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York wynds © Freefoto

June 22 – Fairytales Can Come True
Fairytales can come true ... but watch out for dragons

Wending our way through the wynds, we finally give up and ask a guide, costumed in Victorian regalia, for assistance in locating an ATM. He sends us up one street, across another and soon we find ourselves in a huge square, next to the Disney store and across the street from a bank.

I'm a little worried about using the machine, as my bank had merged with another bank only a month before leaving on my trip. A few days before leaving home there was an article in the financial section of the newspaper reporting that some customers were having problems with electronic transfers. Even though I talked with my bank's branch manager and expressed my concern about what I'd read and she assured me I wouldn't have a problem, I'm still quite nervous. This is all going through my mind as I stand behind Dana, listening to the beeps and clicks as the machine processes her request, and rewards her with a fistful of British currency.

She steps aside, and I step up. Aware that I am holding my breath, I release it purposefully, insert my card, punch in my PIN and smile as the machine whirls and clicks. But . . . but . . . nothing's coming out. A message flashes on the monitor: "Your card has been retained," with a phone number to call for further information.

"It ate my card," I whisper incredulously. Robin shoots a sidelong glance in my direction. "That's not funny." "It ATE my card," I say a little louder. I quickly realize that there isn't anything any of us can do about this tonight. It's 8:00PM and we are tired, road-weary and hungry. I have about £5 in my wallet, and hope that will be enough to get me through until morning, when I will, somehow, deal with this problem.

Finding it difficult not to drag my feet, I fall into step behind Robin and Dana. I tell myself not to pout, but the circumstances really put a damper on the end of an otherwise perfect day. We soon locate Plunketts and, luckily, are seated quickly. I know that a proper meal will help me fight the doldrums, but I have sunk into such a funk that nothing on the menu really appeals to me. I end up forsaking my vow to order something I've never heard of and settle on a "California Salad" – a platter with little lettuce, but huge mounds of chopped boiled egg, grilled chicken, cheese, and ripe olives.

After a mostly silent meal we head back toward the car park, passing York Minster, which is closed due to opening night of the Millennium Mystery Plays. I halfheartedly admire the gargoyles, a particular interest of mine, gawking at me from up on high. I try to shrug of my mood, telling Robin and Dana that I want to return with my zoom lens before we leave York to take pictures. But "the ATM ate my card" is a refrain going through my head and knowing that I have to deal with the bank first thing in the morning leaves me feeling a little disillusioned.

As we arrive back at Feversham, Robin comforts me by restating a fact that I have held onto since the debacle at the ATM. An online friend of mine who has worked for the bank for many years will be in York the next day and we have plans to meet. If a dragon has to appear in my fairytale-come-true, at least I have a St. George lined up to, hopefully, slay the beast.

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