Dear Reader: Big problem of potholes + beating Gino at bar football!

Top Italian chef Gino D'Acampo with the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers.
Top Italian chef Gino D'Acampo with the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers.
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A regular column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers

Over many years in journalism the word “potholes” has become my own personal shorthand for remembering always to take ‘small’ issues seriously. and, should I ever, forget, my editor is quick to remind me.
I say ‘small’ but there’s nothing insignificant about the size of the potholes littering many of our roads across North Yorkshire.
How bad the situation is was reinforced this week by complaints from readers of this newspaper.
Not that any reminders are necessary. My daily commute to work these days involves a lot of bumping and swerving and a fair bit of wiggly wiggly driving.
To be fair to North Yorkshire County Council, who do take these things seriously, they simply do not have enough funds to fill more than a smattering of the holes on roads which have never really recovered from the snowy winters of five or six years ago, a meterological blip coinciding with full-blown austerity in a perfect storm.
For a ‘small’ problem, potholes do throw up a big question. If we are a strong country able to reach for new international horizons with confidence, why are our roads turning into the Third World?

An example of terrible potholes in Harrogate. (Picture by Joe Turner, Harrogate)

An example of terrible potholes in Harrogate. (Picture by Joe Turner, Harrogate)

First we were going to do the interview at the restaurant site on Parliament Street. Then it was the nail shop on Station Bridge. Next it was going to be Bettys tearoom. Finally, it was fixed for the restaurant site on Parliament Street.
In my experience there ‘s always some faffing around when a celebrity is involved.
Sometimes it’s down to the middle men – or women – but mostly it’s because they’re busy people. Which meant I was still glad to get the chance to chat to Italian chef Gino D’Acampo in Harrogate on Saturday afternoon.
Standing in the derelict shell of a building on Parliament Street which in a few months time will become his new restaurant, he was as charming in the flesh as in his ITV series Gino’s Italian Escape.
Gino seemed happy to be here and, no wonder, when it opens his new restaurant will be a three-storey gastronomic extravaganza complete with a deli, champagne bar, rooftop terrace and, oh yes, a restaurant.
I liked him but Gino is no wilting wall flower.
This passionate Italian seized on every provocative question I put to him.
As the interview came to an end he gave me a big hug.
“I want to see you at the opening of the restaurant. You and I drink a lot of Processco together. I will show you the roof terrace and we can play ping pong, “ Gino told me.
I hate ping pong, I reply.
“What about bar football?”
That’s fine, I look forward to seeing you in June when I will beat you at bar football, I tell my favourite Italian chef.
Bold words, in retrospect, for a man who hasn’t played bar football for 20 years and was never any good at it.