Leeds today: dock, Harewood, rhubarb, Heart, ten, digital art, St Edmunds and snowmageddon.

Good morning everyone! It just keeps on coming down doesn’t it? Recent news flashes include Wetherby racecourse cancelling Tuesday’s meeting and Leeds-Bradford continung to report disruption to flights. There is also a roundup of the latest advice on the city blogs as well.

Do you have any thoughts on ‘New Dock’ (formerly known as Clarence Dock)? Shopping and eating come to mind and not very well in both instances. The dock was sold to Allied London last year who wish for the site to become a work and leisure hub for the creative and digital industries. To counteract present day views that the place had become ‘isolated because it has no spirit and it has no soul’, plans will take into account public opinion via a questionnaire to discover more about exactly what it would take Leeds people to bring some life back to the area.

There was more evidence of partnership working in South Leeds recently as both the Holbeck and Beeston in Bloom societies agreed to share ‘twenty-two sacks of compost, plant feed, bamboo canes, soil enhancer and buckets’, all of which were the spoils of a police raid on a cannabis farm at the Britannia pub in Holbeck. Linda Stanley, Secretary of Beeston in Bloom said:

“We have worked with the Council and the Police for years. It’s great to see this material being diverted from criminal activity to going to make Holbeck and Beeston more beautiful places.”

People say that the best time to think about moving is at the beginning of the year when it’s quieter. If that’s you and you would be ecstatic about a period property then you might want to be alerted to the fact that Harewood House are selling thirty of its eighty-five two to four bedroom cottages. The sale is to fund a green energy plan to heat the historic estate by switching from oil and gas to a biomass boiler by springtime of next year. There’s a lot of interest in the sale already with prices expected to start from £150,000.

It’s the phrase ‘harvested by candlelight’ that made me take a trip to RK Harris and Sons to buy Yorkshire forced rhubarb a few days ago. Not an easy task at the best of times, as seen on the BBC’s how-to podcast, last year’s mild winter saw a 25% drop in yield. There are only eleven forcing sheds left inside the Yorkshire rhubarb triangle so hurry to get your fix of this sweet and delicate vegetable.

Lots of us are trying to eat and shop well at the moment so for a nice affordable treat book yourself onto Foodie Thursdays at Heart in Headingley every week. This Thursday has Fish and Chips on the menu whilst future themed nights are set to include Thai and French cuisine as well as a Valentine’s menu.

Actually, forget getting your five a day, Shirley Rodger’s ten a day seems more likely to do me some good in the long run. The gist – try to speak to at least ten people every day, five on weekends; ‘it counts as long as words are exchanged with voices… incoming and outgoing calls count, even to call centres.’ I know exactly what it’s like to spend long periods of time on your own through the week and will definitely be keeping this resolution in mind.

While it may not seem entirely necessary at the moment, you too could be dancing on ice in Millenium square this Friday. The Ice Cube outdoor skating rink will cater for four week group an experience simulator, individual skating tuition (alas, not from Torvill and Dean) and a 40 m long dry slope slide.

From tomorrow, there will be a new digital art exhibition at Leeds City Museum inspired by the social media conversations and topics trending across the city on the last three days of November 2012.

‘Each chosen topic and the hundreds of thousands of digital conversations associated with them are represented by a specific colour coded keyword. From the keywords at the bottom of the artwork a series of lines flare out to form a myriad of coloured interlinked circles. The thickness of the lines and the size and brightness of the circles represent the popularity of each topic and the frequency at which people were speaking about them.’

Apparently, football, Skyfall and Strictly Come Dancing were amongst the micro obsessions of the time.

Finally, the fabulous Sinfonia of Leeds orchestra continue their concert season at St Edmunds Church in Roundhay this Saturday. Humperdinck, Ravel, Sibelius, and Dvorak are on a wonderful programme with guest conductor Anthony Kraus. Head to their facebook page for a sample and then grab a ticket on the door.

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