Monday, 7 June 2010

Bijou hotel-style apartment available for rent in LS1

I am in Leeds. The flat is minute and everything inside it is tiny! I have a tiny kettle, a tiny toaster, a tiny shower (or should that be a baby shower?). There’s nowhere to store anything. When I arrived, the landlord was searching for a place to put a handheld vacuum cleaner and decided the only option was to mount it to the wall. There’s nowhere to put my dirty laundry, so my suitcase, which takes pride of place in the only piece of floor space in the flat, has become a linen basket. I don't care. It has a door that I can lock... 
My rehearsal with the rock band went well last night. I sat at a piano, conducting the rhythms with my head, feeling like Richard Tandy from ELO. I think they’ll be great. I’m slightly concerned about the drummer because he’ll need to be rhythmically rock solid for the movement to work, but if he puts the work in, I'll be a very happy man.

It would appear that this project has generated the usual assortment of fabulous eccentrics, who have only just started to show their true colours. One poor chap has phoned Alison every single day to complain that his music says “keyboard” at the top of it, when he made it very clear in his audition that he plays the synthesizer. He may be about to go on strike, which would be a shame, because a number of national newspapers have apparently just heralded him as the next Jean Michel Jarre, despite his only being able to play with two fingers at any one time. I was also rather tickled by the musician who, when told she’d need to know the music backwards, asked if she’d actually need to play it backwards! Welcome to my world!

Leeds is as bustling as ever, although there seem to be some very peculiar people on the streets. Earlier on I walked past a blind man who was pushing a baby buggy with a doll inside. It was difficult to know whether to be amused, or find the whole thing tragic beyond words.

Headline of the week must belong to the Yorkshire Evening Post which screams; “Leeds OAP in scooter terror ride”. Apparently an elderly lady was left “extremely shaken” after her mobility vehicle got stuck in its fastest setting whilst travelling down a dual carriageway. Quite what she was doing on a dual carriageway, I’ve no idea, but cars were forced to screech to a halt left, right and centre before she crashed into a verge and damaged her collar bone. And if that doesn’t make people rush to buy a newspaper, I don’t know what will!

We’ve just returned from visiting the harp player in Haworth. She’s an amazing character who lives in a farm on the moors on the edge of the town. I instantly took to her. She’s absolutely fascinating. In her own words, she was brought up in a castle; “not a decent castle, a rubbish castle”, and her ramshackle farm is littered with astonishing antiques that she’s inherited over the years. We sat down to eat the freshest eggs I’ve ever tasted at Clive of India’s campaign table, which doubles up as the workbench where she makes her harps. The first harp she made was called Big Al, and subsequently every harp she’s created is given a name ending in Al... Mystical, Mental and Recycal...

It seems that Pepys wasn’t destined to get much sleep 350 years ago. He was awoken at 2am by someone delivering a parcel from London and then again at 4 when they started washing the deck above him. Water dripped through the ceiling straight into his mouth and he was forced to get up and sleep sitting at his desk.

...But life on the waves was soon to be a distant memory. Montagu had just been recalled to London... so to London they would go...

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