I wandered up to Leeds for the weekend to go visit Julie. Thanks to geographical snobbery on my part (I don't know where anything north of Watford is, much as I haven't got a clue how London is laid out aside from the tube map and what's on the 52 bus route) I completely miscalculated how long it'd take to get there. The result: an unnecessarily early start on Saturday and 4 hours of travel, dumping me in the wastelands of The North at 2:30...

...which wasn't so bad really, because I got to see The Other Side Of Armley. It's a bit like one of those cardboard cut-out towns in Blazing Saddles: from the front, all you can see are the terraced houses and power stations. But go round the back and it's completely different - we wandered up to the local pub up a dirt track, past a lovely tower/house and through a little field complete with grazing horse.

Anyway, pub. Then Lebanese meal. Then pub. Then another pub. (see a pattern emerging?). Some good demos of pub magic tricks from Johnny and Shaun. And that was Saturday.

Sunday held a long-promised treat: a visit to The Forbidden Corner. It's an estate about 90 minutes outside Leeds that's full of Weird Shit. To be specific:

  • A massive belching mouth-door, complete with visitor-battering epiglottis and realistic belch soundtrack;

  • Two sets of large carved wooden bears; 1 set playing cards, 1 just hanging around;

  • A massive dogs head made out of vines;

  • Many underground tunnels, some deliberately constructed to mess with any idea of perspective you might have had;
  • A roman temple entrance, reached by stepping stones along a stream;
  • A room with child-size mice being tortured by a massive cat;
  • Castle battlements;

  • A glass pyramid;
  • A 20ft tall axe-bearing woodsman made of err wood;

  • A huge pond full of carp, tadpoles, leeches and a dead frog. The dead frog seemed to get a disproportionate amount of attention;

...and so on. You get the picture. Enchanting stuff and thoroughly recommended.

Wandered back to Leeds via a delicious ice cream manufacturing place (just in case we hadn't stuffed our faced enough), then went round to Ali's for Donkey Konga (an absolutely charming game which I'm putting on order as soon as I can) and Wario Ware action, then out to the pub for quiz. Walked home then sat up talking about ABSOLUTELY NOTHING til the wee hours, when I crashed on t'sofa...

It was ace.