Dear Reader: Is Bond End better now + coming full circle at Writers Circle

A personal column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers

Friday, 30th November 2018, 3:29 pm
Updated Friday, 30th November 2018, 3:35 pm
Two degrees of separation? Former Harrogate musician and dramatist Mark Ellis pictured at Harrogate Theatre in younger times.

So it’s finally happened. No, not a Brexit deal, a solution to Bond End’s traffic congestion.It seems my pessimistic judgements of a few weeks ago in this column were premature and, seemingly, wrong.

Of course, the evidence for my change of heart about the twin mini-roundabouts which have replaced the previous twin traffic lights system at this notoriously complex double junction in Knaresborough isn’t based on anything scientific.

I’m judging the new arrangement commissioned by North Yorkshire County Council under the snappy title of the Bond End Air Quality Improvement Scheme to be a success simply on driving through it a couple of times last weekend.Oh the joy of not shuffling slowly bumper to bumper for five, ten, 15 minutes.

I’d take that feeling over any amount of statistics.

I’ve yet to test traffic flow at peak commuting time but I’m pleased to inform fellow motorists out there that this unloved junction does seem to be vastly improved.There are also reports that this nicer version of Bond End means the main Harrogate-Knaresborough bus service is now running closer to scheduled times after a few ‘challenging’ years.Hallelujah! in this era of misfires and misjudgements, the story of Bond End almost seems too good to be true.PS I’m just going to check it at rush hour…

When six degrees of separation starts to slim down into two, it can mean only one thing, you’ve been around a while.I bring this fact of life for the middle-aged up after a visit I paid as a guest of the Harrogate Writers Circle last week.

It’s a small but talented group, as was confirmed last week at their meeting room off East Parade, when I learned that one of its number had her poems published recently in both the Whitby Gazette and the Northern Echo.

The group have a good sense of humour but, make no mistake, this is serious.So serious, in fact, they always hire an adjudicator to critique their short stories with prizes for the winners.

Disappointingly, the latest one couldn’t make it to the meeting in person.Mark Ellis.A lecturer in creative writing at the University of Worcester.That name sounds familiar.

When I knew Mark not that many years ago he was a young man of promise in Harrogate with a Robert Smith of The Cure-like shock of hair who performed several times at the not-for-profit music and arts events I’ve been organising on and off for 20 years in Harrogate.

As at home with the avant garde drama as pop music, the last time I saw Mark in person he was wrapping us all in white sheets on the floor of RedHouse Originals gallery at Cheltenham Mount as part of one of his productions with a look of mischievous glee in his eyes.