We just recently returned from a week-long, whistle-stop tour of Yorkshire, visiting family, friends, and some old stamping grounds.
Bradford, my birthplace, presented a mixed picture. Although many of its long-established and well-known problems are still immediately apparent, there are now one or two signs that a long-overdue upturn in fortunes might be imminent. The notorious hole-in-the-ground that half the city centre has comprised of for the last few years (since the 2008 financial crash led to the abandonment of a large retail complex that was being built on the site), has now finally been transformed into a shiny new Westfield temple of consumerism, due to open to the public in the next few days, I believe. I was also struck by how the University area of the city has been transformed since my art foundation days; attractive, state-of-the-art new buildings have sprung up and now dominate a part of town once best known as a favourite cruising ground of the Yorkshire Ripper. The old art college, Grove Building (famously attended by David Hockney, less famously by me), was still there but I was sad to see it empty and up for sale. Hopefully this splendid building will be preserved and re-purposed but I fear future developers may have other ideas.
Right, with no regard whatsoever for chronology, continuity or relevance, here are a few drawings of Laura from three weeks ago:
…Chloë, drawn on the iPad:
… and Zoë, from a couple of Tuesdays ago at SCAC:
After Bradford, it was two nights in Sheffield with Sam and his partner Lucy at their cosy (and remarkably affordable – that’s the north for you) new place, then on to a little rented cottage in Haworth, to visit a couple of old school-pals who live nearby.
We also found time to look around the main local attraction, the Brontë Parsonage Museum, which for some reason I never got round to during all the years I lived nearby. It was actually far more interesting and informative than I anticipated, particularly as I’ve never had much of an opinion on the quill-bothering sisters one way or another, and kept us occupied for a good chunk of the afternoon. I was rather hoping to conjure up a punning, Brontë-themed title for this post but it proved beyond me. Wuthering Bites was about as good as it got, I’m ashamed to say. Very poor.
Haworth high street (backdrop to some of the best 2014 Tour de France photos) was festooned with a surprising (some might say excessive) abundance of Halloween embellishments, as was the Black Bull pub, a convenient lace-bonnet’s throw from the Parsonage gift shop/exit.