Heartbeat – Forever the 1960s

The grey sky engulfed Aidensfield as PC Crane whizzed around the tight Yorkshire country lanes on his motorbike.  With that heavy chill in the air Dan could feel that more snow would be on the way.  It had looked atmospheric when the first snowflakes coated Aidensfield with a blanket of snow on Christmas eve.

He had been sitting in the warm snug of the Aidensfield arms looking out of the window as the flurry floated gently in the December sky.  Smiling to himself he could still hear Tricia regaled the locals of how poor old Greengrass had got stuck in the chimmney as Father Christmas at the nearby school play.

Aidensfield was such a quiet, comfortable village were admittedly a lot of exciting things did happen for such a small place but and this was the thing, it was a feeling of reassurance.  Somehow everything always worked out well in the end and there was no uncertainty.  In some respects it was like that lovely mulled wine that warmed the cockles of Dan’s heart as he sang Christmas carols when singing with the rest of the village by the village square Christmas tree.

Still that would all change in a few hours as Aidensfield would see in 1970 heralding a new future.  Dan was looking forward to it but lovable rogue Claude Greengrass who had made a return visit could barely suppress a chuckle as he finished his pint when telling him.

‘I’m not too sure about the future in these parts.  This, this place is stuck in a timewarp!’

‘Greengrass!’  Oscar Blaketon barked with that glare of disapproval that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a Judge.

‘Sorry Oscar, just, just playing with the lad.’

Nick Rowan who had passed by a couple of years back had warned him that not everything was as it seemed.  The words seemed to trouble Dan slightly but after today he would see in the New Year at the Aidensfield arms.  What would 1970 bring?  Would Leeds United go on to dominate football?  Would Harold Wilson gain another term next year or would it be Edward Heath?  Then of course there was the Beatles who had released Abbey road in September.  Dan loved the album and he hoped there would be more to come from the Liverpudlians.

Sometimes Dan thought back to when he first arrived in Aidensfield.  Admittedly it was all a bit of a blur and a bit foggy.  One minute he could picture himself looking at a screen and typing away on it.  Then there was a small, slim, like toy.  A bit like what they had on Star Trek but you could make phone calls, type messages to people, listen to music and even read the news on this device.

Dan smiled as it all so ridiculous that these day dreams seemed so real.  Like that time he thought he was on a plane to Barcelona.  Suddenly they had got entangled in the fog and didn’t seem to be going anywhere.  Then landing in a strange field and Dan’s mind was gone after that.

When he had arrived in Aidensfield it was dramatic as he raced through the country lanes in his bike startling the sheep.  His new sergeant, Miller didn’t take to him and thought he was too flash.  Nevertheless Dan had gained his trust when he had helped apprehend those bank robbers and gained his trust.  True he was a bit of a maverick who took chances but Dan always got the job done.

One thing was certain and that was visiting his Parents.  True they always phoned and vice versa but despite arranging trips they never came off.  That would be his new year resolution for 1970.

‘Oh blast,’ Aunt Peggy said to her nephew David.  ‘Here’s the local bobby.  Just keep quiet and let me do the talking.’

‘Morning Constable.’

Dan smiled as David shuffled nervously.  No doubt Aunt Peggy was up to some scam that would inevitably always end badly.  Nevertheless she was a alright sort who didn’t mean any harm.

‘Into the coal business?’  Dan said observing the sacks of coal in the back of her lorry.

‘Well we…’

‘David!’  Aunt Peggy screeched.  ‘Can we deliver you a bag Constable?  Much cheaper and better quality I would like to add than old Mr Woods.’

‘I’ll give it a miss thanks,’ Dan said pretending that he had not noticed the grouse that Aunt Peggy had no doubt poached from Lord Ashfordly’s estate.

There was another smirk as he watched Aunt Peggy telling off her nephew as he whizzed down to Marshes farm land to question some travellers who had taken root.

After solving and stopping an attempted train robbery Dan made his way to the Aidensfield arms.  Poor old Aunt Peggy’s latest scam of smokeless coal had ended badly with her choking out the residents and her own house.  Everybody enjoyed a little chuckle but it was all forgotten about. Besides 1970 was finally going to arrive.

‘Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one!  Happy New Year!’

Suddenly there was shaking and Dan felt weird as though he was dizzy.  Violins screeched and Dan could see himself floating above the Yorkshire fields.  He could see Oscar Blaketon back in his Sergeant’s uniform, then another of him looking confused in a airfield.  Darkness and then…

‘Here’s to 1968!’

‘What?’  Dan said groggily.

‘A New Year Dan,’ smiled Nurse Maggie Walker.

‘Are you alright?’ Asked Gina.

‘But isn’t it 1970?’  Dan said confused.  He was positive it had been 1969 a few minutes back never mind 1968.

‘I think you’ve had too much to drink,’ Oscar Blaketon said roughly.

‘That bang on the head must have scrambled your senses,’ said his colleague Bellamy.

‘Let’s have a look over you,’ Doctor Merrick said as she took a confused Dan to a quiet seat in the corner.

‘But I didn’t take a bang on the head,’ protested Dan.

‘That train robber did give you a crack.’

