Thursday, May 03, 2007

radio romance

I pulled over by the side of the road and my wife in the north talking book CD faded out from the blaupunkt with a sigh. I looked out of the window and up the hill that rose from the roadside. Could it be true, I asked my self, could that lonely figure atop that distant windswept northern hilltop really be what I thought it was? I had to find out if my eyes were really deceiving me. I began to run up the hill, stumbling over Heather and Dale (It was going to cost those two if they didn’t want to be shamed on my blog, I can tell you, this isn’t a bloody Melvyn Bragg novel you know, sigh). The car began to vanish below me as I climbed and climbed. Suddenly, a sound in the silence, a voice? Yes, a voice in the wilderness! Was it calling out a woman's name? I must be imagining things but no, ‘Cathy!’ called a man’s voice, ‘Cathy!’ I stood silent. ‘Cathy, is it really you?’ I could still not see the source of this most insistent and urgent cry, for a frightening and terrible mist did descend upon the hillside, hushing the very wind and drawing my world closely around me. The voice grew near. It was almost upon me! I shivered and drew my shawl tighter round my shoulders. ‘Cathy, Cathy, I thought I had lost you for ever but you have come back just as you promised you would!’ The man must almost certainly have been but yards away now. I turned and gave a start when a tall and imposing figure strode out of the ghostly swirlling fog . He was wild and tall (hmm, did I mention he was tall already) and handsome. ‘Cathy! He cried, raising his arms as if to embrace me. I was now within reach of his strong masculine grasp. I too opened my arms to receive him ‘Oh’ he said ‘bugger’ I lowered my expectant arms. ‘Most terribly sorry, I thought you were someone else’ He looked nervously from side to side. ‘Oh crikey, I feel like a right tit now’, he said apologetically. ‘I’ll be, errr, getting along then’ he said. ‘pleased to meet you and all that…’ and he vanished into the mist, the tails of his long coat being the last bit of him to disappear into the gloom. I shrugged and carried on towards the top of the hill.

I paused as, at one with the moor, the clouds and the birds, the object of my devotion, the subject of my dreams, the answer to my loneliness, which was abject and to my social status, which was reject, stood tall and unyielding before me at last upon the hill top. I began to fumble with my buttons, my fingers numb with the cold. At last, sign of life, a glimmer of hope a ….'No signal!’ My hopes were dashed as my phone told me this was not a phone mast before me, just a repeater for Radio Two. I should have known such a thing up north was too much to answer for. All the others I had seen had just been mirages. I hoped at least that chap I met earlier found who he was looking for, sigh. All at once, the mist enveloped the fell in a mistlike misty mistiness once more. Was that another voice I could hear? A woman this time? Not so much a voice, more like an eerie ghostly wailing . ‘Heathcliffe!’ cried the plaintive voice ‘Heathcliffe, it’s me, Cathy, come home!’ Where was it coming from? I looked around but saw nothing but the swirling fog. Oh, the lonliness in her voice, oh how I identified with her desperate unhappiness, oh if I could only meet her and tell her of my earlier encounter. The voice faded, to be replaced by 'Hello and top of the mornin' to my listener!' The new disembodied voice contined, 'That was a request from a loverly lady in Northumberland who says she misses her husband, so she does, who's on the other side, so he is, down in London, and if it wasn't for reading Strife in the North she doesn't know how she'd survive, so she doesn't, and now the traffic news...' I sighed. I knew now that my accounts of my grim life, painful as it was for me to relive each grim day at night in front of my computer, had brought solace to another lonely soul out there, although I wondered whether anyone actually spoke like that fellow on the radio in real life. I began to walk back down the hill and, as the sun broke through the clouds, I understood now how to really reach people, I understood how to get FM on my phone, and it was a long weekend coming up and I had managed to get in a romantic depiction of a radio mast before the power to the village went off untill Tuesday, sigh.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, Rilly, You aren't super, you are absolutely excellent !! I was going to squeeze another naughty word in there but thought it best not to drop the tone...

And if you are in need of some fun and frolics over the weekend [unless hubby has mysteriously re-appeared] just email southbachelor@desperatemail.com

Anonymous said...

Your reference to Blaupunkt stereos reminds me of gazing longingly at their catalogues years ago. They all had names of strange sounding places with faraway names.

Like the Blaupunkt Toronto. Or the Blaupunkt New York. Or even the Blaupunkt Cairo. [Or was that a code name for a version of the Windows operating system before they'd fixed all the bugs in it? One forgets].

I always used to think with the number of stereos they had they would run out of names when they had to upgrade them with new knobs and whistles every year.

Or maybe they even had stereo which were reminiscent of their namesakes - for example the Blaupunkt Montreal - would one have to keep paying instalments on it until 2027? Or a Blaupunkt Sydney which would sound great for Opera but not for anything else ?

Or the Blaupunkt London - would it have an odd habit of having extreme difficulty finding any English stations, but an encyclopaedic memory for eastern european ones ?

I always thought the stereo in the Blaupunkt catalogue were expensive.

