10 November 2013

Saturday

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

13 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lovely day you and Shirley had with Super Daughter YP. And you still had time to play wedding photographer, keeper of the peace and capture that great photo of the Town Hall on what looks like a cold November afternoon to me. Brrr!

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    1. Carol - you missed out helping seven old ladies across the road, writing an art review for "The Times", being a stand in Santa Claus at the Christmas Market and scoring a hat trick for Leeds United. Apart from that it was a pretty uneventful Saturday afternoon.

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  2. Glad you had a good day.
    The last shot is a beauty.

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    1. I always appreciate it when a man so steeped in photography gives one of my pictures the thumbs up.

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  3. Lovely post. I must say I was relieved you mentioned the words 'fumigation' and 'tidying up' with relation to Super-Daughter, as I have one too - ie. perfect in every OTHER way ...
    And what gorgeous light on those buildings... the last one looks like a painting already.
    I wish we had more older buildings in New Zealand.

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    1. We can sell you a few older buildings if you want. After all Arizona bought the original London Bridge - perhaps thinking they'd be getting Tower Bridge!

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  4. I'm afraid Sheffield suffered a similar fate to that of Wrexham. Sheffiled got Meadowhall, which killed its shopping centre. We got Eagles Meadow, which is tiny compared to Meadowhall but has had a similar effect. I could weep when I walk around Wrexham now. Glad you had such a lovely day, though.

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    1. Planners have a lot to answer for. I remember Sheffield before Meadowhall when the city centre really did buzz...but there have been other mistakes too. Opportunities lost. Some good things demolished. Perhaps we should make Wrexham our Welsh twin town. We could mope together.

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  5. You sly fox, you! You neglected to mention in your post that Frances was getting married on the steps of Leeds City Hall -- one can see you there in the fourth row if one looks closely -- and I'm sure that at least six of the seven old ladies didn't want to cross the road in the first place. Always putting yourself in the best light, eh? We'll have none of that. Truth in blogging. That's what I say.

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    1. P.S. - I don't doubt the hat trick for a minute.

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    2. "Truth in blogging"? And that coming from a guy who thinks he's either Johann Sebastian Bach or Billy Ray Barnwell or a CIA spy (Swedish Division). Honestly Bob a session on an analyst's couch would do you a world of good!

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  6. I just don't think Shirley could stand for it this time! Are you really beginning to collect Parking Enforcement Officers again? Really? Really?! You can't be that bored yet.....winter has yet to begin. Just leave those hardworking folks alone, Mr. Pudding! Good Heavens!

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    Replies
    1. Madam Thyme...I can't help it! I am addicted to parking enforcement officers. May I send you a couple? You don't need to feed them much and they'll do all your chores for you. It serves them right for persecuting motorists!

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.