The Nostalgic Spring Sojourn | Part 5

Right, and after the excellent guest blog post from Sandra I’m afraid you’re back to wading through my old drivel again. Here we go:

After a hectic couple of days I was feeling pretty jaded Friday morning. My usual lack of decent sleep had caught up with me but I’d nothing planned anyway and for the most part took it easy. That’s not to say it was a wasted day though. I had a good read, pottered doing a bit of cleaning here and there and started – and eventually finished - a blog post. I don’t know about you but – as much as I love spending time away in Patsy – I can get a bit of cabin fever if stuck in all day. Sometimes a wander around the site does the trick – particularly if I’ve been chasing letters around the laptop keyboard. In this case though I went for a wander around the Monks Cross retail park about a five minute drive from the site. Pretty uninspiring to be honest but then as most know, I don’t do ‘stuff’ and there was nothing in the usual chain stores that appealed to my sartorial er, bent…

Another minor issue had surfaced soon after my arrival on site and, after having ignored it for a few days thought it was about time I took a look. The taps were spitting and spluttering and I guessed there was some air getting in the system somewhere. Having checked thoroughly for leaks, I did the usual and drained the system down before refilling again but the problem remained. I wondered whether there was an issue with the float in the mains water supply kit – I was on a serviced pitch again – but soon eliminated that from the equation. I was starting to see fivers – or more likely tenners - flutter down the road thinking a component somewhere had failed and decided the best bet was a cuppa to ponder my next move. It was after I’d drawn the water to refill the Brita jug that I heard a hissing sound outside after the pump had turned off and scurried out to see if I could find it’s source.

The problem was immediately evident and more importantly easily and even more importantly, cheaply fixed. They’d given me a new water filter when Patsy had her service in December suggesting I put it in at the start of the season. Well, like many my touring season doesn't stop but I completely forgot about it, tossing it in the front locker and only remembering to change it when I pitched up in Warwickshire. Clearly I hadn’t tightened it up quite enough as a firm turn on the blue cap and the hissing stopped. Running the taps for a few minutes cleared the pipes of any air and all was good.

After that I finished the blog post then made tea – OK, warmed up a portion of sausage casserole and mash – and had just cleared up when there was a tap at the door. It was fellow caravanner Mike who had said he was coming over for the weekend with his wife and had just got on site. We had a quick chin-wag then agreed to adjourn to his van later for some er, research. I’d raised the idea of going out prior but in truth was quite happy to stay on site, as was Mike – and knowing that another busy day lay ahead a quiet and early night wouldn’t hurt. Just a couple of hours I said to myself…

‘Just a couple of hours’ should be up there with ‘OK then just the one’ in my book of ‘Who do you think you’re kidding Rich’ phrases, as it was nearly the witching hour by the time we called it a night. It was a cracking evening and although we’d never met in person before, conversation flowed. The beauty of social media in this case being that you feel you know someone already. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Saturday and back on the bus to the station, where I was to board a train for Leeds - Leeds has been on our list for a while. Last year was probably the most serious attempt when we had planned to go in from Thirsk but when the site closed due to the weather those plans went tits up.

Although I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a lot I’ve never been particularly disciplined in doing research on a place – in fact I generally flip through any guide book afterwards bemoaning the fact that we’d missed stuff out. Anyway, friend and fellow caravanner David very kindly created a walking tour for me to ensure I wouldn’t miss out on the essentials. I was never going to ‘do’ a city as big as Leeds in a day but it would hopefully give me a good overview.

And so it proved. David’s excellent route took me from the station, past City Square and to a delightful light oasis of green call Park Square where I took an early lunch, noting that I really need to up my game, sarnie wise.

From there it was on past the Town Hall to the Millennium Square with the lovely Nelson Mandela gardens and the Civic Hall sitting proudly in the background. A great place to pause again and coffee was duly necked.

Continuing on Leeds cathedral was next before heading into and through the main shopping district, admiring on the way some of the lovely arcades that cut through from one street to another.

The famous Kirkgate Indoor Market was next and then across to the old Corn Exchange building now housing an eclectic mix of independent retailers. David had given me some other possibilities but they were a bit further out and, although that part of my anatomy that shall remain nameless had largely been behaving itself, I didn’t want to push it.

David and Gary joined me late afternoon to commence ‘research’ proceedings before a meal in town, followed by yep, more research. We’d not seen each other since the funeral so it was great to catch up again under better circumstances.

Even allowing for the different accents I’ve never had any trouble understanding David but the bar maid seemed to have a bit of a problem as he came back with the last round of four pints instead of three, blaming his cold. I could blame that for the reason I missed my intended train back to York but, in truth I didn’t want to go anyway as we were having such a great time and the evening was just too short. We hugged and said our goodbyes at the station and I quickly located the carriage with the loo which made the twenty minute journey much more comfortable. Luck was on my side in York and I didn’t have to wait for the last bus back to the site as the previous one was running late.

Another great day, made even more enjoyable by the company of friends – and that has been a feature throughout this trip. There’s someone missing of course but I reckon I’m doing a decent job of making the best of it.

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