50 things part 5

  1. Red Ladder Theatre show. red ladder we're not going back  This year it was ‘We’re not going back‘ at City Varieties in Leeds. You can google this fantastic old venue and Red Ladder, who are trying to raise money to carry on after losing all their funding in one fell swoop. Why, we don’t know. Maybe the funders don’t like radical lefty singalongs, or perhaps Red Ladder didn’t jump through the required hoops, being rebellious types 🙂 I think they’re absolutely brilliant. Great stories, songs and politics all in one. Crossed fingers they’ll still be around to entertain me next year.Anyway, this one was about wives during the miners’ strike. I much prefer my history at a personal level, where I can understand how people were affected day to day.
  1. Meanwood Trail to Goldenacre ParkI haven’t walked this route for years and we certainly picked our time. We set off from the Ridge in a blizzard but by the time we reached the ring road the sun was out on a gorgeous spring afternoon. We got lost in Adel, as always (why doesn’t someone sort out the signage? This has been going on for over 20 years, it’s not just me). For each step forward the mud forced half a step back, so by the time we got to Goldenacre my legs were barely working. Never have I been so glad to see the X84 busI’m going to do this again when the mud is gone and am determined to walk back, arthritic knee or not.
  1. Yorkshire Wildlife Park
    Our designated driver honestly thought we were going for a gentle Yorkshire walk, maybe taking in some squirrels and the odd primrose. It was hilarious when we got to the YWP near Donny to be greeted by roars of a lion (unbelievably loud). I won’t list all the animals there, as I recommend you go yourself. They seem to have enough space to be happy and most are endangered in the wild. My favourites were the painted dogs and the two lemur gangs who’d fallen out: the ringtails vs the brown. With a special mention for Viktor the polar bear. YWP painted dogsWe also paid a visit to Rothwell (Leventhorpe) vineyard on the way back to buy some Leeds bubbly. Who woulda thought?
  1. Budapest

My friend J, who used to live next door to me in Zambia when I was one, was working on a tv series in Budapest, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to visit with my sister. This was the first, and possibly only, time I was picked up by a man with my name on a sign at the airport. It was a pretty short visit, but we managed to walk for miles, back and forward on bridges across the Danube, up to the castle district in Buda (St Matyas church is beautiful inside); take refreshment in the Chocolate cafe, the very posh but touristy New York cafe in Dobolos Hotel, tea n cake at Angelika’s under St Anne’s church (style over substance); cheese n wine in a gorgeous wine bar near the Opera House. I won’t go on. One day I’ll write a vegetarian food guide to the world, when I find someone to pay me.

We also went to a classical concert in St Stephen’s Basilica which is not something I’d normally do but Mozart’s requiem sounded amazing in there and the woman singing Ave maria had the most incredible voice. I could literally feel it ballooning towards me like a blast from a firebreather.

The things we fancy on our next visit include the Pinball museum, a sap and possibly firing an AK47 at a firing range- why the hell not?

13. Get a gardener

After 20+ years of battling Japanese knotweed (successfully) and bindweed in my ‘wild’ garden I finally paid someone to come and help me. Fantastic! I much prefer gardening with someone else, it feels companionable, whereas going out on my own feels like work. I felt inspired to do a bit more several times afterwards- small and often. I am so glad I’ve done it.


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