BLOG – Leeds Pride

I Rise – Madonna

Specially written and recorded to mark 50years since the original Stonewall Riot.

Once again, Pride was a family affair for me this year as I was joined by my un-sister* Danielle and her aborabubble sunshine-in-human-form son – B.

Adding to the family vibe, was (from right to left in the photo below) B’s aunt Emma (mad party animal – I can just tell), LBC Puffin herself, the lovely Helen and Beth the bootiful (bestie ‘n’ neighbour).

It’s been an absolute age since Helen and I have caught up and as you can probably tell…we had nothing to say to each other…

The Owl and the Puffin. Together again.

As we all arrived in a somewhat chaotic fashion from various areas across the city, we missed the stalls; but managed to score an excellent spot on the Headrow.

It felt like the city was heaving. Every bus and train seemed to be populated with rainbow clad people (they’ll be cleaning the glitter off for a year!) and there were few businesses that failed to fly a visible rainbow flag.

Progress Flag (2018) Daniel Quasar

None the less, there was a much more political feel to this years parade, compared with last year.

I don’t mean political party politics – though the Lib Dem’s wore their ‘bollocks to bigotry!’ shirts, while the Labour queers proudly exclaimed that they’d never kissed a Tory. And the Tory’s…were there and not booed or anything because inclusion works, dammit.

No, I meant more personal politics. A thin thread of anger, running as a constant undercurrent to the celebrations.

“The first Pride Parade was a Riot!’

‘Pride has always been a protest’

‘We’re here! We’re queer! We will not live in fear!’

‘Stonewall trans kicked off Pride. So stop killing us’

‘You Pinkwash…but we don’t forget’

‘Trans rights are human rights’

‘TERF free territory’

So, a fantastic day, with lots of scope for discussion!

It was wonderful to see the charity that I work for – St Anne’s Community Services (@StAnnesEquality) marching. We work really hard to be inclusive and honour dignity and respect as a core operational principle – so I can’t help but admit to feeling some pride about that too!

From last years pride

*No actual relation. But indisputably family.


WALK – come away oh human child…

Remember Aisling? The faery who burst forth from her tree after it was burned in Geashill?

I think she might have a sister on the banks of the Leeds Liverpool canal!

No sign of the fairy…but it’s quite clear this was a home to something magical.

After a hectic weekend, I was in need of a walk.

Shorts! Such a treat!

After the rain, comes the sun…

Though it’s impossible to capture how soft and gentle the light was this evening.

Ending up, as usual, by the water…

But the walk bAck was when the light began to play tricks on me.

As above, so below

My favourite photo tonight.

Though this was also rather lovely.

HOME TOURIST – Stourton Stone Circle

Unexpected treat this evening, walking the other side of the canal (because all roads…or waterways…lead to mine, in my own mind anyway!).

Past the royal armouries, we followed the riverside path for about 35 minutes and came to a place for pagan worship.

The atmosphere – as described – was peaceful and gentle.

The stone carvings were just gorgeous.

And tucked between the canal and the river Aire. On the one side – the home of Leeds Rowing Club. On the other – an impossibly calm and wild natural space.

PHOTOS – Punting on the River Cam

When in Rome, yes? I mean, it would have been rude not to.

While visiting Cambridge a fortnight ago, I traveled (through time and) punted down (up?) the River Cam towards Grantchester.

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PHOTO BLOG – Henley Royal Regatta

I’m all the fancy now.

Last month, I attended the Peterhouse May Ball at Cambridge University

The Silent Disco was AMAZING!

And this week, I popped into Henley to watch the rowing races, as one does.

(FYI, so far, the Irish crews have done brilliantly – both Commercial and UCD have won their heats; Enniskillen were knocked out though. It was very cool to be watching it with former rowers (and boat house captains) – one of whom was from Moynihan. For a visual, imagine me channelling my inner Eliza Doolittle


And I borrowed a Panama hat. Which…I think looks fabulous!

Henley is absolutely gorgeous and the whole set up is just otherworldly. I think I’d have felt a little bit ‘duck out of water-y’ if I hadn’t been there with such a delightful group of people.

