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Phil’s Travels – Leeds, England (04.23)


Phil’s Travels – Leeds, England (04.23)

No rest for the wicked. The day after my return from Cameroon, I was up at dawn to get to Harry Potter’s station and catch the 07.33 to Harrogate via Leeds. Potter’s place was not busy (too early for Potter acolytes) and the train mostly empty, despite it being prime time and priced accordingly. We left London in glorious sunshine and my east facing seat allowed me to bathe in its warm glow all the way north.

At Leeds Station I met up with one of the bonny lads from the over the border and we took a quick turn around the purpose of our visit to this, the would-be capital of the north. Our baby was some six stories out of the ground and growing rapidly, rising by one new floor every 2.5 weeks. It will top out in no time.

We ventured into the neighbouring multi-storey carpark and took the lift to 10th floor to get an aerial view of the works and the very low-tech way of pouring concrete onto a slab (two blokes holding a big pipe with straps and five other blokes spreading the sauce with rakes). Looking good. We descended and returned to the station to pick up two more bonny lads and went back to our 10th floor carpark eerie for a further gander. Our project will top out at 12 floors, whereby the top floor will be a Rooftop bar/restaurant with two terraces and the best views in Leeds (once the northeast corner is resolved).

Back on terra firma, we walked back to the station, a well-trodden path that day, and caught a taxi out to the contractor’s office for meetings and inspection of the Mock-up Rooms (MUR). We were presented with the latest ideas for the Rooftop and chatted through some clarifications and useful tweaks. Lunch followed death-by-Powerpoint, whereby the volume of sandwiches and northern delicacies could have catered for most of Yorkshire. Still, thanks very much Mr Contractor, lovely grub.

We went to the back of the yard and inspected the two MURs (an apartment key and a regular key). Both had issues, but coming along and will come good in the end.

We took a taxi back to our favourite spot, Leeds Station, and dropped off a colleague and headed to the Doubletree for a quick squiz at their Rooftop bar. Pleasant enough, but severely lacking in any ‘wow’ factor, except for the view of course. It shares its level with some meeting rooms, so not sure how business marries with the fun of the bar. Our Rooftop will be mucho mejor. Watch this space.

A swift Diet Coke later we walked to the centre of the universe, Leeds Station (or is that Perpignan Railway Station, at least according to Salvador Dali anyway – I have been there, I did not feel the pull of the universe there, nor in Leeds). Anyway, the bonny lads headed back up to the glens and I headed back south to the Big Smoke.

All my trains were on time and conductors very funny and helpful. Wifi also good. But, the seats were super uncomfortable and my back will suffer for days after. At Kings Cross the sun had gone and rain prevailed, and the station was way busier. I avoided the temple of Potter and headed home to work on my aching back and, needing to recharge my batteries for further travels next week, my first good night’s sleep in days.

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