Hardy annuals

Yorkshire lasses are a hardy breed, at least according to the evidence of my annual trip to York for wargames show Vapnartak. The show is in early February, and again coincided with a cold snap that a day earlier had left the countryside around York covered in snow.

It was bitingly cold as Mike of Black Hat Miniatures and I traipsed around the city in search of a pub or restaurant that wasn’t heaving with life at the comparatively early hour of 6.30pm. Last year we spotted six hen parties either staggering into or out of bars, or taking part in one of the popular Ghost Walks. This year we were down to spotting three – and a 21st birthday party, which doesn’t really count – but we retired to the hotel early because of the cold and probably missed out on spotting a few more.

I was in a skiing jacket and gloves, which makes me and most of the similarly clad tourists wimps. The local lasses were in short skirts with bare legs and bare shoulders as they made their way from bar to bar.

What possesses them to hold hen parties at that time of year I have no idea – a better rate at the hotels, I guess.

For the second year running, and despite a change of hotel, sleep proved impossible. I was deeply out of it until 4am when one late returnee from a girls’ night out tried and failed to use her electronic key card in my room door, and waggled the handle repeatedly. The noise wouldn’t stop, and fully awake I got up and opened the door.

“It’s a man,” she said. At least that’s what Mike reported hearing as he too was fully awake in the next door room. I should be grateful that, given a 50% chance of a right or wrong observation, that she was together enough to notice. But my appearance was enough to make her scoot.

And so ended the night’s sleep. The fact that I have unknown women beating a path to my hotel door at night is doubtless the curse of being a hobby legend.

Last year’s stay in a different hotel was also interrupted by members of noisy hen parties, and I currently seriously doubt that it’s possible to get a good night’s sleep in a hotel in York.

Still, Vapnartak was OK, but York is a long way to go for a decent pint of Old Peculier and a good pie.