Sunday 3 October 2021

Coronavirus streets in Leeds - XLVI

Waterways and memories

Out of my hotel, I veered left and round the back over the road and I was on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and about to ply the Aire Valley Towpath that I last walked some 5 years ago. I might have taken more advantage of the sunny day, but I lazed in bed catching up on some much-needed sleep that I did not get out until well after 5:00 PM.

Memories distilled from the past into my mind, the recollection of things I gave a fleeting glance and of events that have left too much of a mark that they cannot be forgotten. From the centre of Leeds that canal runs on a higher plain under much human control and was used for the transport of goods and materials in industrial times. Now, leisurely or homely narrow canal boats use it, navigating 91 locks. 

Lower down to right, some 50 metres away as one bears west of Leeds is the River Aire, untamed and unruly, prone to flooding, unnavigable for commercial purposes and a work of nature in its awesome display. I would surmise the river provided power and the canal, transportation.

Paths lonely and free

The towpath was quiet with not that many walkers, a few joggers, some walking their dogs, and then the cyclists. It brought to mind the refrain of the song Lonely Road, by Christy Essien Igbokwe from her album, Ever Liked My Person? The general lyrics of the song I cannot recall, nor could I find an online transcription of it.

Lonely Road - Christy Essien-Igbokwe

One dog walker could not be bothered to look where she was going, she was ensconced in her phone, her dog basically becoming like a guide dog for the blind. Others I saw, we being strangers, might mutter a greeting to each other or at the very least diffuse the tension suggesting one is not hostile with a smile.

Apparently similar or similarly apparent

The canal is also part of the coast-to-coast canoe trail from Goole to Liverpool, called the Desmond Family Canoe Trail. About 6 kilometres into my walk at which point, I turned back on myself as the light was fading too, I saw six horses in a field across over the canal running about free in a field with trees.

Down at Kirkstall (Kirk is colloquial for church, I think) at The Ellers were noticeboards facing the canal with sayings and one I took for a time of reflection. “Don’t treat people as bad as they are, treat them as good as you are.” I guess I have some work to do regarding my attitude to some people.

Two men working on a canal boat acknowledged me on my way out then engaged me on my way back. He said, “You remind me of Chris Eubank.”, I said, “I hear that a lot.” Then he hoped I was not offended, I wasn’t, it is just that I was just in exercise apparel and again something found some similarity. His regional accent, I could understand, from another couple, I just chuckled rather than request an encore with an interrogative pardon.

Just over 12 kilometres later, I was back at the hotel, I expect to have a really relaxing and restful night too.

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