Here’s a bit of history, from Wikipedia

The regatta lasts for five days (Wednesday to Sunday) ending on the first weekend in July. Races are head-to-head knock out competitions, raced over a course of 1 mile 550 yards (2,112 m).  The regatta regularly attracts international crews to race. The most prestigious event at the regatta is the Grand Challenge Cup for Men’s Eights, which has been awarded since the regatta was first staged.

As the regatta pre-dates any national or international rowing organisation, it has its own rules and organisation, although it is recognised by both British Rowing (the governing body of rowing in England and Wales) and FISA (the International Federation of Rowing Associations). The regatta is organised by a self-electing body of Stewards, who are largely former rowers themselves.

I was so busy experiencing the whole thing…I forgot to take many photos.

We had tickets for the Stewards Enclosure – which is dress coded – you see how obedient I am? Following the rules and everything! (But I did see KNEES people, KNEES! I mean, a fifth of the women there were wandering around trying to re-capture their boobs, but it’s KNEES that offend!).

Then we went rogue and left the enclosure, walking down the river to the starting line for a Pimms (not me, chauffeur-gal). It was a dicey and dangerous world (KNEES again…also jeans, hatless heads, flip flops and in some case…feet!) but we survived.

Wandering past the big wheel (apparently calling them a Ferris wheel is an American affectation? 😳); the dance floors and shops, we found street food.

Incredibly high end street food. I had a hoisin duck wrap while other enjoyed the halloumi fries and gluten free chicken, mozzarella salads etc.

Then we watched more races, our gentle stroll obviously rendering us starving a mere two hours later. So we headed back to the Stewart’s enclosure.

There was afternoon tea from 4pm, which was just so proper and perfect – I can only imagine how well run the catering was that they could facilitate so many & still make us all feel special and attended to. I mean, we bought tickets at 11am and I was 8074th!

From that point onwards, time just vanished – we sat on the deck chairs and cheered on the Cambridge and Durham teams – who each won – Huzzah! A civilised amount of alcohol was consumed and I got sunburnt.

Seriously…this is not English weather as I’m used to it 🤣. The north south divide even exists in weather!!!

A surreal and very wonderful experience.

WALK – Come away to the water

Finding the nature reserve last week is going to transform my weekly walking routine. I’m still down at the abbey most evenings but having a slightly longer route practically on my doorstep is brilliant.

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WALK – Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve

This evening I typed ‘parks’ into my map app and discovered a hidden gem right on my doorstop (well…up the canal).

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WALK – Cleveland Way – Filey to Scarborough

A few years ago, Jess (@bookelfleeds), The Silent Partner and I headed out for an excursion from Scarborough to Robin Hoods Bay.

This forms part of the Cleveland Way – a National Trust walk, comprising of 109 miles. It’s a mixture of woodlands and costal scenes.

Today, Jess and I headed out to cover the first part of the walk, from Filey to Scarborough. Partially to ‘Get Our Walk On’ and partially so Jess could get a good drive in. Someone is newly a member of the driver clan. I can’t tell you how excited (I am) about that!

We couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day for our 8 mile walk. Blue skies and glorious sunshine for all of it 👍

We left Leeds at 8am and parked up at Filey by 10.

We marched like women on a mission for 4.5miles, before stopping for some sustenance as Cayton (not catten) Bay. They were prepared for us…

Then headed down the never ending steps to Scarborough. Really pretty.

A bit scary, also.

Though Jess made the perfect Elf in the woods

And in case the costal views were getting tiresome (they weren’t)

There was also a golden sea…

Ensuring that we had the perfect Cleveland Way experience.

Once at Scarborough, we met up with our historical selves. And celebrated by hopping on a bus and heading straight back to Filey. I’ve book club this evening so we were on a timeline.

Once in Filey, we rewarded ourselves

(I suck at selfies) and had a play in the sun

And did I mention the views?

Ok…I’m done now…

PHOTOS – Water Baby

I’ve been staring at the edge of the water
Long as I can remember
Never really knowing why

Moana – How far I’ll go

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WALK- Swinsty and Fewston Reservoir

What a foul day (weather wise). Today has been quite a stressful one, but there’s little chance of my customary ramble this evening as it’s currently bucketing it down.

Thankfully, I was able to make the most of the gorgeous sunshine yesterday evening. Straight after work I headed out to my favourite reservoirs for a stroll.

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