Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Journal 6/12/2010 - Trip To Leicester

Taking the Arriva bus to Leicester

I guess none of us likes hospital appointments, but as mine was for 9:00am this morning, I decided that not having to go to work today, I would combine mine with a walk round the shops and market afterwards in Leicester, which is 16 miles away. To save the planet, petrol and the headache of morning rush hour in the city, and also the fact that I have a senior citizens bus pass, that I would take the bus.

Following a ten minute walk to the bus stop, and a five minute wait in freezing cold temperatures, the bus duly arrived and I took my seat, upstairs as this was a double-decker. It was so cold that the windows were frozen over, and that was on the inside! They never thawed out until we reached the outskirts of the city of Leicester over an hour later. The traffic was so bad that after I got off the bus, it only left me 12 minutes to walk the half mile or so down to the hospital to keep my appointment. It was quite a dash!

I won’t talk about the appointment, apart from the fact that two very large needles were stuck in me, while I watched it on the monitor at the same time. Ouch!

Around 10:30 I walked out of the hospital expecting the sun to have warmed things up a little, but nothing of the sort, as freezing fog set in and everywhere was getting whiter and whiter. To walk around Leicester market is a marvellous experience though, especially the fruit and veg section, where the most colourful displays, even in winter, of produce is piled high on the tables, with bowls of everything marked up at one pound a bowl, and the stall holders shouting out their wares, often in jovial fashion and very much in competition with their stallholder neighbours. You can fill your bag up with lots of fresh food for a few pounds.

The Seamstress outside The City Rooms Leicester

After buying only a few apples, I left to walk round some of the shopping malls, but this isn’t really my cup-of-tea, so ended up looking round some of the side streets, taking in some of the architecture, which interests me greatly. I just had to take a picture of the City Rooms and the statue of a seamstress outside, which although I’ve seen many times before, is gorgeous and I love to touch the bronze (I think) form, so smooth and cold in my hand.

The weather got really strange at that point, as although the sun began to shine, there was a strange showering of ice crystals swirling about glistening in the brightness of it all, and still very cold.

By afternoon I had had enough and it was time to catch the bus back home. The ride back was much less stressful, and with the rapidly clearing fog, produced the most amazing sight out of the bus window. The freezing fog had covered everything – trees, fields, even sheep with a thick frosty coating that was now gloriously sparkling in the sunshine, all against the deepest blue sky.

After a half mile walk back home, I sat down with a lovely cup of real coffee and reflected on the day. Then looking at my little pedometer that I attached to myself earlier that morning, I saw it read 9,894 steps! This translates to 5.62 miles – wow! But then looking at the next setting, guess how many calories I had burned? Well, would you believe it, just 400! I reckon that I ate more than that for breakfast, and now I was about to tuck into a couple of crumpets, chocolate biscuit, oh, and one of those lovely apples I bought earlier!

To see the City Rooms in 'streetview', click here:,0,13276293075708664441&ei=eFb_TPKeFsKYhQfQ-NC6Cw&oi=local_result&ved=0CCsQnwIwAQ&ll=52.633441,-1.134188&spn=0,0.018497&z=16&layer=c&cbll=52.633822,-1.134525&panoid=VcGX5DzrIEp3sncJlmP-bg&cbp=12,109.13,,0,-8.57


  1. I just LOVE reading your journal Frank. Maybe I am just a little nosey!
    Yes - it was Monday when I took my photo's too. And we also had a strange scattering of what can only be described as broken glass. I think it must have been blowing off from the trees. With the weather like this so early on, in makes me wonder what's ahead!
    400 calories off is better than 400 calories on Frank! I hope all is well from your hospital appointment :0D

  2. What an interesting day, Frank..... the scene you described after the fog lifted, sounds magical ! On TV news here, we have been seeing some of the heavy snow and road congestion in England at present. The bus ticket concessions are also the same here - and it's great.
    Thankyou for sharing your day .... I also wish you well - healthwise. :)

  3. Enjoyed the post - but so glad that bus journey wasn't me. We haven't got above freezing here at all since the snow.
    The painted pages are lovely xx

  4. Sandra, I'm so glad you like my journal :) I've always thought of a journal as something private, so it seems quite strange to do a very public one and wonder sometimes if I let too much out.
    Alice (queen of greens and flowers!) The haw frost was so spectacular on the journey back and I sat on the side of the bus and was looking into the sun, but I did get one magical 'sun through the trees' shot, which I am going to paint - someday!
    Pat, Thanks for your lovely comments. The bus journey was bitter sweet really, as although crowded and so cold, it also turned out to be an exciting experience.

  5. I think you're quite natural at these journal spreads. You have a good voice, and your sketches are wonderful! I'm a bit of a ninny in weather that cold and wonder if I'd be able to forget the cold long enough to enjoy the surroundings, which are spectacular--thanks for the street view! I would love to walk around there sketching!

  6. Great post and interesting drawings Frank. Take care in the cold.

  7. Raena, you don't have to walk round Leicester to sketch it like I did, if you look at these pics on Flickr, there's a link to google's Streetview, where you can look round the streets at your leisure, and maybe even paint from them!

    Sue, thanks for looking in. I am no stranger to working in the cold, so no worries there.

  8. Frank I think these journal posts of yours are simply fantastic. I LOVE both of those paintings, I love them because they tell a story. You are quite a natural story teller with your art. Have you ever thought of illustrating?

    And ouch!! Two needles? Yikes, you have my sympathies. :)

  9. Funny you should say that Crystal, as my art tutor says the same. Maybe I should look into illustrating, though I did make a short children's animated story and posted it on Youtube last year, but it took months to make! Here's the link if you are interested:

  10. These journal entries are really wonderful! Very down to earth and so well illustrated and well composed. I look forward to seeing more.

  11. Thanks Angela, the journal is quite an interesting little way to channel my artistic creativity.

  12. Happy New Year to you, Frank!