Father has a visitor coming up from the Wirral tomorrow. I thought it would be nice to get them a present from Leeds - the sort of thing that you find in Tourist Centres, overpriced biscuits with 'A present from...' and a postcard stuck to the lid. On the way to visit father I dropped into the railway station as the Tourist information is there. Except it isn't. The 'Visit Leeds' Centre was now closed and you could call in to the Art Gallery. I tracked all the way up to the Art Gallery and asked them about souvenirs of Leeds. They had some tea towels.
Tea towels are, in my opinion, a rubbish gift. I mean, some people collect them and then they are great, and some people like the idea of something from a town that doesn't need dusting and has no calories, and that's great, but I have never seen one of those souvenir tea towels that dries up properly yet. They cost an absolute packet, are usually pure linen which isn't the most absorbent textile, and they lurk in the back of a drawer taking up space. Anyway, tea towels are five for £5 at Tesco, the one here from Leeds Art Gallery is £7.50 for just one.
The picture is taken from the Leeds Museums and Galleries online shop. I put 'leeds' in the search shop thingy and the only thing that came up were two pairs of cufflinks at £45 each.
I had a think and really there isn't anywhere in Leeds selling tourist tat. You know, a cheap bit of rubbish to take home to the neighbour who fed the cat. There isn't that much expensive stuff. There is stuff at the Armouries, which is not inexpensive, and some seriously expensive stuff from the galleries, but nothing saying, 'A Present from Leeds'. Not even a mug. I ended up getting a small book of Yorkshire proverbs and a box of biscuits from Marks and Spencer, which started in Leeds Market, so that was something.
Mind you, I went into M&S and looked at the 'biscuits to give to someone to make father feel better even though you have only met this person four times in your life' section. I could get Belgian biscuits, Viennese biscuits or Scottish shortbread. Actually I got a rather expensive box of Swiss biscuits.
It does seem a bit odd to me. Leeds is a busy place. It has its own tv channel, it hosted the Grand Depart last year for the Tour de France. It has the Royal Armouries and Harvey Nichols and a pretty good market. There are three city centre theatres and the City Council is always trying to get something else happening. So why isn't there a stick of rock/mug/plastic pen holder that visitors can take away?
I may find something on ebay to send on. It's the principle of the thing.