I know that if I put this picture first, the rest of the post will be an anticlimax, but I have to do it. Leeds is a town where none of a pig goes to waste.
Apparently if you chop up pig rectum, dip it in breadcrumbs, and deep fry it, it tastes just like calamari. Of course, no Yorkshireman would go shopping for something as poncey as pig rectum. Up here they call an arsehole an arsehole. You could also buy pig heads, stomachs, trotters, tripe, tendons, and bones. The other less mentionable bits probably go in the pork pies.
We set out this morning to explore the shopping district, via the gaily lighted catacombs of Leeds Railway Station.
First stop was the Corn Exchange, a building with a lovely oval dome of iron, wood, and glass, now full of boutique shops and ping pong tables.
Then on to Kirkgate Market where Marks and Spencer’s started out.
It’s amazing to think that the retail giant sprang from a tiny stall not at all like this in a completely different location in the market.
The original market building is another delightful Victorian ironwork concoction.
However it spreads east into twentieth century halls totally lacking in character, and finally to an outdoor space. One long aisle through a newer halls is the butchers and fishmongers. As well as pig heads, you can also buy fish heads by the kilo.
The fish heads are quite a bit cheaper than the pork arseholes, which says something about our values. But don’t be upset, little fish heads. One day a fish head may grow up to be President, because it’s already happened to an arsehole.
On to Victoria Leeds, a set of Victorian shopping arcades now restored and full of yet more boutique shops.
The interior artwork supporting the roof has tributes to various local gods.
Brian, the god of coal mining.
Desmond, the god of cost overruns.
Elsie, the goddess of mildew.
Mabel, the goddess of eating ice cream cones in the nude.
Yorkshire is not noted for the consumption of frosty comestibles in the all together, mostly because the climate is too cold, but today would have been a good for Mabel’s devotees, as the sun was shining all day and the temperatures made it up to 86F (30C). Any more of this and folks will start taking off their long woolen underwear. (Or is that Mormons?)
After a couple of hours of retail exposure I headed back to the Royal Armouries Museum and left Paula to buy things for the boat. I’m going to leave you with one last piece of armour, this one from India in the early 19th century.
It’s made of pangolin (spiny anteater) scales, each one hand decorated.
It’s the only pangolin scale armour in the world. I’m not sure why you would want it, it obviously didn’t work for the pangolin.