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Tigger went off early for her train leaving me to enjoy a more leisurely start. To my relief I saw that the rain had gone and that it was a clear and sunny day.
The traffic was reduced to a slow crawl but that’s usual for this time of day and, if necessary, I can walk to the station easily enough.
I left the house at about 8:50 and boarded a 73. By 9:03 I was at Kings Cross looking up my train on the departures board. As I had half an hour to wait I went for a walk and took this photo of the sun peeping over the chimney stack of the Great Northern Hotel.
My reserved seat is at the end of a carriage. This has the disadvantage that it’s right beside the luggage rack so I have had a few bottoms shoved in my face as people struggled to stow their heavy cases but now the train is on its way, everything is calm.
My seat companion is a young woman with multicoloured hair and many piercings in her ears, eyebrows and lips. She is possibly a student but I will probably never know for sure as she looks fixedly out of the window perhaps absorbed by the music from her personal stereo.
Tigger has let me know by SMS how she is faring. All is well so far and she is due to arrive at Leeds at 9:46. If the train is on time she will meet the deadline with ease.
At 10:00, Tigger lets me know the job is done and dusted, another mission accomplished with aplomb…
Half an hour later, although it is sunny where we are, Tigger tells me it’s raining in Leeds. She is riding the free bus as a way of seeing the town. I have promised to try to bring the sun with me to Leeds.
My multicoloured seat companion left the train at Peterborough so I was not able to verify my conjecture that she was a student. I now have a new companion, more conventional in appearance, but equally quiet.
When I arrived at Leeds, Tigger was waiting in the main station concourse. The rain had ceased and it seemed as if I really had brought the sun with me.
We slowly made our way towards the pub where we hoped to have lunch, taking in the sights as we went. I find Leeds quite an elegant city, especially in the central area where there are a lot of beautiful buildings dating from an affluent past.
We reached the Horse and Trumpet and entered, looking forward to a good meal. Alas, although the pub looked the same as before, the menu had changed and there was nothing to interest us. The Rule of Three* had come into play.
We reluctantly left the Horse and Trumpet and started searching. Tigger remembered seeing a Portofino Italian restaurant in Albion Court and that’s where we ended up.
After eating we continued walking but then it started to rain again, so we went into Debenhams for a browse until the shower passed. Then we visited a couple of the famous arcades. These are magnificent and any city would be proud to have any one of them but Leeds has several. I doubt whether there is any other city that can boast a similar collection.
Then there is Leeds Market, equally impressive in its own style and kind.
After the market we caught the free bus for a motorized tour and disembarked at the Leeds Art Gallery. We had a look at some of the exhibits and then gravitated naturally towards the magnificently decorated hall that today houses the cafe. This is just about the finest tea room I know of.
It had been chilly throughout but now the light was also beginning to fade. We therefore again took the free bus which conveniently for us, calls at the station. It was now 4:15 and the next train for Kings Cross would be in 25 minutes. This gave us time for a quick look at what we think was the old ticket hall with a high arched ceiling and Art Deco lamps.
As the train was already at the platform, we went went aboard. It was not nearly as crowded as my train this morning and we had a table to ourselves. By the time the train pulled out of the station, the daylight had gone altogether; so we felt we had done the right thing in taking this train.
We reached Kings Cross without further ado and the 214 carried us up the hill to home where the slow cooker was waiting with supper ready prepared.
*The Rule of Three is an empirical law that applies to restaurants. It works as follows. You discover a restaurant, cafe or pub that impresses you with the quality of its food and service. You go back a second time and are equally impressed. The third time you go, you are disappointed because it has gone downhill to the point where you decide not to return there again.
I call it the Rule of Three but sometimes you may make 4 or even 5 visits before the decline occurs.