Listen and There with Peter Haughton – South Leeds Life
Hey up. Saturday. The sun is out.
Now do I get up… or wait for Neenie to come back after taking Arnie for a walk? She’s taking all the first steps these days, now she’s also retired.
Bring me another cup, too. Bless.
Too cute though! I think I’ll go to Aldi – get croissants – we’ll have a continental breakfast.
Yeah! It’s sunny and warm outside for once! I can’t tell you if I’m happy.
Piles of tabs end up in the doorway. Nice and quiet though. And I just need bread too. Busy at checkouts though. As Brigate. The two aisles collar size. And, just when I think I might shout in that monotonous voice that Lee Evans personifies so perfectly, “Cashier number three, please!”, they sort it for me.
I am fast. Like a ferret down a rabbit oil. I still have to wait, so it reminds me of this Queen song “I want To Break Free”. And before the young boy arrived, I prepared my stand…
‘Do you know that Queen song ‘I Want To Break Free’. He nods. ‘Ere va (didn’t sing too loud) –
Please open aisle three
I want to be free to eat croissants at least before tea-e-e
I want to be….’
Work. I have ‘I laugh’.
Because the music soothes the wild chest. It’s Shakespeare, tha ‘knos. Unless it’s rap. Not soothing yet. And that’s the point. ‘Ave to ‘ave a wild breast for that.
Few people know it, but rap started here in Yorkshire. Yes, you read that right, and it can be proven in a few paragraphs.
You see, me, I’m already getting almost as old as Methuselah, but my mom taught us boys a rap that her dad taught her. But to get an idea, I’m going to explain a few things to you: they are two children who meet in a playground and who have brothers who are called Bob. But ‘Bob’, as many Yorkshiremen as old as me will tell you, was the nickname for a shilling, a coin used before decimalisation and, in today’s currency, worth 5 pence. “Bob” is also a Yorkshire word for a punch.
The first child is angry because the brother of the other child, called Bob, owes his brother Bob a shilling, so he says in an angry voice (see – rap!) –
“Tha Bob owes Bob a bob and if Bob doesn’t give Bob that bob that Bob owes Bob, Bob’s gunna give Bob a bob on his nose!”
Just need an innit beat.
I’m crazy about… Bikes.
In the early 90s, I took the ferry to Holland to cross Belgium, then France, on a Specialized Rockhopper, to spend time in Paris.
I’m not a super fit person: one of the reasons I was doing this was to have a separate vacation from my then wife who had made other plans as the wedding was about to come. to end.
Cycling to Lille, the twin city of Leeds, wasn’t bad at all as it was mostly flat. The hostel I stayed at in Lille was different from ours as it was mostly staffed by workers, not backpackers.
When, the next day, it was noon to leave Lille, and facing so many hills with Paris still so far away, I took the train. The bike followed in a freight train, to arrive in Paris the next day. But I was lucky, because I had a French friend called Dominique who lent me his apartment, at the gates of Paris, while he was on vacation.
And I still remember the immense satisfaction of being at the Gare du Nord at 7 a.m. the next morning to pick up my dear companion. Intact.
Things may have changed since then but the Paris of the 90s was quiet in August as traditionally many Parisians were on holiday.
I have only cycled on the right bank of the Seine, ie to the northwest of Paris, because it is rather flat and gentle, apart from the Butte de Montmartre. There was more than enough to explore. I visited Sacre Coeur anyway, locking my bike somewhere below (advice – always buy the most secure lock you can afford).
You ride safely on wide boulevards away from the river, towards the outskirts, the slight uphill slope and the warm weather convincing you… to relax.
Coming back downhill, you pick up speed, with minimal effort, to savor the refreshing breeze. Holidays? Divorce? This is life this is war.
Weather permitting, you can cycle anywhere, especially in Leeds. But wherever you cycle in a big city, it’s a good idea to stay out of traffic wherever you can.