the road to hinsley hall

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On the bridge over the River Ouse in the historic city of York.

The English North is in many ways England at its truest. Here in a land of strong tea, strange-sounding dialects and scenic rain-soaked cities a foreign visitor will readily find most of the things that can turn many dye-in-the-wool followers and fans of Great Britain misty-eyed with nostalgia.

I went there for the first time this year, dispatched by a client to hunt for hummus – the humble chickpea spread created centuries ago by the Arabs that has now become, like croissant and curry, part of mainstream British cuisine.

My Yorkshire Journey was made possible by the friendship, generosity and kindness of Simon Philips, an ex-Southerner originally from London. He rose very early in Leeds on a cold Saturday morning in March to pick me up from the airport in Manchester, the North’s leading city located an hour’s drive away on the other side of the Pennines.

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The Yorkshire countryside with brick houses like those found in children drawing books near the spa town of Harrogate.
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Sheffield: a moment to pause and pose before the lunch queue
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Leeds: a bracing walk with a best friend
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York: More than a thousand years ago  before Cantonese became Chinese this area was a part of Britain that was ruled by Scandinavia. The ancestors of the Norwegians and Danes in the year 865 conquered Eoforwic from the Anglo-Saxons and renamed it Jorvík.
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York: Reflection from an English Tea Room
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York: According to the Economist the proportion of population living in England’s three northern regions (the North East, the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber) declined from 35% to 30% between 1918 and 1962. In the 50 years since it has fallen further to 25%.
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Leeds: richer, tastier and less oily than the Middle Eastern original IMHO
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York: Morning’s briefing by the manager.
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Sheffield: Not Silicon Valley or Shenzhen but here in the cities of Northern England was where it all started – the First Industrial Revolution that made the world we know today.
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The scenic route to Leeds-Bradford airport
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Headingley: “I suspect this is the best place in Yorkshire”
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York: Sales figures have shown that the British are drinking less traditional tea and coffee as more consumers are switching to “healthier” options such as fruit and herbal varieties.
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“The Northerner has ‘grit’, he is grim, ‘dour’, plucky, warm-hearted, and democratic; the Southerner is snobbish, effeminate and lazy” – George Orwell, in ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’
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Sheffield: Lunch take-out crowd forming at Simon’s hummus and pita bar.
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Leeds: the lady with the Tahini
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York: University students make up almost 10% of the city’s population of over 200,000 people.
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York: Built 800 years ago on an early Christian site, the magnificent Minster which is as tall as a 21-floor building has been for centuries the greatest gothic church in Northern Europe.
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Sheffield: Recent DNA studies have shown Yorkshire to be a race apart with more blue eyes and blondes here than in the rest of Britain.
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Sheffield: A smorgasbord of juicy greens and other delectables are picked by thongs and lovingly tucked into a warm hand-held pita.
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Leeds
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York
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Leeds
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Sheffield
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Sheffield
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Leeds
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Leeds
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Harrogate
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The brooding literature-inspiring landscape of Yorkshire
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Harrogate
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York
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York
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York
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Leeds
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Sheffield
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Leeds
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Headingley
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Leeds
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York
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York
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Leeds
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Headingley
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Sheffield
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Leeds
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Hinsley Hall

All Texts and Photographs Copyright Kerk Boon Leng March 2019

 

 

 

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