British Food

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I really do plan to lose weight while I’m here. Really.

Given everything I had always heard about British food, I thought that would be easy. And to think that one of my downfalls might be the savory pie, the very food item I always thought would be the worst. When I read the chapter where Harry sits at his first feast at Hogwarts and delights over steak and kidney pie, I couldn’t help but think he was better off under the stairs on Privet Drive.

And then there’s Mrs. Lovett’s Pie Shop, from Sweeney Todd…

But then I had a Spiced Vegetable Pie at Costello‘s Bakery in Headingly, a suburb of Leeds.

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Costellos Spiced Vegetable Pie

Yum.

And they have cakes and pastries, too.

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Costello’s Bakery, Headingly, Leeds

Headingly has other good restaurants, as well. We ate wonderful Thai food at the very elegant Sukhotai. There is even a Mexican restaurant, Caliente Cafe, that can satisfy that craving, even though it is a bit different from our Tex-Mex joints at home (not even free chips and salsa when you sit down) and different from the Mexican food I remember from that other lifetime when I lived in Mexico, briefly.

Of course, we had to eat fish and chips.

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Fish and Chips, from Brett’s, Headingly, Leeds

Now that is something I cannot do on a regular basis if an airplane is ever going to get enough lift to take me back home. But look at this charming place.

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Brett’s Restaurant, Headingly, Leeds

Note: My last few posts have been basic travel posts as we have been settling into the area, but with my next entries, I am going to switch back to the purpose of this blog – comparing British and American educational systems.

Across the Moor

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“…I bounded, leaped, and flew down the steep road; then, quitting its windings, shot direct across the moor, rolling over banks, and wading through marshes: precipitating myself, in fact, towards the beacon-light of the Grange.” Charlotte Bronte, from Wuthering Heights

Anna and I went to Woodhouse Moor to exercise today. Moors have been nothing more than a romantic setting from British novels to me, and now I find that I will walk through the moor each day between my new house and the University of Leeds. But like many things I have read in British novels, I really have no idea what constitutes a moor. Dictionary.com gives the following definition:

moor

/ˈmo͝or/
Noun
A tract of open uncultivated upland; a heath.

Ok, then really…what constitutes a heath? Here I have found another term that I had only previously encountered in Victorian British novels.

Again, Dictionary.com:

heath   /hēTH/

Noun

  1. An area of open uncultivated land, esp. in Britain, with characteristic vegetation of heather, gorse, and coarse grasses.
  2. Vegetation dominated by dwarf shrubs of the heath family: “heath vegetation”.
Synonyms

heather – moor – moorland

So, here is Woodhouse Moor. And yes, that is a skate park in the background. Can’t you see Heathcliff rolling over the banks and coming to a quick tailstop, catching his board in one hand?

moor

The moor was lovely today, sunny but cool.

trees on the moor

Maybe, what makes a moor are really the secret gardens, which Woodhouse Moor does seem to have. And peeking through the fencing, I even saw vegetables, roses and other plants (but if a moor is uncultivated?)

secret garden 2

And then at the edge of the moor, there are less secret, but beautifully cultivated gardens.

moor gardensI

So, this term “moor” is still something of a mystery to me, but isn’t mystery what really makes it a moor?

Come Shopping in Leeds!

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Maybe to spite my last post about our rainy day in Leeds, the past two days have been sunny and warm – the perfect weather to discover what Leeds is known for: shopping. As soon as I heard that I would be working in Leeds, I researched the city and read in several places that it is “the Knightsbridge of the North.” Being from the absolute middle-of-nowhere in Tennessee, I had no idea what this could mean. Further research suggested it had something to do with shopping, but what kind? discount malls? upscale boutiques? department stores? who knew? Well, the answer is… all of the above, and more. Several streets and alleys around High Street are full of designer boutiques and upscale department stores like Harvey Nichols, where a doorman in full tux and top hat welcomed us inside.

But then a few streets over there are quirky, independent boutiques and vintage shops, and a little further on are discount department stores and pound shops (ya know, like the dollar store at home.) We thought it was tough to get Anna’s luggage paired down to come to the UK. Now, I can’t imagine what it will be like when we go home next spring.

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Leeds, Day 1

We arrived in Leeds today, exhausted and jet-lagged. Our house won’t be ready for us to move in until after I attend UK Fulbright Orientation in London in early September, so we are staying in a cramped room in a careworn hotel for now, but it has a nice library that we have taken over.   Image

It has been overcast and drizzling all day…that is to say, a typical Leeds day.

We explored the neighborhood and stopped at a cute sandwich shop called The Bee Hive for our first pot of real English tea and some salads (needed something healthy after all the airport food.)

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The shop owner was really sweet and taught us the different coins (Did you know how much bigger tuppence is than a pound coin? What’s up with that?) Then we found a charity shop where Hank and I each scored new rain boots for £3 each (less than $5) and I found a compact umbrella for £2. Image

Charity shops are amazing here!

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