I had to go into Leeds city centre yesterday as I had a meeting with my financial advisor and I also wanted to get my eyes tested.
The two appointments just happened to be on the same day and nothing should be read into it !!
I don't like going into Leeds very much as like most big UK cities, it's dirty and crowded and.....well just a modern UK city really. Yes there are a few good places to stop and spend a few minutes taking in the views and for this reason I took my camera with me.
I parked at Crown Point as usual as you get the first 3 hrs free and it's only a 10 minute walk to the city centre stores and as I approached the shopping centre, I was taken with the progress of Bridgewater Place which at 137m, although still under construction, is already the tallest building in the city. For the last 9 months I'd only seen it via the construction web cam and it's just not the same.
I've never been a fan of the Leeds planning rules which seem to have given us a city of dull brown buildings all looking much the same. New city centre 'riverside' apartment blocks are going up like crazy with prices to match - but they all look the same to me...........unimpressive concrete nonentities with hundreds of little balconies breaking up their otherwise flat boring facades.
Bridgewater Place is different and then some. It would be worthy of a location in Chicago, a city which claims to be the home of the skyscraper and has many of the most beautiful within it's limits.
This view, from the middle of the road alongside the shopping centre, doesn't show it off that well but you get the overall look of the place.
The bottom 10 floors will be for office space and the top 20 will be for apartments; I'm not sure what the other 2 floors will be for but i'm sure they'll make money somehow.
It was lovely spring day and the building stood out well against the blue sky and I was glad I had the chance to see it at it's best.
After my appointments in town, I stopped off at Costco on the way home and as I was parking, I saw Chris Chittell who plays Eric Pollard in the ITV soap, Emmerdale. He was leaving the store with an elderly lady who could have been a relative or just a friend. Whatever the relationship, he was kindless itself and gently helped her along and took his time loading the shopping from the cart before helping her into his small SUV.
I quit watching Emmerdale many years ago when it stopped being about farming folk and changed it's name from Emmerdale Farm. I catch bits of it when waiting for Corrie to start and so know a few character names but in any case, Chris/Eric has been in the show for over 20 years and so it's a case of 'I'd know that face anywhere'. Even coming out of Costco.
As he was pushing his empty cart back to the store, I pounced ! I'd never ever asked a personality for a photograph in my life but the camera was on the passenger seat and I thought.....what the hell. I thought about taking candid shots with the telephoto lens in true paparazzi style but in the end I wanted a good portrait so I went for the full frontal assault.
Well he was the sweetest man and smiled as I approached him. He said I reminded him of a friend of his which may have explained the greeting. He asked how I was and what I was doing there and we chatted like old pals before I remembered why I'd approached him in the first place and asked if I might take his photo ? He was as pleased as if I'd handed him a £20 note and posed like the professional he is.
I thanked him, he thanked me and he offered his hand. I went down on one knee, proposed and the wedding is next Saturday at noon !!
No I made that last bit up.....no really....but he has been married several times on the show so I had to be careful not to be partner No.5.
But the handshake was genuine.
If that's how easy it is to be a paparazzi, then I'm in. I somehow don't think getting a snap of Elton John coming out of The Body Shop would be so easy so I may just quit while I'm ahead and have all my limbs intact.
Chris, you may not be an A list celeb but as a gent, you're a star in my book.