Lit up – 9th October

Today’s a lazy day, so I doubt there’ll be much to blog about, except the light “show” Rosemary and I will be going to this evening. It’s going to be low light and packed with people, so I don’t think I’ll be taking my camera. No doubt I will kick myself, but when the time comes that I finally upload photos to past posts (maybe even tomorrow on the train!), don’t expect any flashes of colour on this page.

Talk to you soon!

9 September 2015

I was finishing off my blog this morning when there was a knock on my door. It was Michael with a cup of tea for me. He’s a Formula One fanatic and was going to watch his recordings of this morning’s practise sessions on the TV. Rosemary had instructed him that he was to bring herself and me a cup of tea before he started.

So I sat in bed, finished yesterday’s blog (apart from taking some notes about the North Yorkshire Moors Railway from the 1987 AA & Ordnance Survey Leisure Guide of the North York Moors, which I’ve just done), and edited what I’ve written of a chapter (#35) of my latest Thunderbirds story which I haven’t touched in about three weeks.

Michael go out to do his gardening job, so I was able to have breakfast at my leisure, help Rosemary with the dishes and then attempt to pack my/Pen’s bag. A hopeless exercise as you think you’re getting somewhere and then discover that you’ve still got to put you PJs in, along with your slippers, toiletry bag, etc…

I’ve just uploaded yesterday’s blog and it’s 11:54 (I was going to write PM, because that’s what EOS says – she’s still causing trouble.) AM.

It’s now 10:15 pm, and it is PM.

We had a lovely lunch. Pork schnitzel, carrots, beans, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, and homemade cheesecake for dessert.

You know how I said I wasn’t going to take my camera this evening?

I took my camera.

And I’m glad I did. Rosemary and I left early enough to catch the bus, that it was still daylight. Our first plan was to get some money, but that plan was thwarted when our bus arrived. It was a mad dash to catch it. I had to pay for a £4 ticket with a £20 note. I apologised.

Once in Leeds our first stop was the Leeds City Markets. Rosemary had managed to break the straps on both her watches and found a shop to repair them. I had a look around outside. She came dashing out. “Quick we’ve got to find an ATM! I need $11 to pay him!”

I said I could lend her the $11, so she was back in the shop quicker than the keeper had expected.

After a wander through the markets, which were fascinating because of their architecture and layout (one aisle was for butchers, another for fish – except that they’re working on the fish section at the moment and the fish was in with the meat), we hunted out that ATM machine. I also withdrew some money.

We walked past a Curry’s PC World and I went in there to ask them if they could get my cell phone working (only two weeks too late). We spoke to one guy and he said that he’d just got back from holiday and that he wasn’t too clued up on cell phones, but that that didn’t matter because he was the manager and Andre was the whizz kid. Soo Andre finished with his customer, had a drink of coke to rehydrate (supplied by the boss, but he said he would have preferred something non-fizzy), and then looked at my phone. I don’t know what he did, but he’s got it talking to the rest of England.

Then we went to the Corn Exchange. Once again this is an old building that’s been brought back to life by a range of shops.

I love structures with graceful, awe-inspiring, arched ceilings. Places like the British Museum, St Pancras Station, Kings Cross Station, Leeds Corn Exchange…

After a look around we tried to get some photos of Leeds fine old buildings – having to deal with buses, cars and people walking in front of the camera lens.

We also saw Victoria Arcade…

County Arcade…

And Thompsons (or was it Thorntons?) Arcade.

Victoria Arcade also had a white with pictures painted on it grand piano in the centre of the aisle. A young man came up to it, slung his pack off his shoulder, took a seat and started playing it the way it should be played. The acoustics were so good we could still hear him as we left the County Arcade which is joined to the Victoria Arcade in such a way that it forms a “H”. St Pancras Station was a little like that, except that it had three beaten up old upright pianos. And each of them was being played by a member of the public who had more than a little talent and was playing something close to the classical genre.

Rosemary sat outside Thorntons Arcade (if I had access to the Internet I’d find out) while I went in. They’ve got a clock with Robin Hood style figures. As it was just on 5.00pm I watched and videoed as the figure chimed out the hour.

The Light Night Leeds festival covers a large area and many genres. One of the options was a free walk up to the top of the Town Hall’s tower. (As opposed to paying £4 for that and a tour through the building – we got that for nothing last time.) Rosemary thought the queues for this would be horrendous, especially as she’d rung earlier in the day to book some tickets and had been told that the afternoon trips were booked out and they weren’t taking bookings for the evening.

We got to the front door of the Town Hall and hardly anyone was there.

So we went to the side door. Nope, we had to be at the front door.

By this point, about 5.30-5.45 the queue was about fifteen people. We chatted with a couple of ladies – one was Canadian and studying in Leeds and the other was a tourist. And then when they finally opened the doors and we got into the foyer we were given tickets nine and ten.

We were then asked to go to a neighbouring room, take a seat, and wait.

