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Published: March 26th 2014
Did I attend classes in literature here?
As forecast, it was raining in Harrogate this morning, which made me rethink my day, even before I got up. The forecast was for “drenching rain” in Leeds. Perhaps I would just go to London rather than walk up to Weetwood Hall in heavy rain.
But, by the time I had eaten breakfast, the rain had virtually stopped. So I decided to judge the situation in Leeds. Thankfully, that was the end of the rain for the day.
Hustling a bit, I arrived at the Harrogate train station about ten minutes before the train was due. What became obvious, now I know the town, is that Google maps don’t “see” pedestrian precincts, only sending walkers along streets, thus a longer walk.
About forty minutes later, I was in Leeds, had stored the luggage and recognized nothing, despite having attended university for a year here. Now, on many blocks north of the station are huge shopping malls. Even the old buildings I must have seen brought back no memories at all. Even as I approached the University, nothing was familiar. Out of frustration I did enter the campus at an entry that possibly was one I used and perhaps
Where are the books I used to study?
recognized a building and rooms that may have housed my Henry James course, although the buildings now house maths. The pub I used to eat in, if this was the right place, has long ago disappeared into University expansions which are still going on. Perhaps the red brick building nearby was where I took my Commonwealth literature course.
As I walked along, I didn't even recognize the large main building on the main street, although it must have been there before. Finally, my mind clicked into the name of the Brotherton Library
, situated in the large building. In I went and told the security man of my revisiting old haunts – he let me in without id. (No security in my day.) The layout in the little rooms around the central reading area was the same, but the entire thing is a law library now.
Fortunately I was able to use the toilets and then had green tea in the building’s foyer snack area. (New to me.) Refreshed, my optimism rose. Outside again, I recognized “Blenheim Terrace” as the row where
Did I stay in a B&B where the umbrella is now?
I had stayed before residence opened. All the Victorian houses are now stores and cafes. Took a photo of the building that might have been my B&B. Gradually my enthusiasm waned as non-recognition extended through the next hour. I kept looking for the Headingly roundabout, hoping to have lunch there. Deceived several times, I experienced the pang of loss of this landmark. The former roundabout is now a busy shopping area with mainly new buildings of no architectural interest.
Although I did recognize Woodhouse Moor park, nothing else was the same. Walking back to residence, fear of the Yorkshire Ripper
reinforced the feeling of a long, lonely walk beside the dark trees when I lived in Leeds, but today's walk proved it isn’t that long.
Almost ready to give up, I thought lunch might restore my spirits. There were no cafes with light lunches, only restaurants and pubs. So I had a (terrible) tuna jacket potato (slow service, barely warm food with cold spots) and a reliably tasty half of Strong Bow cider. In fact this was the last eatery before I eventually did come to the gatehouse that used to be at the drive of the entry to
Where do all the women students stay now?
what used to be the women's residence, Weetwood Hall; now it is the entrance to the Water Treatment Plant for the city. Up the road was a new entrance. I did recognize the building, but it has been renamed. The luxury hotel I saw on the internet seems to be a new-build where the woods used to be – all chopped down now. No one was around, so no questions could be asked. After 3 ½ miles of disappointment, I caught a bus back to the station – only to be shocked at the price £2.20!
Now (5:50 p.m.), I am on the train to London after more than an hour’s delay. Someone stole a piece of copper signal wire and a repair has to be made. And I had thought myself clever for getting an earlier train than planned!
Arrived in London at 7:10. Straight to the Euro Hotel
. Then to Mabel’s Tavern
on the corner – fish and chips, because they were out of steak pie.
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