Trick or Treat
I wonder if it's some kind of special occasion?
Enjoy yourself: it's later than you think
In fact, it's along the same lines of Simon Pope's Gallery Space Recall exhibition in Cardiff, where you are invited to walk round an empty art gallery and conjure up your memories of other galleries you have been to.
"On a sunny Sunday morning in Roundhay Park you are invited to wander round the car park and revisit your physical, sensual, spiritual and kinaesthetic memories of the open-air swimming pool experience. To gain the deepest meaning from your visit, please remove your shoes."
There we go, can I have twelve grand from the Arts Council please? And look, we even have little versions for the children:
With all the council's fuss about Health and Safety, you would think they could get a bloody car park right, wouldn't you? It's only been open a short while and already it lacks that - well - flatness, that lackofpotholeness, so crucial to a car park.
Good job Leeds City Council aren't in charge of anything really important, such as educat - - Oh dear.
It says, "The South Wing Was Intirely Rebuilt by Frances Shepheard Viscountess Irwin, Relict of Charles 9th Viscount Irwin in the Year 1796."
In what way precisely, I wonder, did Frances, widow of Charles, rebuild the entire South Wing?
Did she design the whole thing, draw out the plans to scale on a piece of paper, pop down to B and Q for the bricks and spend the next twenty years cementing them in place and the twenty years after that fitting out the inside?
No, I don't believe she did. She turned to her faithful servant Tom and said "Tom! The South Wing's an absolute disgrace! Get me someone to design a new one and get it rebuilt, pronto."
Here's the finished version:
Very nice South Wing, Frances, well done for all your hard work - that's if you did any, which I very much doubt.
Building that huge house must have taken huge efforts from hundreds of people - but hey, they probably couldn't read, most of them, so I hope they never knew that Frances, having paid them a pittance for years no doubt, claimed all the credit for herself. Bloody aristocrats.
Then, only five minutes later the mist cleared, mostly:
The birds are rushing about because I was clutching a carrier bag full of bread.
Another five minutes and there was sunshine. The park looked glorious.
Leeds is a city of about six hundred thousand people, so why I had Roundhay Park almost to myself on a beautiful autumn morning I'm not sure. But I was pretty pleased about it.
Biochemistry and Microbiology it is now, and the School of English is somewhere else. It was only ever there temporarily and the sign in my day read English Genetics which was a bit confusing. Temporary, perhaps - but temporary for the whole time I was there. It was hideous inside too, and there was none of that greenery which they have put there in a brave but sadly vain attempt to make it less vile.
In contrast, here is the Archaeology Department at York University, which is one of the places that Emily is applying to:
Although this photo was taken on a camera phone and isn't brilliant quality, we can still see that it's a beautiful, historic building.
I think the people who advised me were wrong. Naturally the course is important, but if you are someone who cares how things look, then so is the place where you're studying. I felt gloomy every time I looked at that building in the grim Maths Court. I hope Emily will choose a place that cheers her up every time she sees it.
I wanted to play on that riverbank, like those boys, and I loved the secret life of the water vole and the fact that the boys couldn't see the vole while they climbed on the bank.
And finally, when the rain stopped, I yearned to be one of those swimmers along the river:
Which came first, my love of the English summer countryside and its rivers, or The Sleepy Water Vole? It's difficult now to remember, because I've had this book since I was very young and it was one of the first books I read to myself.
I still think of this book whenever I see a summer river. Hurrah for the never-famous P.B. Hickling.
And asleep is where it has been for the last few years, on top of a bookshelf, out of the way.
But a couple of days ago, in a burst of Domestic Goddessness, I dusted on top of the bookshelf, forgetting the Furbee was there.
It came to life in the little cloud of dust, yawned, and then SNEEZED.
I left it to resume its slumbers, and after about half an hour of chatter, it did. It's sleeping soundly now. But I'm a little bit scared. From now on, the top of the bookshelf will remain dusty.
What's this for? Somewhere at Sainsbury's Head Office, the Person in Charge of Meaningless Notices decided that reading this notice as I queued to leave the car park would give me a warm glow inside. "So long Somerfield, tarra to Tesco," I would think, "Asda's an Asbeen, No to Netto, Waitrose are a waste of space! No, from now on, it's Sainsbury's for me!"
Actually, what I did think was that the Person in Charge of Meaningless Notices had the bright idea that we all needed to see this notice and drew it neatly on a piece of paper and then they went to the Big Boss Person and showed them and they were really excited by it and it was sent to Sainsbury's signwriters (a firm which is rapidly growing rich on making Meaningless Notices) who expressed similar thrillment and set up a production line to make one for every Sainsbury's in the land.
Even better, it says something on the back too, and I bet you can guess what. But perhaps Sainsbury's are correct: perhaps the whole thing's a really good idea. So, for now (and ONLY for now, I'll be ranting again tomorrow about something else)
thank you for reading this blog
Here's the secondary school I attended, Roundhay High School for Girls, Leeds, pictured on an Open Day in the year 2000. It's just round the corner from where I live and it then looked very much as it did when I was was there. A worthy, solid building, built in the 1930s.
Brick corridors, parquet floors - it wasn't hard to imagine all the girls who had walked or, disobediently, run along those corridors:
Here's one of the science labs, just as it was in my day (I found some graffiti I wrote on the desk about how dull Physics was - perhaps I wasn't as good a girl as everyone thought):
But I have fond memories of the tennis courts, where Sarah and I played almost every lunchtime and evening the summer we were fourteen:
All those girls: all those teachers: all those days of school, of missing the moon landings because of a test next day, of forgetting my cookery apron (O sin of sins!), of chatting with my friends in assembly (another sin), of treadle sewing machines, of dreary Friday afternoon maths lessons that seemed as though they would never end. Happiest days of my life? No, of course not, though there were some excellent teachers and I had some good friends.
Here's that view of the school and tennis courts, last week:
Gone. They knocked the lot down shortly after I took the photographs, replacing it with a new Roundhay School nearby.
As I said, this field that used to be the school is just round the corner from me. As I round the corner, every time, for a fraction of a second I see the school. Strange how what was such a big part of your life can just disappear.
Oh yes, and we were very lucky in that the school had its own swimming pool. A swimming lesson every week: many swimming galas: family swimming on Sunday mornings.
They've kept that building. It's a canteen now. That's progress for you.