Wednesday 9 September 2015


Leeds is a solid Yorkshire town.

A solid iron, presumably Victorian, bridge spans the canal just down from our mooring.

A solid Victorian church reaches to the sky. This parish church has recently been entitled "Leeds Minster", a church warden informed us, for some reason which he seemed not entirely to understand or to sympathise with. The building is unusual, in that the entrance brings you to a point between the nave and the chancel, which are of equal length, so you're half way up the church as you enter. It also has galleries, more commonly seen in non-conformist churches of the period, where preaching was centre stage.

The older buildings in the town are also solid, and quite a contrast to the more recent additions. I didn't think it was an entirely happy mix.

We made our way to where the town hall sits. It was hosting a wedding today, though concerts are its more usual fare.

We decided on a cultural infusion, and started in the Henry Moore Institute next door but one, dedicated to promoting the art of sculpture. It has an exhibition entitled "Palpable Sculture: Paul Neagu". Neagu was a British-Romanian sculptor, and his idea with palpable sculpture seems to have been to make it multi-sensory and deny the pre-eminence of the eye. Now the pieces we saw were very enjoyable and interesting, but everywhere there were signs saying: "Do not touch the exhibits". That struck me as being the complete antithesis, not only of what the artist was intending, but also of the actual title of the exhibition.

So we left, a little disillusioned, and moved on to the art gallery next door. We spent a while, up and down in the lift, trying to find the art, but we mostly found the library and the café. However, we did find a gallery full of Leeds tapestries, celebrating the town, and done by various people and groups to a standard size, mostly involving a good deal of collage. They were good fun. But by the time we got to the end of the gallery, we were suffering a bit from two cases of "museum leg" and decided to call it a day without actually going inside the town hall.

After a restorative cuppa back on Erin Mae we realised we should probably buy some foodstuffs being leaving Leeds, and located a Sainburys Local in the train station. That's fairly close to our mooring, so we popped along. And there, in the station outside the shop, was a piano with "Play me" plastered all over it in about 50 different languages. I couldn't resist.

Well, I haven't played a piano since we started this cruise. The only NT house we've visited didn't have one. So I spent a very contented 15 minutes or so, keeping other would-be exhibitionists off this instrument. It wasn't the highest quality, but it had been properly tuned. Mind you, I'm not quite sure what happened to railway ticket sales from Leeds during this period.


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