Perhaps that was where they had their best stock, but that they did make others for people on a budget?

If one sees a Blaupunkt Rochdale or a Blaupunkt Cleethorpes you may well have your answer...

dulwichmum said...

Dear Rilly,

Why don't you come to London for the weekend, and join James and I for a super weekend in Dulwich. This experiment of yours has gone on far too long, I fear you may be loosing your mind dear.

If you cannot visit, please promise you will drink lots and lots of alcohol to calm yourself.

It sounds like a dreadful desolate place up north...

@themill said...

The mistlike misty mistiness clings to the north east still. I must venture to Chatton Moor in search of Heathcliffe.

Lucy Diamond said...

Bloody Heather and Dale, they're always at it...

Stay at home dad said...

Careful up there, there's an ape on the loose...

mutterings and meanderings said...

You hubby is becoming as ghostly as Heathcliffe - is this a metaphor, Rilly?

SAHD, as told WITN, the monkey is sitting on a house roof beside the graveyard. I saw it last night ...

Anonymous said...

Now Rilly dear, I must take you to task, you little town mouse you.

Wuthering Heights is set in YORKSHIRE. Although this is in the North, you needed to go EVEN FURTHER NORTH. Wife in the North is set in a secret village somewhere around Alnwick (pronounced annick by the locals) in Northumberland. Northumberland is a county between Yorkshire and Scotland.

Northumberland is famously (or at least it was famous until they took the sign down) "Catherine Cookson Country".

We country mice have our snobberies and petty jealousies. We Yorkshire folk are very proud of our Brontes and a little bit, well, sniffy about Catherine Cookson.

Perhaps you were really very lost in that mist?

mutterings and meanderings said...

Anon, Catherine Cookson is not from Northumberland. South Tyneside (Tyne & Wear and formerly Co Durham) is Catherine Cookson Country.

We Northumbrians are very sniffy too ...

Anonymous said...

Sorry eminem, what a libel on Northumberland. I am more geographically challenged than Rilly! What on earth is south tyneside? Is that really a county? who invented that then?

Anonymous said...

I'm another anymouse and am shocked, nay stunned, that County Durham has appeared to have disappeared - if you know what I mean ! Disgraceful !

Who keeps mucking [and I cleaned that up] with our ancient counties ? What next ? Derbyshire or Lancashire being merged with the county next door ?

Yorkshire being re-branded ?? This is so so wrong, I tell you, wrong!

Anonymous said...

Yorkshire needs a bit of rebranding. Not renaming. Just a quick airbrushing.

As a county, it has a tough gritty uncompromising feel. We need to feminise it. Less Geoffrey Boycott, more calendar girls. Certainly the county needs a new colour. All that white rose stuff has been going on for far too long. It's too uncompromising and not terribly practical.

The vision is of the Yorkshire rose in a softer and more mellifluous colour. Maybe pearlised? Certainly the actual rose itself is not a modern variety, and needs a bit of a reshape. Maybe a hybrid tea? It needs to be scented of course.

As for the name, well the essence of the name should be retained of course - we're not talking a renaming here - just a quick update to connect to the youth market. After all Leeds is the UK's No1 stag and hen night destination. We need something that combines a sense of history and tradition yet resonates with vibrancy.

Thinking conceptually, why not link to the brand? Why not Pearl Rose of York? We'd need to acronymise it to connect of course. That leaves us with PRY.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Quick geography lesson - Tyne & Wear is between Northumberland and County Durham. It was created from a bit of what was then Northumbria and a bit of Co Durham. Tyne & Wear includes Newcastle and Sunderland. Newcastle used to be in Northumbria and Sunderland in Co Durham. The old cut-off point was the River Tyne. South Tyneside is a district of Tyne and Wear, the HQ of which is South Shields; North Tyneside's HQ is North Shields. Don't worry - Co Durham hasn't disappeared!

Anonymous said...

PRY Pudding ? PRY Born and PRY Bred..

Straight-talking PRY lass ?

I can't see it myself...

People would think you were referring to the People's Republic of Yorkshire..

Anonymous said...

The attached website relates to Lancashire..

http://www.forl.co.uk/003/newsletter.html

But there is a bigger organisation which campaigns more widely to keep ALL the 'old' [back to 1845, I think] county boundaries against the tides of gerrymandering and reorganisation of councils / unitary authorities.

More power to their elbow !!!

Anonymous said...

eminem you have confused me utterly. Tyne and Wear - which sounds like a clothing retailer - was an invented county taken from bits of other counties spliced together. That bit I got.

South tyneside and north tyneside seems ridiculous. Is it short for south tyne and wear and north tyne and wear then?

I think that what is going on in the ready to wear Far Distant North, is a wish to distance yourselves from Catherine Cookson. You had to invent a county just to do it. Cunning but the truth is out there now.

Anonymous said...

I can feel a 'radio' themed anthology coming on...

'Radio, Radio', by Elvis Costello and the Attractions...

'Radio Ga Ga' by Queen..

