I’m back from my pit of sorrow and self-pity that seemed to engulf after finding the Dark Mark hovering in my inbox (a euphemisnt* if ever there was one). Two weeks of stomping around with an attitude to rival any 15-year-old wailing “it’s just not fair” and I’ve turned a corner back to the real world. The final module of the Access course is half complete and with that, I have a completely free weekend with no coursework to do and no studying to immerse myself in. Such a weekend is a treat and certainly not to be squandered – and squander it we haven’t.
Living so flipping close to Leeds (20 minutes down the M1) and working in Leeds (me) makes it a bit too close to think of it as place to go unless to a gig or if we need something that can only be purchased in an actual shop. The other issue is that neither Husband nor I particularly enjoy shopping as past time and when you add crowds of people, it becomes more of a chore than a pleasurable activity. Today we avoided crowds on account of the rain and actually managed a successful trip. I braved Lush, to the visible amusement of Husband. I had to ask him if he thought I’d drank the Kool Aid; apparently I have very definitely drunk the Kool Aid but I now have gorgeous smelling goodies with which to play with.
The highlight of the day though (other than my bargain baneton from the unlikely outlet of Klas Ohlson) was the serious amount of reclaimed timber from Dragon Bridge Reclamation in Holbeck. Husband has bought a lathe and the various bits and bobs that go with said lathe – I’m eagerly awaiting a bowl/pen from the lathe but it’s a sizable piece of kit and it needs, so I’m told, a bench on which to use it. And a bench needs to be made, from wood. Timber from the usual suspects such as Homebase and B&Q is all well and good, but it is hideously expensive and would require a serious amount to justify the delivery costs. Not only that but it is virgin timber; grown and cut specifically for the trade. Husband likes working with reclaimed and 2nd hand timber, using hand tools he’s bought and restored from other people when they have finished using them (with the exception of the lathe).
We’re a household that cooks from scratch (mostly), reuses stuff until it is no longer possible and recycles everything that can be recycled (I currently have about 10 pairs of dead jeans that are waiting to be cut up and turned into something useful). I try to shop locally for food, especially meat, eggs, fruit and veg and I’m lucky enough to have a really good butcher and greengrocer in the village. The timber that we bought today is very much reclaimed, nails and all. The total cost? £14 for approximately 14 metres plus £7 for some off-cuts of various types of wood. There was a piece of elm, some beech that had gorgeous patterns throughout on account of the rot that had set into the tree when it was still a tree and a beautiful chunk of something called Bubinga aka Kevazingo. This, according to The Wood Database, is an Equatorial African hard wood, not endangered and is relatively easy to work with. How this piece came to be in Leeds, we’ll never know but it can look forward to being turned into something gorgeous and useful and absolutely not wasted.
Dragon Bridge is a reclamation yard, with heaps of stuff other than timbers. Railway sleepers, bikes, some truly stunning Belfast sinks and roll top baths, office chairs, mirrors, vintage beer glasses and furniture teem in the yard and warehouse. It’s the sort of place you can go to with a very certain purchase in mind i.e. timber and come away with a compost bin, an old-fashioned pram and a typewriter – and I love it! I love that so much stuff is being reclaimed and sold to people who will go on to make something new with it, saving it from landfill.
Dragon Bridge Reclamation, Whitehall Road Lower Wortley, LS12 4ER Leeds.
Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm and Saturday 10am – 4pm
*Euphemisnt – when you say something that might be taken as a euphemism but really, really isn’t meant to be!