Posts Tagged ‘leeds’

London vs Leeds: what will £32m get you?

Friday, June 16th, 2017 | Life

The property price differences between London and anywhere that is not London have been well documented. A small garden shed in the capital will set you back far more than a three bedroomed house in Darlington. But what if you have some cash to splash?

This came to mind recently when I saw two properties for sale.

One was this £30,000,000 house in London.

What can you get in London?

Technically, it is detached. But, if you look at how close the next building is to it, you could be forgiven for not realising this. And there is no doubt that it is a nice house. But if we look at the description…

Today this Grade II listed building currently extends to circa 9490 square feet (881 square metres).The property is in need of full modernisation but retains a number of period features.

…it turns out it is a fixer-upper.

What can you get in Leeds?

Compare this to the £32,000,000 property you can get in Leeds. It is two million pounds more, of course, so you are expecting something a little better.

That’s right, it’s Leeds Dock. It is a 1,200,000 square foot site complete with 1,100 apartments. And loads of office space. And a bar. And a restaurant (but it’s only a Pizza Express). And a casino (now closed). And the Royal Armouries Museum.

Recently put up to sale for £32,000,000 by its owners Allied London. Which is significantly more than the £1.5 million they paid for it just five years ago.

Baskin Robbins: a review

Friday, May 26th, 2017 | Food

Baskin Robbins have a store in the Merrion Centre. We went in to try their wares: it would have been rude not to, really. I love Joe Deluccio’s in Trinity, so that was our main basis for comparison.

I had the chocolate mud and the mint chocolate chip. It’s not quite as smooth as Deluccio’s, but is still tasted great. The cone was a mixed bag: it was big, so contained the ice cream very well. However, it was a bit difficult to get to the ice cream and it collapsed towards the end.

On our second visit, they had no chocolate ice cream. No regular chocolate, no Mississippi mud, not even a mint chocolate chip.

The staff were surly both times. In fairness, they weren’t overly unfriendly, but they definitely are not pleased to see you. Which seems strange given they have so few other customers. Service at Joe Deluccio’s is also unfriendly, though.

The last holdout of Chinatown has fallen

Monday, May 22nd, 2017 | News

I’m sad to report that the last remaining restaurant of Leeds’s Chinatown has closed down.

Not that it was ever that big: a total of three restaurants. Hometown, Tong Palace and Ho’s. Plus the international supermarket remains, and Crown Buffet and Oriental City are nearby (though Mulan has also closed).

Luckily, the area booms with great food. Thai A Roy Dee, Zaap Thai and Bar Soba all provide Asian cuisine. But given Hometown and Ho’s were such enjoyable restaurants to visit, it is a shame that the street is now bereft of Chinese restaurants.

Sadly, restaurants live or die for a variety of reasons that you may not expect. Which is why I wrote a book about it.

This is how I did in the Leeds Half Marathon 2017

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 | Sport

Sometimes, I think it would be fun to run a marathon. Then there are other times. Times such as this, when I have just run a half marathon, and still remember just how painful it was. To do the easy half of a full one.

I completed my first half marathon last year and managed to complete it in 2:28:00. This year I had set myself a base target of 2:15:00 and a stretch target of 58 minutes. It’s quite a range, but I thought if I really want to push myself, I might as well go for a world record.

Favourable conditions

The temperature was a lot kinder this year. Gone was the 25-degree heat. Sunday gave us 17 degrees and some cloud cover.

The other thing I changed this year was the amount of sustenance I took on. Last year I stopped at every water station (I stay stopped, you don’t really slow down as you grab a bottle on the way past) and took on some food as well.

I don’t take anything on on my training runs: I just go out and run for two hours. My training runs are always faster. I also skipped the water station in last year’s Abbey Dash and set a personal best 10k time. So, this year, I avoided all food and skipped one of the water stations.

The result

Drum roll, please… This year I managed it in 2:03:42. That’s the official chip timing, I didn’t get my GPS quite perfect.

Notice how it condescendingly marks the whole thing as a “walk” (I ran the whole thing).

I managed to take a good line: you always end up running further than the actual distance because you are dodging around people. So an extra 150m over 21.1km is pretty small.

Most importantly, I took 24 minutes off last year’s time and beat my target by 11 minutes.

How did I feel about it?

I should be chuffed. But, if I had that ability, I would probably spend far less time stressing and enjoy life a lot more. It was a great time: but if I could just found an extra 4 minutes, I could have broken 2.

I did try. My pace was pretty erratic because of how hilly the course is. However, I did enough to give myself a chance in the first half the race and spent the 3rd quarter chasing down the gap.

But, towards the end, I ran out of steam. For the last 4 km, I was running on empty. I didn’t even notice the people cheering me on the finishing straight.

I’ll get it next year. It’s a race between me and Kipchoge. Who can break 2 first…

Christmas at the Crowne Plaza

Thursday, March 16th, 2017 | Photos

I took this photo in February.

Still, maybe the Crowne Plaza is just so popular that you have to book your Christmas do in February. Not that any Toastmasters will be eating there after what happened last time.

Back on the trail

Saturday, February 11th, 2017 | Sport

Between Venla arriving and the nights being cold and dark, I have not been for a run up the canal this year. That changed last week when I finally got out there. It felt good.

My times have really slowed down in January. I went from almost setting a personal best at the first Parkrun of 2017, to struggling to keep it under 30 minutes for the rest of the month. My weight has not changed, so I wonder if Christmas turned all of my muscle into fat. I am hoping that bumping back up to two training sessions a week will reverse this decline.

Smile

Friday, February 10th, 2017 | Photos

Recently, I was walking home, when I noticed someone had strung a banner across the bridge saying “smile”. I did. It was good. I think if people hung these banners everywhere I went, I would be a lot happier. Unfortunately, the banner has since been removed.

The top floor

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017 | Life, Photos

We moved into our apartment three years ago. We are on the fourth floor, but the building goes much higher. For years, we talked about going up to the top floor and seeing what the view was like. But we never did. I am not sure why. It felt silly to schedule it in, but we never felt like a spontaneous trip.

Until now.

Turns out that the view up there was not that exciting. It looks a lot like the view from our balcony, but with a slightly better overview of the car park. Probably not worth the three-year wait… You can at least see the town hall in the way we used to be able to become MPEC built more of their offices.

Leeds Schools’ Carol Concert 2016

Sunday, January 8th, 2017 | Events

At the end of December, I attend the Leeds Schools’ Carol Concert to support my mum, who was singing in the adult choir. They did not get much of a look-in: they were given a few songs, but most of the songs were sung by the children. This was a shame because the adults were much better, but apparently, parents felt it should be all about the children for some reason.

We took Venla, who let out one perfect cry just at the end of a song, leading the entire hall to go up in laughter. I think we have a future performer in the making.

HSoWY Winter Social 2016

Friday, December 30th, 2016 | Events, Humanism

The annual West Yorkshire Humanist’s summer social has been running since long before my time. For the past two years, we have been running a picnic at Kirkstall Abbey. Last year, we also added a Winter Social, to fill in the gap left by the Atheist Society’s Winter Solstice meals.

This year we had ten people attend, including plenty of old faces, and some new faces too.

The venue was the Lawnswood Arms, as it was last year. The food was fine. It is a family-friendly and affordable pub, with mains priced around £7-10, so you got what you paid for: the food turned up edible and hot, with is all you really need when you have good company.