Tag Archives: Leeds

It’s grim up north?

Well no, it’s not. Having just got back from a small town outside of Leeds (Heckmondwike), I found it rather a relaxing experience. Yes the journey up there was long and full of delays, yes the M1 is a horrid motorway and yes, the boy screamed for a large part of the journey. But when you get up north certain things change for the better. Here comes my list of northern wonders. most of them car based…

1) people drive normally. Someone said to me the other day that driving in London is like driving in a race. I think she was right. I turn into a real arse in London traffic. I don’t let anyone out or in, I put my foot down when I don’t need to and I swear (a lot). Up in the Leeds area I was let out by a nice lady, in turn I let someone else out. I can’t remember the last time I was let out in London (and in turn I can’t remember the last time I let someone out).

2) crossing the road. Where I live you have a 50/50 chance of some one in a car stopping for a pedestrian even on a designated crossing. Where I work this percentage drops to zero. When visiting my friends, a young man (in a hot hatch sported up car with a very loud stereo) let us across the road and it wasn’t even a crossing. His music still sucked though!

3) the pace of life. People walk around up north, they don’t march. If you stroll in London then you get barged past more often than not. If you don’t run off the tube and to the escalator then you get pushed along. This happens irrespective of age, ability or what you are carrying (even if what you are carrying is a small child). I can’t see the need to run between stops, 20 seconds isn’t gonna make that much difference, you’re not that important.

So there we go. I really liked my visit up to Leeds, it was relaxing and rejuvenating. Will I be moving up there? Not a chance. I like the pace of life down here as much as my friends like the pace of life up where they live. We do like to visit each other, but as Dorothy said ‘there’s no place like home’. If only I had some ruby slippers and didn’t have to use the M1 motorway.

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The journey

Sorry for the lack of blogs the last couple of days, Christmas and all that.

I blog to you today from a little town outside Leeds, that’s right, I’ve gone national! Nothing to do with the books or author stuff, just visiting friends. It’s the journey up here that got me thinking about travel in general.

There are certain rules I tend to follow when going on a long journey. Wether or not these rules make the travel easier is debatable, although they do make me feel better and more in control. An illusion I am sure as I can’t control the roads or any form of time tables. So here are the rules I follow…

1) when driving, get as far as you can before you stop at the services. Even if you or your copilot need a wee, I go by the ‘one more services’ school of thought. I suppose the real reason behind it is the hope you might do it in one stint. This gives the driver (usually a man) a real sense of pride. Why? Got me there.

2) it’s ok to be delayed before you are in the vehicle. Delays at the airport are pretty good these days. Not that they don’t happen, that’s not the good part, it’s that you now have shops and pubs. Last time I was at London Heathrow I was disappointed that the flight was on time. As soon as you get on the plane though it’s a different story. 5 minutes delay in the air feels like an eternity.

3) don’t get false hope in a traffic jam. You are sat for hours, moving millimetres at time, fighting to keep as close as possible to the person in front in case someone pushes in and extends your journey time by 20 seconds. You feel miserable (a feeling made worse by a screaming child) and then the traffic starts to move. 10 miles an hour, 20, 30, 40, you start to hope, you think this is it, we are going, the jam has ended. Then 30, down to 20, then 10, then stop. You are left feeling worse than before because you dared to hope.

4) take plenty of sweets (unless on a train). I like a good Murray mint or a Wethers original. The worst kind is the flaky chocolate as you show up looking like you’ve had an accident. Why not the train? Sweets don’t mix with beer.

The other thing that really makes me grumpy is when the information thingys tell you to stick to 40 and you haven’t moved in 10 minutes. This leads to me shouting at inanimate objects!

May your roads be clear and your flights on time.

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