Leeds today: flame, Garforth, learning, floods, trains, bashing and book quiz.

Morning! We have high hopes for the weather this week – being woken at 5:20 by sunlight beaming in through the curtains does that to a chap – but the most important thing is that it doesn’t look like it’ll rain quite so appallingly as it did at the end of last week.

The Yorkshire Post has more details on just how bad the flooding in Calderdale was, but Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd were all heavily affected by the flooding of rivers and the canal. The cleanup started on Saturday, and even Allerton Bywater was in, rather than next to the Aire for a time on Friday night.

There’s plenty of footage of the floods on YouTube:

(Wider context) The Environment Agency defended itself against criticism made on Friday and Saturday saying that it was “difficult to stop flooding completely” when rainfall is high. There were questions being raised amongst locals in Todmorden when the canal flooded about the availability of lock keys, however.

If you’re planning on seeing the Olympic Torch then it’ll have left the town hall and will be heading towards Elland Road via John Charles Stadium by now (thanks to South Leeds Life for mapping the route). If you can’t get to see it in person then Holt Park Today shot some video of the torch going through Headingley yesterday. Be aware of traffic disruption today! Especially if you’re heading into town from Morley.

Is the HS2 rail link dead? We’ve been reporting on the HS2 rail link for over a year now and it looks like the beginning of the end has happened (Northerner). The fact that HS2’s arrival in the North was never a foregone conclusion and the only beneficiaries were likely to be those in Birmingham and London before the plug was pulled on the project has meant that there’s been no big drum-beating in the North in support of the link.

North Leeds News reports that volunteers have been hacking back Himalayan Balsam in Wyke Beck Valley recently. The plant is an invasive species which causes problems for our own local species, and it is hoped that bashing it back will help more indigenous plants to take root.

Garforth Arts Festival starts today – and the very first event is something I’d be very happy attending; a chocolate demonstration by the Garforth-based patissier Thierry Dumouchel. There’s many other events on, too: The Saw Doctors are playing, there’s taiko drummers and East Leeds FM are running their own stage at the festival too.

As part of I Love West Leeds (which is nearly here!) a collection of stuffed animals from Artemis have been loaned out to homes in the area. A first-person perspective from Wesley the Weasel on Culture Vultures makes an interesting read, and lets you know what’s going on with other examples of the taxidermist’s art.

Also in West Leeds is the Armley Common Rights Trust picnic on June 30th. This is an excuse to get out the picnic hamper and join families in Charlie Cake park to watch a circus in a suitcase and listen to jazz singer Tessa Smith while eating egg-and-cress sandwiches and pork pies.

Would you like to be part of a Book Quiz team? Hebden Bridge arts festival is next month (hopefully) and CV reader & writer Jo Throup would like to get a team together for the For Book’s Sake quiz.

And finally today sees the first day of Leeds University’s Lifelong Learning Centre’s Spring into Summer workshop programme. The LLC will be running sessions on creative writing, film, literature and the like and still has places on the workshops if you’ve got a spare week.

And that’s us for today! Thanks for reading, and as always please get in touch if you have anything you’d like us to say on your behalf. Cheerio!

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