Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where He Leeds, You Follow

It has been brought to my attention by a couple of people that my blogging has been a little lax recently. In my defense, there's virtually nothing to tell. For the last month I've been sitting in my room staring at the wall. I actually stuck some pictures to the wall, to make it more interesting. Before that all I had to look at was a political map of India that one of the previous tennants left behind. I've been wistfully reading Lonely Planet guides about places that are warmer than here, which is everywhere.

My Irish flatmates moved out a few weeks ago, and the other tennant won't help, so it's been left to me to find the replacement. I've spent a fair chunk of the last 3 weekends vacuuming and scrubbing the bathroom so the place looks like less of a sty. A couple of Kiwis are moving in at the weekend, which I'm pleased about.

So given that I've done nothing interesting recently, it's a good thing that I've never reported on my trip to Leeds:

In December, someone sent me a link whereby you could book cheap hotel rooms in January. I tried to get one in Bath or Chester, but they were both booked out, so I tried Leeds and it was available. Why Leeds? Well, I had complained to my brother that the flaw in the brilliant London museums was the lack of weaponry or military history. He told me that all the good historical weaponry was at the Leeds Armoury, so I was keen to see it. It was my birthday in January, so this was my present to myself. In the end, the train ticket was so insanely overpriced as to render the whole trip expensive anyway.

I needed the trip. There was sad news from home and my job was going terribly, and to be honest I spent a lot of my time in Leeds sighing and blinking back tears. It's not all strawberries at Wimbledon, over here.

Anyway, I arrived at midday on Saturday and headed straight for Kirkstall Abbey. It's quite a long walk out of the city and it was bitterly cold. The website says 3.5 miles, but it seemed more to me. Kirkstall Abbey is an old ruined Cistercian abbey. I spent quite a while there.

Kirkstall Abbey

On the way, I detoured to try and visit the industrial museum which is at an old mill, but it was closed and would've been boring if it was open. But near there I spotted this ruined shed:

Ruined shed

In the evening, I went to the Leeds museum. The staff were friendly and it was well presented, but there just didn't seem to be any very important exhibits. It felt like a small-town collection.

A few weeks ago, one of my flatmates was telling me about an article in the local newspaper about some students in Cambridge who have to make do on a food budget of 20 pounds per week. I was a little surprised at that, as my weekly food bill is about 10 pounds. I'm living to an extreme budget over here (I don't think I've had takeaways since I left London almost 6 months ago and I've only bought meat a couple of times), so in Leeds I treated myself to a meal at a nice Italian restaurant.

The next day, I got up early and walked across town to the Armoury. Although it was freezing again, I passed 5 guys fishing in the river. The only thing these guys were catching was plurisy:

I was also struck by this sign. I'm not sure of the exact context, but it's almost the exact opposite of the ones I saw on the Golden Gate Bridge last year:

Leeds Armoury

This is where Leeds is spending all it's historical preservation money. It's absolutely top-notch. I forget which, but one of these suits of armour was owned by Henry the 8th.

Henry the 8th's Armour?

I'm not sure if you can make out that photo of the stairwell, but those are all weapons and suits of armour going up 5 floors. That place is worth a visit, and it even has a touch of Kiwi:

The orc Lurtz

The weather has finally started to improve now. I'm in a rush to get my touring bike finished, and then there should be some more to report. A budget store chain called Lidl's is having a sale on cycling gear this week, but there isn't one in Cambridge, so on Saturday I'm going to an exotic sounding town called Letchworth to try and stock up on supercheap bike stuff.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good to see you're back and Leeding the way!

At last, something to consider that doesn't come under the FmX moniker.