Grimacing as Blaketon watched him sharply like a hawk, Dan was sure that he hadn’t received any blows to the head.  What was that album that the Beatles had recently released?  Grimacing poor old Dan couldn’t remember.

‘Abbey road.’

‘What are you on about?  There is no Abbey Road here,’ Said Bernie Scripps.

‘No the Beatles.  It’s their latest album.’

‘That would be Sergeant Pepper’s.’

‘Come on let’s take you home,’ Bellamy said.  ‘I’m sure he’ll be as right as rain after a good rest.’

Puzzled that it everything seemed so familiar and as though he had been in 1968 before Dan allowed Bellamy to take him home.  Maybe everything would make sense after a bit of shuteye.  Still Dan was positive that it had been 1969 and that 1970 was not now two years away.

After getting some sleep Dan woke up as he struggled to remember the name of the Beatles latest album.  ‘Yellow submarine?’  No it was a road with the fab four walking over a zebra crossing.  However the album was not there.  Everything was blurred as he remembered how happy he had been to purchase it at the local record shop in Aidensfield.  It had been Dan’s favourite album especially… Now he couldn’t even remember the song and it was frustrating him.

There was a knock at the door with Oscar Blaketon inviting himself in.

‘I hope you are a lot more better than you were last night,’ Blaketon said.  ‘A cup of tea would be nice by the way.’

‘Two sugars?’  Dan said obediently as Oscar nodded.

‘Gave us all a funny turn.’

‘I could have sworn it was meant to be 1970.’

‘Little accidents Crane, can scramble the senses.’

‘But it does seem weird,’ Dan said earnestly.  ‘I feel I don’t know as though I’ve already lived 1968.’

‘A word of advice.  Just enjoy the tranquility.  Yes these are meant to be a new age never mind a new year but there is a certainty and reassurance that Aidensfield brings.’

‘That sounds rather weird Oscar if you don’t mind me saying.’

‘Just enjoy the future.’

‘But that’s precisely that.  I feel I’m constantly in the past.’

‘It’s comforting though and little Aidensfield is in it’s own little world.  Don’t start worrying or otherwise you may regret it.’

The last bit sounded very much like a threat as Oscar now stared at him like a Mafia Don as they now chatted over little things such as Lord Ashfordly.

‘Think on what I said,’ Blaketon said as he finished his tea.  ‘Don’t spoil what it is a very cosy life by dwelling on silly nonsense otherwise you’ll end up at the Royal.’

None of this made sense for Dan as he decided to mess about with his wireless.  Suddenly amongst the crackles he could scrambled noises.  

‘There is no such thing as society!’  A female voice screeched.  Then came ‘the miners, the miners will never be defeated!’  ‘Nobody ever remembers the printers,’ came another voice.  ‘And Liverpool have won the double,’ then came some music which sounded like things can only get better then a strange American talking about making America great again, and then the Beatles broke out ‘with all you need is love.’

‘Weird,’ Dan grimaced.  He suddenly felt out of synce as though he really didn’t know where he was.  Maybe it was the New Year after all 1967 was over and now it was 1968.  ‘Again.’  He thought but then that didn’t make sense or what Oscar was warning him.  Looking at the clock, Dan decided to go for a ride on his bike and see if he could get outside of Aidensfield.  One time he had meant to ride to London to surprise his folks but somehow he ended up back in Aidensfield.  Today Dan was determined he would at least get as far as Newcastle.  

‘He seems on a mission,’ Ventress said to Blaketon.

‘Aye.  It’s a shame.  I had high hopes for that one.’

‘Oh well.  Plenty more where he came from.’

Dan kept on pushing his motorbike to breaking point.  He was already getting agitated as he now put his head down and pushed the  bike down the hill.  Everything was a blur as he now raced up another hill and then there was the feeling he was in the air as though Dan was flying.  There was a loud rip as the bike smashed through the screen of Yorkshire dales and cloud as the motorbike landed with a heavy thud in a warehouse.  Confused Dan looked around at what seemed a desolate film studio.  

It didn’t stop him riding along looking for an exit until he spied a door.  Grappling with the lock it was too stiff so Dan got a crowbar and with a loud moan forced the door open.  Dan grinned as he got back on his bike and raced out with glee.  There was a new world out there and Dan wanted to see what Oscar Blaketon was hiding.  

Whizzing out at high speed Dan raced over the gates and landed on what seemed to be reddish, orange dusty surface that seemed to go on for miles.  Slowly he saw Big Ben’s clock face or what was left of it on it’s side as it was almost buried.

‘What the hell have I done?’

‘It was then that he felt a large whack around the back of his head with everything becoming dark.

Slowly Dan came round and found himself in a car that pulled up outside St. Aiden’s hospital.  Looking puzzled and wondering why he was wearing a smart suit he opened the door to be greeted by a grinning and rather dapper elderly gentleman.

‘Welcome to Elsinby Doctor Crane,’ beamed Mr Middleditch.

‘Where I’m I?’

‘The Royal.  Yes it may not look modern for 1968 but believe me the staff and I am sure you will provide the highest quality service.’

‘But I’m from Aidensfield.’

‘You were but this you’re new life Doctor Crane.  The lovely world of the 1960s were life was much simpler and nicer.’

‘AAAAGH!’  Screamed Dan.