I have a friend who lives in St Helens, let’s call him Dave, and he has the most brilliant mind of anyone I know. Like most men of pure genius, he is a complete crackpot and you couldn’t have him any other way.
There is an on-going joke between the two of us with regards to no being quite able to see things. When it is mentioned to us that “you can’t quite see it from here” it makes us smile. On the other hand, we feel slightly cheated when we can actually see something.
So where did it come from I hear you ask.
The first few times I went up to St Helens I was staying with another friend, let’s call him Mark. Mark had moved to St Helens for his job and didn’t really know the area that well. So, I arranged for us to meet up with Dave for a few drinks in the town centre. Mark was still finding his feet and I thought it would be a good idea to introduce him to someone I knew from the area.
Two things to mention at this point. Firstly, Dave and Mark didn’t really know each other, as they were friends from different things. I don’t even think they had met before at this point. Secondly, I would like to point out at this stage that like myself, Dave doesn’t drink. That cannot be used as an excuse.
What happens next was pure brilliance.
That night we didn’t seem comfortable with any of the pubs that we went to. It was either, too loud, too full of teenagers, or too dead. We ended up criss-crossing St Helens town centre a few times looking for somewhere we could be comfortable. It didn’t happen, so the night turned into the worst pub crawl ever. Loads of crawling but not much pubbing.
As we walked through the across the town centre for what seemed like the fourth or fifth time, Dave started to point out some of the places of interest. This being St Helens, interest had a broad definition. My friend would only remember to point them out, either once we had already past them, or they were behind another building, and even once from the wrong end of town.
Invariably, the description would begin “You can’t quite see it from here, but”. After a while I started a count, which soon reached double figures, and I could no longer control my laughter. He even pointed out where the cinema was twenty years ago. An ongoing joke was born.
I have suggested that he starts his own alternative tour of St Helens. Nothing seen or your money back! For some reason he didn’t go for it. I can’t think why not.
I did get my own back, some time later by giving him a tour of London, from the comfort of a tube train. Plenty not to be seen from there.