My place of work is a high rise block on the outskirts of Leeds City Centre.  It’s a ten to fifteen minute walk to the centre itself – just too far to walk in a lunch hour and have enough time to do what you have to do whilst you’re there.

I usually do my window shopping on the way to catch the bus at about 4.30 pm.  Window shopping because I don’t have a lot of cash to splash.  Today though, I pushed the boat out and took a walk into ‘town’ at 12.30pm.

What a difference a few hours make! I hadn’t realised that Leeds packs up and goes home some time mid afternoon.  Admittedly it was a glorious sunny day but the streets were buzzing with good vibes.

There were buskers on each corner playing every sort of music you could imagine.  I have always thought that Leeds has a good smattering of decent street musicians.  They vary from day to day aswell which must be great for the shop assistants who at least get a bit of variety for their listening pleasure.  It must get pretty annoying if you have to listen to the same Joe with his acoustic guitar playing Streets of London day in day out.

Anyway today I passed a what I guess was a family group – guitars for the adults and a very rhythmic bongo played by a teenager.  There was a band with an accordion amongst the instruments, a percussion group, a man playing the trumpet and any number of guys with guitars.   This chap is famous around these parts but haven’t seen him for a while.  Perhaps he has had to find more regular income.  I have a feeling he got married a year or two ago.

I have promised myself that if I ever come into money I will approach all the buskers in the city centre and offer a tenner if he (or she of course) can play Thunder Road.

The tables outside the coffee shops and restaurants were full of shiny happy people.  Well actually I noticed a couple outside Costa Coffee who looked decidedly glum but they were the exception.  I heard French, Spanish, German, something that was Scandinavian sounding and several languages I couldn’t decipher.  Leeds is a very cosmopolitan place and all the better for it.

I was tempted to treat myself to a Starbucks frappuccino – my beverage of choice on a warm sunny day, but resisted – too many calories.

I’m not a Leeds lass myself although I’ve lived in the city for nearly twenty years.  Not having grown up here I think I see it differently to the locals … or maybe I just see it.  When you have lived somewhere through your childhood your surroundings are simply the backdrop to your life.  I spot new details in Leeds’s architecture all the time and I look at things as I’m walking along – I mean really look.

Anyway today as I strode past the magnificent Town Hall and through the little park that I am so fond of I counted myself lucky to live in such a beautiful and vibrant city.

Oh … but then I had to go back to work.  Well you can’t win ‘em all.