I had to go to Leeds today. Mrs H was having some treatment for her bad foot. She would have normally gone on her own, but she wasn’t allowed to drive for four hours after the treatment, so I was the chauffeur. Since taking early retirement (or voluntary redundancy to give its proper title) in 2016, I have only been to the City centre once. We went to see a film and a meal and I hated it. There were people of all ages sitting in doorways of shops that had closed. Sat in sleeping bags with bottles of cheap wine at their side. All seemed to have some kind of dog with them, which I assume was for security, but it may have been to expose the compassionate nature of the gullible passer-by. I said then that I would only go back to Leeds if I had no choice.
When you work in a place, you do not tend to see the actual area. You move from place to place to fulfil your tasks, without stopping to ‘take in the view’ so to speak. On this occasion and the previous visit, I was able to take in what was happening in the City. It was not pleasant. Today we parked up near the Leeds General Infirmary. Mrs H was having some treatment at the Nu****ld hospital on Leighton Street.
Next to where I was parked, is a homeless shelter, which has been there for over 50 years. It has always been the same. Frequented by alcohol and drug dependents, it is not a particularly salubrious area, but it serves a purpose. When I worked at the hospital, the place catered for around 7 or 8 people. Now, as I understand it there are in excess of 30 people that use the shelter, and a lot of them spill out onto the streets outside. I saw at least 4 young people today, at 09:30 drinking beer. Not cheap supermarket beer, but quality stuff. Although I don’t know or appreciate their circumstances, it does make one feel more than a little uneasy.