Even,
'Radio', yes I know it's the 'bloody Corrs' but this was one of their tolerable efforts..

Cathy said...

Next time you see Heathcliff please tell him I am down south...

Marianne said...

Funnily enough, the last time I bumped into a tall romantic stranger in the mist and fog and smog and cobwebs and stuff, it turned out that it wasn't me he was looking for, babe. Just my luck.

I'm getting seriously confused with your anonymice. Can't they choose a pseudonym like the rest of us?

Drunk Mummy said...

Darling Rilly, I think you missed your chance with the tall, dark stranger. When he said "I feel like a right tit now" I think you were supposed to offer yours - or maybe the left one.

dulwichmum said...

Drunk Mummy dear,

Please do not lower the tone! Rilly thinks a 'tit' is a type of birdie! Please do not shatter her illusions...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Rilly, may I make a humble request? Would you mind awfully putting in a few more paragraph breaks? I feel some trepidation asking a goddess of literature such as yourself for such a thing, but it's 1am and all the text is going fuzzy in front of my baggy eyes. A few breaks would help a bit.
Big grovelling snorty kisses,
Pigx

Sarnia said...

I don't know Rilly - life oop north does seem to have SOME compensations.

If ever I walk on a hill (or cliff as they're known here) all I ever stumble across is a dog turd or two.

spymum said...

Ooh Sarnia - I love your flirtatious avatar! Where can I get one?

Lovely Rilly, please ignore Cathy! If you see Heathcliff send him down to me in Dulwich! Once again, I must point out that there seem to be a lot of hunks wandering around your local clime. Your husband had better watch out!

Sarnia said...

Spymum - obviously everyone who is anyone lives in Dulwich!

I don't know where the avatar came/comes from.

The blog was set up for me as a fait accompli last year - complete with avatar et al!

rilly super said...

anonymous dear, please check you spelt your email address correctly as I have tried it 36 times and it bounced back on every occasion

anonymous, I think a Blaupunkt Rochdale might get me into rather a lot of bother on my side of the pennines, but then, what the hell, where can I get one?

Oh Dulwichmum, just the kindness of your invitation lifts my spirit, thankyou to James and yourself. Unfortunatey I have had to resort to your suggested plan B, which wasn't so bad I suppose, sigh..

poor @mill, thank goodness the internet allows us poor souls to communicate, because we'd never find each other through the permanent fog and general grimness.

Miss Diamond, I am very honoured to have you here. I saw your book in a proper bookshop! I am going to change over to your agent. That can be the only reason that Strife in the North hasn't hit the shelves yet.

stayathomedad, an ape? alas not even a little monkey business I fear

darling darling M&M, you're not suggesting I'm imagining things are you?

anonymous country mouse, well, I did seem to walk an awful long way. As for secret villages, a good thing too or else Bamburgh is destined to suffer the Goathland 'Heartbeat' effect and will have a wife in the north tearooms, The grim up north hotel and the dungeon fake torture victims in the castle will be replace with an animatronic toddler with underwear on his head. Thankyou for dropping by and hope to see you again.

Ah yes M&M, Catherine Cookson. I read her books to cheer me up you know, those characters and their easy lives, they don't know they're born! I don't think Northumbrians are sniffy, well, you're not but then again you're the only one I know..

anonymus, anonymous, anonymous and M&M, and anonymous, anonymous, anonymous and anonymous, it seems i am not the best person to interven in a discussion about geography, sigh...

cathy, get you own mysterious, wild and handsome stranger and hands off mine!

marianne, it seems our shared experience has formed an unbreakable bond between us dear, that and neither of us knows the plural of anonymous, sigh

drunkmummy, oh what I would give for your presence of mind in such a situation. I may ask you to accompany me on my next wander on a misty moor, because even if we don't meet any mysterious romantic strangers you are sure to have brought something with you that will keep out the cold.

thankyou for upholding the high standards of respectabilty of this blog dulwichmum, a desperate and forlorn attempt though it may seem, sigh...

Pig in the kitchen, for calling me that I will do anything dear! - except in the next post which I wrote before going back over these comments again so please forgive me totally ignoring your perfectly reasonable request on this occasion.

sarnia, where there's muck... as they say up north!

spymum, I'm glad you thought sarnia's picture thingy was flirtatious. I puts a whole new light on things. I had thought it was just a nervous tick..

sarnia, fait accompli, the story of my life, sigh...I saw a whole range of those clever little things once. it's amazing what you can flash on your blog comments. You're lucky your blog setting up pal only had you flashing your eyelashes, I can tell you

anyway, sorry for being away and seeming to ignore all the comments. Hope every one had much less grim weekend than I did and thanks ever so for dropping by, it's lovely.

Sarnia said...

Nervous tick - LO bloody L!

lady macleod said...

Oh mercy! in a good way.

rilly super said...

sarnia, nobody else could write those three little letters and make them sound sarcastic :-)

lady macleod, now that's the kind of class we need around here - curtsys - please have a seat and I'l fetch you a G&T...