I was quite pleased about this, because the room we were waiting in, was the old courtroom. Last time I was here I hadn’t got photos of the doors that brides would emerge from for the wedding – aka the passage from the cells where the prisoners were kept before trial. This time I made sure I got those photos.

There are 209 steps to the top of the Town Hall tower, and they are very narrow, and very curvy. It was quite good when we got to the two thirds mark and could not only have a breather, but also unwind ourselves by ascending in the opposite direction.

This first stop was above the foyer and we were shown where the chandelier that hangs from the foyer’s ceiling was raised up to be cleaned. There was also a huge pipe jutting from the wall. This was the gas exhaust system from when the place was gas lit. Apparently throughout the building there were rams’ heads with tubes sticking out there mouths. That was where gas chandeliers had been.

Then it was the final ascent to the clock room. Here was saw the workings of the Leeds’ Town Hall’s four clocks. They all operated off the same central mechanism, so if one was wrong, all four were wrong… And the council would be told by the public if they were wrong.

We were then allowed to step outside and get some photos. There were a group of Asians who seemed more interested in getting selfies of themselves with their backs to the wall of the tower and not the view, but I tried to get plenty of photos. Rosemary pointed out the landmarks, but I think I’ve forgotten most of them.

Our next stop was the Cathedral, which was supposed to have something about the sun. It did, with a NASA projection of images of the sun slowly rotating on a screen behind the altar. There was also some kind of white noise with occasional strains of “music”. We couldn’t work out if the noise was supposed to be a spaceship, or the sounds of the sun. We didn’t wait for the full thirty minute loop.

We came upon one shop window that had a film projected onto it. The first film was of some – what’s the name of that activity where people (usually young men) throw themselves from one building to another and spin and tumble across gaps? Something French like Parket – anyway, they were doing it around Leeds. I decided to get a photo (could be a good idea for Thames’ sesquicentenary) and of course people chose that moment to either stand close to the window or walk in front of it.

Moving on to the museum square (I think it was outside the Leeds City Museum) there was a light display of five illuminated strings swirling. There was also a Flamin’ Rugby World Cup fan zone stuck right in the middle of the square blocking everyone and everything else. The best part of this were a couple of flamingos – stilt walkers wearing flamingo outfits. The kids loved them. They were covered in EL Wire so I was able to see it in action.

After this, and following a series of text messages, we met up with Rosemary’s daughter, Jenny. “Under the big owl.”

“Which big owl? There are several.”

“The one out front.”

“We’re by the big owl next to gate D.” Which seemed to be a more than adequate explanation.

Moving further on we found a building that had various lights, pictures, and patterns projected on it.

A booklet had been produced detailing the various events that were on, and one that I thought sounded interesting was one based on animal bioluminescence. It sounded more interesting in written form than in real life.

It was in Queen’s Square, which neither Rosemary nor Jenny had heard of, but we came across by accident. Once there we had to deal with another lot of unexplainable and too loud noise. There was a video screen showing a reef – in daylight – and a tree with a lot more EL wires dangling down. At a guess that was the tentacles of a jellyfish. The lighting of a nearby building was more aesthetically pleasing. As were the “candles” scattered about.

The next lot of noise, which was altogether more pleasing, was a group of Australian drummers. We heard them before we saw them and it was easy to follow our ears to where they were performing. They were very good – all in perfect rhythm, both with their playing and their swaying. They appeared to be enjoying themselves as much as their audience.

Rosemary wanted to show me Nelson Mandela Square, which she had shown me last time, but not at night. So of course I had to get more photos. (Thank heavens I took my camera. I left my camera bag at home.)

Another thing that we’d wanted to see, but thought we’d missed because we were in the wrong part of town, was the Owl parade. The three of us were heading up the street to catch the bus when we saw an owl “flying” down the street.

The Owl Parade.

It wasn’t long, but the headline act was especially good. I think the other participants were just “ordinary” people who had made their own lanterns for the parade.

Another thing we saw that was unexpected was a flock of… something (remember this was after dark) that suddenly flew out of a tree, did a circuit of the street and then returned. We did wonder if they were bats, but we think we saw feathers and they were tweeting.

And if you’re wondering about the (trying to remember the collective noun – it’s something to do with education, I think) campus(?) of owls mentioned and photographed in this blog entry, Leeds’ symbol is the owl.

I like owls.

Jenny joined us on the bus trip home. She’d planned on doing some grocery shopping and decided that it was easier to cadge off her mother (as you do). She has promised to replenish the stocks.

We arrived home to a message from Michael that “Pin” (I think he’s teasing me) had rung and could I ring back. The “ring back” consisted of three phone calls and, since I’d got it working, a number of texts to check that service was working.

Then I showed the Blakes a selection of my photos from the last few days. They got the good ones, not the less than good ones. I haven’t backed up today’s lot, so I’ll have to do that before I delete them off the card.

I was going to upload this using the train’s WiFi as I travelled from Leeds to Birmingham New Street. But it doesn’t want to connect.

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1 Response to Lit up – 9th October

  1. Pen says:

    I think it’s a ‘parliament’ of owls


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