|Leeds - an old printing works near |
the German Christmas Market
Yorkshire has six cities. They are Hull, Ripon, York, Bradford, Sheffield and err...what's the other one...oh yes - Leeds. That is where our lovely daughter Frances has ended up living and working - more by accident than design but gradually the city has won her over and she's pretty happy there - even thinking of buying a house there in the near future.
Until she moved to Leeds in August 2011, I didn't know it well at all - even though it's just thirty five ,miles up the M1 motorway from Sheffield. Like many Yorkshire people, I used to view Leeds with some disdain. It was too big for its boots and it had a football team that had gained worldwide renown and was always on television - the mighty Leeds United. The Yorkshire BBC and ITV studios were there and they had a Harvey Nichols store too. Perhaps the rest of us were a little bit envious of the place.
Yesterday Shirley and I drove up to Leeds to spend the day with Frances. She's a bit of a slob domestically speaking so there was some tidying up and fumigation to do in the flat she shares with Alex before we crossed the road for lunch in "The Palace" public house. Then we walked through the central business district towards Leeds City Art Gallery and the temporary Christmas market. The place was bustling with shoppers, street artistes, citizens rich and poor and there were eateries, coffee shops, spacious bars and up-market fashion shops. It had a real "buzz" about it - a thriving city centre.
Shirley and Frances wanted to indulge in a weird "girlie" activity called shopping while I perused exhibits in the art gallery. Although not bulging with artwork, there were some marvellous pieces to enjoy. Original paintings by Atkinson Grimshaw and Stanley Spencer, abstract sculpture by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth and a visiting exhibition by iconic Cornish artists including the naive painter of seaside scenes - Alfred Wallis (1855-1942). A fisherman by trade and unschooled, he frequently painted on bits of cardboard or plywood - just for the love of it until "discovered" by an establishment artist called Ben Nicholson who was the main driver behind the St Ives arts commune.
Later we returned to Frances's flat - absorbed the awful news that Hull City had lost 4-1 to Southampton and then strolled over to Clarence Dock for a delightful curry meal in the new "Mumtaz" restaurant which is a cousin of the highly successful establishment of the same name in Bradford. Eating my tender karahi lamb with pilau rice, chutneys and buttered fresh nan bread made the tragic football news easier to bear. And as always it had of course been a pleasure to see Super-Daughter again. In spite of myself, I am beginning to see why she's happy to put down roots in Leeds. It's bustling central area makes Sheffield's look somewhat underwhelming.
|Parking ticket dispute on Cookridge Street, Leeds just |
before I wrestled the parking enforcement officer to the
ground. He was later tarred and feathered by a baying
mob of Christmas shoppers
|Leeds Civic Hall with one of its golden owls|
|Wedding party on the steps of Leeds Town Hall|
|Harbour, St Ives|
by Alfred Wallis
|Leeds Town Hall in November afternoon light|