybe not bring the car, and skip the Christmas Market bit.
I’d best not make this blog too long, you’ve probably got the Politics channel to watch in anticipation of the most exciting election ever. Shall I do a paragraph or two on that?Everyone loves a bit of Brexit banter surely?
***can I pause for some feedback here Trina?***
OK OK, no need to be offensive, I’ll move on…
>You know us here at The Badger – if there’s a noticeable swing in trends of any description we like to keep up to date to make sure we accommodate everyone as best we can. One word: vegans. (Actually I often use another word just before it, but that probably wouldn’t get past Sadie the censor).
It’s best that I keep my personal preferences to myself here – that’s fair surely, how many vegan badgers do you know? All I’ll say is that vegans are more than welcome here at The Badger, we have a full vegan friendly menu, and the chef’s promising to extend the offering even further ASAP. On the other hand, no I haven’t seen the Netflix thing with Arnie in it, and no I’m not interested in watching it, however much it might positively improve my “gentlemanly performance” (according to Ike’s mum).
Right folks, good to get all that off my chest, I’ll see you all twenty minutes after you’ve parked the car on that road that used to have Hing’s on that nobody knows the name of – I’ve got two ladies with a guide poodle to look after then I’m off up to The Stray to beat those seagulls to the juiciest worms.
Until next time,
Mr Badger x