It's not impossible to travel around this country by public transport, but it can be quite awkward. My usual bus into town doesn't start running very early on a Sunday, so the day began with a brisk hike of a mile or so in the pre-dawn to get onto a different bus route. Strange how attractive a block of flats can look when viewed from a distance as it rises from the mist, lit by the first rays of the morning light, like a startled brachiosaurus made of concrete.
At the bus stop, a friendly chap took in my Georgian style attire without blinking, and proceeded to tell me how to get a more flexible bus ticket for an extra 10p. Georgians clearly rate a better class of travel.
Once off the bus, I faced another brisk hike to the other side of town where I was able to locate the elusive stand of the megabus. I've never traveled by megabus before. I can report that it was clean, not over busy, punctual and, importantly, cheap (although some of the drivers are wearyingly cheerful). It did however, take the long route to Leeds via Manchester, which necessitated a longer, if picturesque trip over the Pennines. The road to Manchester had been swathed in fog; as we crossed the Pennine hills we rose above it all and were bathed in sunlight. Below us we could see a roiling fog bank in which the lower levels still languished. What creatures lurk in the mist, we will never know...
Finally we arrived in Leeds and I transferred onto the final bus of the outward journey, thankful for the GPS on my phone to help me get off at the right point. I was there! And not a moment too soon; not only was my bag very heavy, but Arkwright was about to need assistance shifting The Last Line table. I’m sure he would never have coped without me.
The market was held at Leftbank Leeds, a converted church. It is spacious and stately, with high windows letting in the sunlight. It's also quite chilly! The previous day, the market had apparently been very busy; but this being Sunday it was less so, with more people succumbing to the lure of the Sunday roast. While it got busier later, we were told it never reached the heady heights of the previous day.
Nevertheless, publisher/ writer Arkwright and I talked to a number of people who were trying their hands at writing and were after advice on either sharpening their skills or on getting published. We talked about the Asylum Chronicles and The Automata Wars, and future plans for both. And we debuted a line of related products, such as notebooks and playing cards. The TAC ration chocolate bars did particularly well…
It was also good to see some familiar faces, though I was sorry not to have taken time to have a proper look around the market and say hello properly to more people. To those I missed – hope to see you soon!
At 5.00pm the market was not quite finished, but I had to duck out in order to get the train back into Leeds City centre. Finding the local station into Leeds was easy; trying to find the megabus stop from the central station was less so. Fortunately with the aid of my trusty GPS, I managed to locate it and bag a seat before the bus left...
And so, back across the smoky Pennines, to Manchester in the dark, before returning to B'ham, and one final bus back home. Where, of course, there is no place like!
Next week: Crimson Clocks travel to Lichfield, and I team up with The Last Line again in a visit to the wonderful Matlock Bath... Stay tuned for more travelicious exploits (if you’re lucky I’ll get some photos of the illuminations!)