I live in a red-brick terrace on a cobble-stone street. Outside my window there’s a tree with wobbly branches and wibbly leaves. I look past it, to the chimney pots and tangled gardens of the opposite terrace.
There is something quite wonderful about these red terraces. Three stories high, with pointed slate roofs. They zig-zag all over my suburb, and up the next hill. I have never lived amid such a profusion of chimney-pots. The contrast between the red brick and the green trees is so cheering. I bet they’re even nice in winter. I’d love to see them topped with snow.
I spent my first year in Leeds mourning for York. While this was partly due to York’s loveliness, it was mainly due to the fact that I had moved to an inner-city council estate that could have passed for one of the outer circles of Hell. It was grey, and smelly, and bleak, littered with broken glass, prowled by rude nine-year-olds, and dark figures in hooded jumpers. The contrast nearly killed me, not to mention the poor lovie. But it turns out that’s not Leeds, after all. This Leeds I like. England is suddenly a novelty again. On my way to uni, there are second-hand bookshops, and cafés with wooden tables and yellow walls. And squirrels. Plenty of squirrels.