Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Home from Home - Well, Haltwhistle; TOON AND COUNTRY

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Home from Home - Well, Haltwhistle; TOON AND COUNTRY

Article excerpt


EDITORS are gentle souls: shoulders to cry on in times of trouble, pillars of strength when the libel writ lands, a consoling voice when recession's axe hovers.

All of this requires someone to do the dirty work, a task which the wise editor handwashes onto his most earnest deputy. Believe me, I have done it myself.

So when I meekly messaged The Journal's high-ups with the news that I intended to flee winter's threatened onslaught and file my column from the tiniest rock on the remote Canaries the Big Boss emailed back fraternal good wishes while his Axeman's message merely snarled: "You'll never find another Byreman there!"

I too had my doubts. The journey involved a flight to Tenerife, ferry to La Gomera and a hair-raisng hire car drive for 30 minutes along dark and perilously winding roads.

We hugged cliffs on one side and edged close to sheer drops on the other until we arrived to the croak of a million frogs in the banana plantations that cloak the hillsides around Hermigua.

My instructions were clear: "Your landlord speaks English. He and his wife Maribel will meet you with the keys to your apartment. Call for directions as you approach the area."

Nervously, speaking only the 'Hasta la vista, baby' Spanish I learned from Arnold Schwarzenegger, I called the house. "Me nombre eez David Banks,"

I shouted. "I am arrive in Hermigua since uno hour, my wife is parked near el urgencias, where you are?"

My pathetic pidgin-Spanish tailed away. Why, I thought, am I speaking like this? The reply, loud and laughing, put an end to all fear: "Why ya beggor, you're by the hospital!

Turn roond and back up a hundred yards and I'll stand by wor tree . . .

just divven't run us doon!"

Great galloping Angels of the North, I had found my Byreman! I couldn't wait to tell the Axeman.

Dennis Lightfoot left Haltwhistle in the early Nineties, far-sightedly folding his building contractor business just before the last recession hit. …

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