Well, I guess it’s what you might call a Catch 22, or we can go for a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” if you prefer.
Pick your well-worn phrase, choose more than one, shower them down, they all apply here.
Leeds is caught between conflicting demands, we have been skewered good and proper. We can’t go backwards, we can’t go forwards, it’s all a bit of a car crash and, ouch, it hurts.
First we asked nicely if we could have some cash towards the supertram. We drew up plans, we got all excited. Here was our chance to be like the other big cities, to have a modern, joined up, public transport system.
The whole of Leeds would never again be gridlocked by someone stalling their car on Kirkstall Road
Commuters were happily planning their new journeys into work when the Labour government lobbed a grenade into the middle of our party. No, Leeds couldn’t have a supertram: the plan was too ambitious, too extensive and, mostly, too expensive.
There was a period of deflation: the punched in the gut kind, not the kind where people have to carry their worthless currency around in wheelbarrows though, you know, who knows where things are going?
The trolleybus was the next option, of course. It wasn’t popular with everyone. Some people thought the sacrifice of a few trees in Headingley was too much - ha! - they should live where I live. Trees live in fear round these parts.
Anyway, it’s not worth arguing the toss now because the trolleybus has been rejected by a Tory governemnt - for not being ambitious and extensive enough. Which is both hilarious and shameful.
So what plan shall we come up with next? All ideas welcome. Here are three of mine:
*Ban high heels. High heels are under a bit of a cloud right now after a young actress doing a bit of temping as a receptionist refused to wear them, saying the rule didn’t apply to men. Well I suppose so, but the tie and trousers rule doesn’t apply to women either. Whatever. Lots of women have tweeted pictures of themselves in flats, in a show of support - it helps that flat shoes are the height of fashion right now - and perhaps we in Leeds should harness this movement and just ban them. Yes, ban them. No one, of any gender, will be allowed to wear heels in Leeds. This will encourage us to walk past those traffic jams.
*Think outside the box. Look, the supertram was going to drive up too many roads, the trolleybus too few. Let’s leave roads behind. All my life I have dreamed of travelling by flying suit - no, hear me out. I can see it now. A sturdy row of hooks by the door would hold the family suits. Each morning we would each step into one, call a cheery goodbye, press the button to activate the backpack, and rise 12 feet into the air - I say 12, it could be more it could be less, I’m not fussed. The point is, we would then glide off in any direction we chose, travelling at a steady 30mph with nothing to get in our way. Parents could attach children with ropes and clips and things, there could be a few sky lanes. Look, I’ve thought this thing through. And it makes no difference anyway, since every Leeds plan ultimately gets a refusal. Meantime, let’s have fun.
*Bring on the teleporter. We’ve still got the trolleybus cash, we’ve got a couple of cracking universities - see where I’m going? Let’s stick the trams and trolleybuses where the sun don’t shine and plough the cash into some proper research. Let’s make that “Beam me up, Scotty” a Leeds reality. What a draw that would be. You can forget your “Knightsbridge of the North” your “clubbing capital” tags. Leeds would be the place where people travel through time and space, where a commute to work takes a second, where it’s possible to get to your mum’s before she has had time to put the kettle on. Now that’s a rapid transport system.
After pulling a stroke like that, I think we would earn the right to be “The Leeds”. Who’ s with me?
Maybe it’s not a step too far
I am out of step. When I see someone with their feet up on a train seat, or even a cinema or theatre seat, I don’t feel intimidated and I don’t feel that they are being confrontational. I just assume they have aching legs.
But a study by a transport watchdog reveals that, of all the forms of anti-social behaviour, most people find the feet-up situation the most upsetting, above loud music, alcohol-fuelled disruption and even vandalism. To them, a pair of feet on an empty seat is a hostility too far. Now doesn’t that seem crazy?
Here is my confession. I put my feet up in public places all the time. I know there are hygiene implications, I speak as someone who likes people to remove their footwear before they enter my home. The answer is always yes to that question: “Shall I take my shoes off?”
So what I do is, I take my own shoes off before I put my feet on the empty chair. Of course I take them down if someone else wants the seat, and I don’t do it in any situation where I’m going to invade anyone else’s space.
I’m not being hostile or confrontational, honestly, I’m as timid as a little mouse. It’s just that I have circulation problems and my legs ache a lot. Simple as that.
So, if you are one of the ones who curse the feet-up people, relax a bit. They might not be challenging you, they might just need to rest their poor old limbs.
Leave our lovely, slim Lisa alone
Poor Lisa Riley. She can’t do right for doing wrong. The former Emmerdale actress has transformed herself, shedding seven stones.
The result is stunning. Lisa now has a pretty, curvy figure and a beautiful face.
There is no reason for her not to be pleased and proud, because shedding weight is a tough task.
But the poor woman is having to defend herself against rumours that she achieved her weight loss with the aid of a gastric band.
Lisa is keen for everyone to know she did it by the old-fashioned method of training herself to take in fewer calories and move about more.
If I was her, I wouldn’t bother trying to convince anyone.I am sure Lisa is telling the truth but if she had had a band fitted it wouldn’t make her achievement any the less. Lisa has altered her lifestyle, which is near to impossible for all of us, and the result is that she is healthier and happier. That is enough.