In a diversion from the norm I found myself heading eastwards this weekend for a spell in Yorkshire. As those of you who also subscribe to the Winter Palace will already be aware queenmartina
has bade farewell to the delights of Glencairn, Ligoniel, Turf Lodge and the Village and swapped it for the delights of Otley, Gildersome, Potternewton and Morley by swapping Belfast for Leeds. With this in mind yours truly was roped in to add rippling muscle/sagging flab (delete as applicable) to proceedings by accompanying her over for the Big MoveTM
Friday started with a minimum of fuss. A taxi ride to the Middle of Sodding Nowhere Airport (Belfast International to you, Sunny Jim) saw the driver take a tortuous route through the mountains beyond the Glen Road (where GAA grounds abound for some reason) although ultimately it proved a fairly sensible option, avoiding as it did the worst of the traffic. The flight itself was equally painless, being virtually empty, leaving on time and arriving early. Leaving Leeds Bradford Airport, another taxi hauled us to leafy Headingly, the location of the new homestead, where burkesworks
and a load of boxes awaited. A session of my speciality - donkey work - followed, trailing the boxes upstairs and decanting the contents from therein. Too knackered for owt after that so a jaunt out locally for a bite of pizza was all that could be done that night. Were I only a fan of either cricket or rugby league I would have been laughing as the flat overlooks the Carnegie Stadium but neither the sound of leather willow nor portly northern gentlemen twisting each other's ears appeals.
Loathe as I was to miss my weekly dose of live football burkesworks
and myself took our leave on Saturday afternoon to go and watch the famous Bradford Park Avenue (their words, not mine
) taking on the might of Solihull Moors in the Conference North. It was a new experience for yours truly, as I had never experienced the English game at this level before, but I found the Horsfall Stadium to be a decent ground that would not have looked out of place in our own Irish League. The action
too was of a decidedly Irish League standard, with Avenue (or "Aven-yooooh" as the elderly chap close behind us was wont to howl at irregular intervals) very much in ascendancy for the vast majority of the match, particularly down the flanks. Unfortunately for BPA, who seemed unsure whether their club colours were green and white or red, yellow and black, they were well short of quality upfront and what should have been a thumping win ended up only a 1-0 triumph. Still, good larf and a worthy substitute for my usual fayre, whilst the mini-museum in their clubhouse was fascinating to the point where I reckon I could do a decent job on Mastermind
answering questions on Len Shackleton following my visit.
I spent the Sunday in the city centre, although the shorter opening hours meant that I didn't get to see everything as I would have liked. A tip of the hat to the St John's Centre, a small shopping centre which contains two music shops and sundry discount retailers, a combination that I can only presume was designed specifically in anticipation of my visit, given my well documented love of buying CDs and discount tat. Smashing. I've been informed there is a market I should visit and a doll's shop that is likely to weird me out and be darling in equal measures but they will have to wait for another time as they were closed. Boo.
Monday was when I took my leave. After a scout round the local hokeys to see what could be seen we caught the bus out to a slummy area that resembled our own Harryville, from where I bade goodbye to queenmartina
to get on my way back to the airport. With the weather having taken a sudden and unexpected turn to the apocalyptic the journey home was inevitably more of an ordeal with the plane delayed (only for a while admittedly), my stomach taking a boo-boo near the end of the flight and a long wait in the lashing rain for the bus back to Belfast from Middle of Sodding Nowhere Airport. Still, I made it in the end as this post demonstrates.
All in all a decent break from the norm. I'm feeling a might unwell today, due to a lack of sleep, the general pains from the donkey work and kipping on a settee, not to mention the fact that the snow made a brief return last night, chilling me to the bone but doing my bit and seeing new places was a fine way to spend my time.