Post-haircut, I’m writing this literary effort sitting outside of the Botanist pub on Boar Lane, Leeds. It’s nippy out; however, keen to avoid legitimate observations like “Well go sit inside and sit where it’s warm you pillock!”, I’m reticent to complain about today’s late winter chill
To be honest, being well wrapped up against the inclement conditions, I’m not overly uncomfortable as I balance precariously atop my lofted perch (well, stool). My only company a pint of Amstel beer, a laptop and an inquisitive pigeon. Oh, apart from two thirtysomething blonde ladies balancing equally as precariously while enjoying a glass of white wine at the other side of the courtyard.
I’m saying these attractive women are enjoying their drink. The fact they’re frequently smiling during the exchange of light badinage could be a mere front. As I’m not party to their banter, in reality they maybe opining “This cabernet sauvignon tastes like horse pee!” or “Bloody hell, I asked for pinot grigio, Louise!…. Not battery acid!”….. Or indeed both.
Anyhow, I hope the ladies are enjoying their end of working week refreshments and that the frequent indications of mirth aren’t a façade. With the women not partaking in this tavern’s fine fare, the pigeon aside me doesn’t pay them much mind. He/she appearing happy to sit at my feet, looking up at me with melancholic looking eyes as if to say “Come on Strachan, get some scran ordered!…. I’m chuffing starving here!”
To my left, hundreds of Leeds’ citizens wander determinedly along Boar Lane seemingly oblivious to it’s corridor of Georgian designed buildings. These edifices making up a large proportion of impressive structures gracing the thoroughfare adjacent to our metropolis’ bustling railway station.
Standing within my close proximity, on the outer periphery of this franchised tavern, is a dishevelled guy I’d guess to be around his mid-40’s. He makes no sound, just stands there with a sign bearing the morose warning ‘The End Is Nigh’…… I tell you something, I really wish my mobile phone network provider would choose a less melodramatic way of informing me my data allowance is running low!
In the distance stands a Big Issue magazine seller, diminutive of size and sparse of custom. For some unknown reason on seeing this agent raising funds for the homeless I randomly ponder whether there’s also a publication titled Little Issue magazine. It’s content is very similar to The Big Issue, only they make less of a ‘song and dance’ about stuff!
Witnessing this poor guy’s plight, in particular the lack of interest in his wares, I mull over how this individual could improve market share. Realising that offering a free fridge magnet or a Simon Cowell soap on a rope with every copy wasn’t the answer, though, I return to my literary job in hand.
Burger King stands not far from my left shoulder, actually it’s not too far from my right shoulder either. A fact, I suppose, that’s pretty obvious, unless I’d an upper torso broader than Mr Creosote’s*** dinner plate.
*** Mr Creosote is the obese glutton played by Terry Jones in the movie ‘Monty Python’s Meaning of Life’.
From my outdoor perch at The Botanist I can see patrons at Burger King’s window tables troughing beef-filled sandwiches. Interspersed with the graceless chomping more associated with a Tudor banquet, diners appear to be occasionally pointing at Boar Lane’s passers-by.
Whether the people-watching of these burger munchers falls under the category of positive and well meaning is anybody’s guess. I hope it is, though, as judgements borne from a baseline of spite are a particular bug-bear of mine.
As I commence this paragraph, the pigeon appears to have aborted it’s attempts at emotionally blackmailing me into buying food for him/her to scavenge. Subsequently, with my pint of beer supped, I’m going to bring this narrative to it’s conclusion and return to chez Strachan.
What have I learned while quaffing my post-haircut pint penning these 600+ locutions? if I’m honest. Probably nothing I didn’t already know, I’ve merely re-affirmed my knowledge that sellers of The Big Issue need a sales gimmick, pigeons are inherently capricious creatures and that I may need to feedback on the practises of my phone network providers.
2 kids who've flown the nest, 1 wife whose flown with Jet2. Born at a young age in 1960's Leeds, the author became interested in the literary life when his wife bought him a dog. Having an allergy to dogs, he swapped it for a typewriter. Being unable to train the typewriter to retrieve tennis balls, he reluctantly turned to writing...... Website - www.writesaidfred.org