Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Vic and a Bumble-Bee

It's years since I had a pint in the Vic. This ode to Victoriana has been supplying succour to the weary for about a hundred and fifty years. Situated directly opposite the rear steps of Leeds Town Hall, it was once a handy place to stay, when attending the courts, or the public registrar, or the many concerts, exhibitions, and other events held there.
In the main bar there are great booths with padded upholstery and cut-glass windows, I suppose, once a place where weighty matters could be debated in relative privacy.

Ornate was very definitely the order of the day.

I love those spiralling wooden pillars.
Cosy fireplace. Not exactly needed just now.
On a concert evening, in the intermission, there's a stampede out of these doorways, to the Vic. Or there was, in the days when I used to frequent concerts in the town hall. If there's an orchestra playing, you can bet the first blokes out of the door will be the brass section. I've observed them, ordering several drinks, chucking them down their throats and rushing back for the second part of the show. How they play, with enough alcohol to pickle a dead horse running through their veins, I have no idea. And it's also long fascinated me to ponder the bladder capacity of musicians. How do they not burst?

I only went into the Vic because of my dedication to my readers, and any pint of Guinness I might have had was solely for the purposes of journalistic research. 
Anyway. Shortly afterwards I was strolling along in front of the Infirmary, when my ears were assailed by an unholy clatter and roar. The original front of the Infirmary is victorian gothic, but the rear sections are firmly esconced within the modern world. There's a helipad on the top of the Accident and Emergency department, and the bright yellow bumblebee known as the Yorkshire Air Ambulance was just lifting off.
Although  they make a horrendous racket, the air ambulances, funded only by donations, not by government, local or national,  are a welcome sight. I have friends who would be dead were it not for them. They can reach casualties in terrain a ground ambulance can not get to, they can transport an injured person faster or further in a given time.

And so I wend my way toward home.

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