Monday, November 20, 2006

Coughing for Europe, not sleeping, buying coats and Sunday in Leeds.

The infuriating cough is still hanging around. It waxes and wanes throughout the day, reaching a peak of annoyingness around about 11pm right through until about 3.30am. As a consequence I've not really slept much for about four days. Last night I decided I'd try a double measure of whisky, hot water, some honey and ginger in the hope it would just knock me out. It did the trick, but every hour until 5ish, I woke up to have a good old rattling rasp, then I'd fall back into fitful sleep again. Not good. That aside, I've had an enjoyable last few days pottering about. On Saturday I had a shopping mission to complete. I've been eyeing up a new coat for a few weeks attempting to try and justify laying out the cash for it. On Saturday I finally convinced myself that the time to purchase the thing had arrived. I'm very pleased with it I have to say and can been seen modelling the item on my Myspace Page . Aah vanity is a terrible thing ;-) . BTW if you're not already on Myspace I can certainly reccomend it. I've met some great people through it and you do get quite attached to your virtual friends on there. It's not just for the kids, I've got buddies on there ranging from their early 20s to their 60s. Sign up and send me a friend request and I'll be pleased to approve you.
Yesterday we headed off into Leeds. Thursday saw the start of the annual Christkindelmarkt in the city and we thought we'd pop along. Then we went and spent a large part of the afternoon in The Faversham, which is a Leeds indie institution up by the University. They do excellent sunday lunches and with it being a student haunt they're not that pricey. I noticed that fellow resident of this part of York, Rick Witter, former lead singer of Shed Seven is on there on the 16th December with his new band, The Dukes.
The Fav is co-managed by Ash Kollakowski who also runs Leeds indie label Bad Sneakers, and it's been instrumental in assisting the development of the current crop of exciting Leeds bands. With Sheffield down the road being as alive with music as it is at present there is a real positive cultural feeling abroad in these parts at present. It's all good.
Leeds is a great place these days. It always used to feel like a bit of a tired old provincial city living on former glories, with some great architecture but an overall feeling of greyness. That's really changed over the past decade and increasingly it feels like a coherent European city at the centre of a coherent region. There's less reference to London and the south, more to the continent. City centre living is now really popular with countless swish apartment blocks rising up around the old canals and wharfs. The financial sector is booming and it's having an effect on everything round about. Here in York we live in the so-called "Golden Triangle" which exists between Harrogate, York and Central/North East Leeds, in which house prices have spiralled and so too have expectations of what we can be about. It's good news of course if you own a house, damned frustrating if you're trying to get a toehold on the ladder. I did notice that in central Leeds lots of the developers are now offering so-called "crash pads", one bedroom studios in very neat blocks that come in at less than £100,000 to help young professionals get going. The hard task though is translating that success into parts of the region that have remained relatively untouched by over the past decade, something which in my opinion will require a greater local control over issues of economic development and planning. How that comes about though is anyones guess ? Anyone for city-regions.
After dinner we wandered down to the Corn Exchange for a bit more shopping before catching the train home. Speaking of the Corn Exchange, there are plans afoot to turn the empty Bonding Warehouse on the banks of the Ouse in York into something similar. It makes perfect sense to me. Small scale, alternative and bohemian-ish businesses operating out of a lovely, but currently deteriorating old building is just what York needs. It's slightly off the beaten track, but not really so and is well placed for the Scarcroft Road area, Bishophill and Fishergate, where exactly the kind of people who would shop there tend to live. With the University set to grow by 20% over the next few years as well the timing couldn't be better. Seem's like a no-brainer to me, but all is not as it seems. A rival developer is proposing an upmarket hotel, gym and fitness club for the site and is clearly rattled by the alternative plans. He's resorted to throwing accusations about the Corn Exchage style idea being "hippy nonsense" and "airy fairy", which are as splendidly archaic as they are laughable. It's shaping up into a classic battle of good versus evil and who can tell which side will win out eventually ? It's impossibe to predict with our dotty council who I hope retain enough of their quirky Liberal instincts to back the right horse.
This morning we went and had a furtive wander around the old Terry's factory site which is now part of the proposed Chocolate Works development. They're converting it into offices, apartments, an art gallery, shops and a hotel. We're keeping an eye out for news of the apartments as we both quite fancy the idea of living in a sweetie factory.

No comments: