As you know my two little birds have both grown and flown. Independently of one another No 1 Daughter and No 1 Son have fluttered their way to Leeds in West Yorkshire – thank goodness we are Cumbrians and not Lancastrians! – and made their homes in this stunning city.
Yesterday instead of traveling North to Carlisle I waited on the opposite platform to travel south then east to meet up with my girl S and spend a day in her new home town. First port of call Giraffe for some veggie breakfast, a superb pot of tea and a mother-daughter natter and discussion about what to do with the rest of the day. Leeds’ Giraffe is situated in the new Trinity Centre on Albion Street. While I am not the world’s biggest fan of large shopping centres I have to confess Trinity is beautifully laid out with some airy and light architectural touches,
and opportunities for small independent traders….more of that later.
I love the broad pedestrianized streets of this northern city especially those that run between the stylish and sophisticated arcades of the Victoria Quarter which I am amazed to discover were designed by theatre architect Frank Matcham.
A few years ago I went on a tour of the Gaiety Theatre in Douglas on the Isle of Man which is a Frank Matcham designed theatre. It was a fascinating insight into the work of this prodigious architect. I couldn’t believe his work stretched to shopping malls..
On this occasion however we were too distracted by the colourful Andean musicians even to notice Mr. Matcham’s ornate constructions.
They sounded as good as they looked.
No 1 daughter and her boyfriend R live in one of the new developments along the canal which meant a very picturesque walk to their city centre home
and a pretty little bridge adorned by the latest trend in affirmations of endearment.
This is what I love about urban living. Being able to walk to everything you need! Leeds is a city surrounded by easily reachable beautiful countryside yet living in the centre you can also access so much by foot. Theatres, cinemas, community venues and of course cafes and shops are all on your doorstep. S has joined many great groups – the Women’s Institute is one of them….that’s my girl…. – and can see opportunities for starting up her own hobby and community initiatives using local independent cafes as venues. All without hopping in the car. It makes my heart sing. Oops eulogy over.
Having had time-out to play with S and R’s characterful – for characterful read he pee’d on my foot – little dog, George. S and I went off to our main venue for the day the Thackray Medical Museum which is next to St James’ Hospital (gulp).
In the recent past I made a visit to The Surgeons’ Hall Museums in Edinburgh with my latin-learning friend AH. I am not particularly squeamish but even I suffered a loss of appetite after peering at the HUGE and gruesomely fascinating collection of pathological anatomy held there.
I was therefore a little hesitant about repeating the experience too soon. But I needn’t have worried for although the Thackray unavoidably conveys our grisly medical past it does so through narratives based on the lives of a number of Victorian characters and their medical conditions. Where the Surgeons’ Hall appeals to adult academic interest the Thackray is very hands on, smelly (Victorian streets definitely whiffed) and family friendly. S and I had a great time, and while there were no children present enjoyed ourselves having a go at checking our reflexes (mine non-existent) and finding out about why people trump! Notably we both scuttled quickly past archive footage of a poor soul having their foot amputated….
Thankfully we were not put off our food. Despite carefully following the dietary tract journey of a pea (it takes 24 hours in case you were wondering) we sought out tea and returned to Trinity Kitchen. Here miraculously parked amongst the restaurants are a clutch of independently owned caravans and campers there on 4-week pitches selling scrumptious edibles. Remember I mentioned eons ago when I started this blog that the Trinity Shopping Centre gave scope to independent outlets?
We opted for Vietnamese street food
made by the lovely enthusiastic Emily Boothroyd. Emily told us about her travels around Vietnam where she picked up her passion for the country and its cuisine. Our spicy blackbean tofu and aubergine banh mi(s) were succulent and tasty. A perfect end to a lovely day.
And on that happy note I will leave you until next we meet. Moke.