Monthly Archives: October 2009

Perfect stranger

I was walking back from uni today when I suddenly realised I hadn’t paid much attention to the world around me. As I’m intending to shut myself away for the rest of the day to finish an essay and tidy my room, this would mean that I’d have missed my chance to see something beautiful today.

So I slowed down and started looking around as I walked. It is a beautiful day today. The air is bright and cold, and the leaves on the trees are just brilliant in their last shouts of orange and red. Some trees are bare, except for a few berries. The streets even seem a bit cleaner today. I was just thinking about getting my camera out when a girl in her early twenties approached me and asked for directions.

I walked with her for about 10 minutes, and she was so charming and interesting  to talk to.  We talked about student life, Leeds, Bristol, London, the cinema, her job, going for walks. Her name was Catherine. She had a fantastic engagement ring; every time she lifted her hand to gesticulate or flip her hair it caught the light and I couldn’t stop staring at it. She remarked what a beautiful day it was today, that it was almost like an Indian summer.

I’ll never see her again, but I’m glad I met her. It’s nice to share a day like this with someone, even if they are a perfect stranger.

Old man

There is an old man who lives on my street. He is tall, and black, and he has a scrubby grey beard. He often opens his door as people go past and looks at them, leaning on the door frame. You can usually hear music playing. He is often singing under his breath.

Tonight I could hear him singing outside; I went to my window, and there he was, walking very slowly down the street with his cane, singing loudly in a deep bass voice. He seemed to be singing the blues- I couldn’t hear the words very well at first. But then I heard this:

I’m so lonely, I’m so weary. Oh don’t mind what people say about you, you got to go look your own way.

I thought how beautiful and sad it was; he was probably making it up, just an old man singing his own sadness. He got to the end of the street, turned to walk back up to his house, and, taking a deep breath, belted out:

Don’t cry for me Argentina! You know, the truth is, I never left you!

Awesome.

Skyscape

Window View, Sky

This view is actually what reminded me of my idea to start this blog. Sitting at my desk, contemplating (read: avoiding writing) a Chaucer essay, I looked out of the window and saw this beautiful sky. The sun was doing it’s thing, casting orange light over the already red bricks of the houses.

I just sat at my window for a while and looked out at the world. Two planes went over. A small boy with a plastic scooter shouted to his mother ‘Are we going to the shop?’. Apparently they weren’t, and his mum was fed up of him asking. A man walked up my street with a bag the exact same colour of his jacket, and at one point consulted a pocket book with a map in it.

If he’s a tourist, he’s very, very lost.

Hello world!

I like that WordPress has named this first post ‘Hello world!’- it’s so optimistic, like I’ve just been born.

But, if I had just be born, I’d be all pink and squidgy (not that I’ve changed much in that department since 1988) and rather unable to operate a camera or computer, so this blog wouldn’t be much good at all.

That is, if it going to be any good at all. We’ll see.

I’ve said all this in the About section, but as this is the first post, I’ll be generous and say it again. I’ve given this blog the address ‘Stuck In Leeds’ because I am. I chose to go to university here, and apart from my interesting lectures and my two flatmates, there is nothing much at all I like about the place. I don’t belong in this city; it’s not my city.

As I write, I can hear young arrogant men revving their engines for minutes at a time in the street outside my tiny terraced house. There is rubbish literally blowing down the street- the result of a combination of rubbish collectors strikes and living in windy Yorkshire. The students around here walk around either with their heads tucked into huge scarves and coats, or wearing practically nothing and waking the street by screaming and throwing vodka bottles at 3 am. The ‘normal’ residents here wander the streets with nothing behind their eyes, or sit on their doorsteps looking massively depressed. I don’t blame them.  DId I mention the streets are also covered in broken glass? And unless I specifically say ‘good morning’ to a passer-by, nobody makes eye contact at all. Sometimes it turns out the depressed old women smoking on their doorsteps are very happy that someone has bothered speaking to them. Sometimes they look worried that I’m going to distract them while my mates rob their house. It happens around here.

But, I don’t want to get to the end of my degree and think “What a waste of 3 years that was, being depressed the entire time”, so (this is where the blog name ‘It’s Not So Bad, Really’ comes into play) I have decided to start a blog in which I will post photos and maybe some stories about something beautiful, interesting, or funny I have seen in Leeds each day. Knowing me, it won’t be long until it’s weekly, then monthly, but hey… let’s be optimistic! Hellooooo world!

DISCLAIMER: I realise some of what I’m saying here might be perceived as snobbish. Let me assure you, I don’t look down on the people who live here, it just makes me sad that they have to. It’s not a nice place to be. And yes, there are worse places to live. But living in a Delhi slum was not one of the accommodation options offered to me for studying here, so I can only write in terms that are relative to my life.