Today we are off on a courier run or, rather, Tigger is. Her destination is Leeds, and as I write these words, aboard my train at Kings Cross, she is well on her way, having taken an early train.
I would in any case have travelled later for cost reasons (while Tigger’s expenses are reimbursed, mine are not) but today there is a second reason: I had a previously arranged doctor’s appointment this morning. As my appointment was at 9 am and the first train I could take was at 9:35, I kept the appointment in the hope that I would still make my train. And I did, thanks to some fancy footwork and a helpful bus.
I am not going to Leeds, however. We have already been to that interesting city several times recently and even though we would still enjoy a visit, I am sure, Tigger suggested we meet in Wakefield, a town that we have not hitherto explored.
My train is heading north under leaden skies whose dull light casts a sulky mood over the countryside. As villages and farms speed past, the sun makes abortive attempts to appear. Tigger, meanwhile, passing through Wakefield, has run into sunshine. Perhaps we shall be lucky and have fine weather for our visit.
As we continue north, the sky, though still overcast, lightens. The countryside is now lit with an even illumination as if by a window glazed with frosted glass. It is a strange light but not unpleasant. Everything is clearly delineated without shadows or sharp contrasts.
The fields appear in a range of colours from beige to deep green, passing through browns and mottled effects. On the horizon, the sky is streaky and showing signs of blue. Perhaps we are heading for a sunnier prospect.
Just after 10 am, Tigger lets me know the job is done and half an hour later that she is aboard a train to Wakefield. She will arrive well before me, having the shorter distance to travel.
In the meantime, we have run out from under the solid cloud and by the time we reach Grantham, are enjoying blue skies and sunshine.
Tigger was waiting for me at Wakefield station and we took the free city bus to the centre. This adds another city to our list of those that run a useful free bus service around the centre. I think more towns should consider setting up such services.
Beside the bus station is the modern Market Hall which also has some outside stalls. It is not as pretty as some of the ancient markets we have seen, and I am not sure how thriving it is. It seemed pretty quiet when we were there.
We walked down Northgate to where the fountain, looking rather like a large spider made of water, amuses the children who walk under the water arcs without getting wet.
The Cathedral is quite handsome, though difficult to photograph in its entirety, because it is closely surrounded by buildings. It has been purveying delusion and superstition since at least 1150 and has passed through many phases of rebuilding, the last during the late 1800s and early 1900s, which accounts for its relatively “modern” look.
The spire, at 247 feet, is said to be the tallest church spire in Yorkshire. You will find notes on the history and architecture of the Cathedral here.
Next to the Cathedral is a pleasant square with trees and benches where one can sit in the shade and relax (and maybe do some forbidden pigeon feeding).
Looking for lunch, we walked on down to Kirkgate and chanced upon Val’s Tea shop, where we had a so-so meal.
We had a good walk around, as we usually do, and found that one characteristic of this town is that side streets are often called “yards”, and have names hinting at their purpose in the past, like this one, Woolpacks Yard. Today, they are often regarded as merely handy places for storing dustbins.
We found some interesting buildings, such as these almshouses…
… and the Opera house…
… and this fine old pub.
There were of course plenty of modern buildings to see, some not too bad, some depressingly ugly. On the whole, though, we found Wakefield a pleasant little town and enjoyed exploring what it had to offer the casual visitor.
For a while we joined the many people sitting around the Cathedral on benches, walls, steps and, as in our case, the grass. It was a good place to chill.
Finding ourselves back at Wakefield Westgate station, we took a final circular ride on the Free City bus.
Unfortunately, I fell asleep – something I often do on buses for some reason – so I missed most of the tour. Never mind, I had already seen most of it on foot.
Back at the station, we debated what to do. We were booked onto the 17:17 train and had a while to wait. Now, it so happens that Pumpkin cafes are currently offering cream teas for £1.99. Need I say more? Especially as, for some strange reason, we had forgone the pleasure when we visited Chichester…
We enjoyed our day out. Tigger again delivered her package before the deadline and we had fun visiting and exploring the city of Wakefield which was new to us. The trains behaved and everything went according to plan. Isn’t it great when everything works as it’s supposed to? 🙂
Will we return to Wakefield? Possibly, if we happen to be in the area on holiday, but I don’t think we would make a special trip just to see it.