There was a very quick mutual decision made this morning that none of us was feeling very enthusiastic about moving on. In any event we would only have gone into Wakefield to do shopping and then a little further to open countryside. Robert on Blue Point was happy to have a day pottering, Alan was busy with his radio and Liz and I fancied a visit to the new Hepworth Gallery followed by some grocery shopping. So we ordered a taxi for 10.00, Alan decided to come with us (though he was so engrossed on the air that he had to be chivvied into action at the last minute) and off we went.
It seemed sensible to start at the gallery and that proved to be a wise decision because it was becoming extremely busy by the time we left. It has only been open since the weekend and is obviously attracting a great deal of interest. I know that there has been much discussion about the rather boxy grey exterior but I liked it. The waters of the River Calder lap on one side and it overlooks boats and a large weir. From the outside the windows look large but it is only when you are inside that you appreciate what wonderful views they give, it almost felt as if I was floating as I looked out. The exhibition rooms are vast: extremely high in places which is necessary for a couple of the tallest sculptures, long and very white. It was interesting to see the Barbara Hepworths and I was particularly taken by the six metres high Winged Figure, though it is very frustrating (though understandable) not being able to touch some of the smooth and beautifully shaped works. I most enjoyed the Eva Rothschild Hot Touch exhibition and spent a great deal of time trying to work out how one fantastic circle was supported in the air. We ended our visit with an excellent English breakfast in the café.
There is a new footbridge across the river leading back to the city centre and we started back over there. It passes through boat moorings and we were entranced by the sight of a massive sunken BW barge that has been turned into a garden. The footbridge had led us away from the Chantry Chapel and it was starting to rain but it seemed a great shame not to visit it. We took our life in our hands and dived across the road towards the old bridge and the 700 year old chapel. It contained a little art gallery and we enjoyed a browse while we waited for the rain to finish.
Then it was down to the serious business of the day and on we went to the City Centre. We were rather surprised to find that Wakefield is actually a very substantial place with an extremely large shopping district, an ornate County Hall, Town Hall and County Court. We walked ourselves into the ground, did our shopping at Morrisons and took a taxi back to a welcome sit down. Alan went back to his radio and attracted a great deal of attention from passers by.
Statistics so far:-
2626.61 Miles, 1560 Locks, 175 Swing Bridges, 90 Lift Bridges, 45 Tunnels