One of the afternoon’s highlights was getting the opportunity to hear from the winner himself, David Pechey, who had journeyed across the Pennines for the day with his wife, Christine. He modestly and engagingly described
the somewhat fortuitous events that led to him being able to capture – and subsequently submit – the image (‘Bus Queue’, taken in Galle, Sri Lanka) that had won the overall prize. This was a remarkable tale of making one’s own luck, and of ‘being in the right place at the right time’ – one that struck a chord with us all, even those with considerably less photographic expertise than David.
And then, all too soon, it was over: our throng dispersed into all the galleries’ diverse corners, and thence into the gathering gloom outside. But the exhibition itself continues, beautifully lit and open for a month until mid-February, so do get there if you can, or pay a visit at any time of year if you wish to be inspired.
For me, though, this was also a chance to explore. Whenever I’m in Northallerton, I try to take the opportunity to discover a little more of this underrated North Yorkshire market town. With stalls lining the broad High Street on Saturdays, and a low-key – yet vibrant – atmosphere (even on a cold January afternoon), it’s a fine place to while away an hour or so. And, in addition to the Galleries, one place I love to seek out is the renowned food store, Lewis & Cooper. This Aladdin’s cave is a treasure trove of comestible delight, and once you’ve been drawn inexorably into its depths, and have witnessed the cornucopia of foodie treats on the deli counter at the back, you might start to wonder whether you’ll ever escape.
But emerge I did, and, laden with a few impulse buys and some treats for dinner, I made my way back to the railway station, warmed by an afternoon well spent, and full of Slow Moments’ inspiration for my journey back to York.