Blog header

You might just notice we have changed our blog header to a bold, sunny colored sunflower. The sunflower photograph was taken on Milan’s allotment, it was a fine 6ft specimen, that he’d grown with the help of some good wholesome manure.

Here are some details about sunflowers which might be of interest. That the flower generally prefers  to bloom facing East is hardly surprising, but in this case very apt, for Eastern philosophy and gardening are just two of the many things Milan does to aid his wellbeing.

Milan has also suggested we have a survey, or friendly competition about which header image you, our readers might consider as particularly relevant to our blog aims and theme, (read more about this and Milan’s allotment here)

Your voice on keeping well in Leeds”.

Plenty of scope then! for there are as many ways to wellbeing as there are people who share their stories and tips that help. We plan to organise the survey soon, and we’ll be sure to keep you informed as we’d like you to submit your photographs for a potential new image later in the year. In the meantime enjoy the sunflower.

Our erstwhile header with its rather grand looking lemur photograph, was taken by Christian Smith. Christian who has bloggged for us, is a keen photographer, with a eye for both the quirky or commonplace scene. Christian’s photograph of the posey lemur who seemingly reminded us….’and breathe’… has graced our blog header for some years. The connection between it and the aims of our blog, “Your Voice on keeping well in Leeds”, might not have been immediately apparent,  however the Lemur was a …Leeds lemur! ….A Roundhay Park, Tropical World lemur, to be precise.

In it’s natural habitat the lemur has behaviour which singles it out from other mammals, like most animals it’s natural poise aids its alertness, and enhances it’s survival. Poise is something we humans might emulate as we often lose it after early childhood. By retaining our poise we too can become similarly honed for either dangerous or pleasurable encounters.

Leeds Parks like Roundhay Park with it’s Tropical House, and numerous cafes is the backdrop for all kind of pleasurable encounters. Here is a dizzying 360 degree visual tour of the boating lake taken from the boating house. It’s easy to imagine on some balmy Summer afternoon or evening a luncheon party, or tryst.  Here you might see Common Warblers at dawn (no not the local male voice choir), occasionally you might see rarer breeds.

Leeds is teeming with spaces and places for leisure and information resources which signpost them. The Tourist Information Centre is one such, and was recently re-located from the train station to the Headrow, on the lower ground floor, (under The Tiled Cafe) at the Central Library/ArtGallery building. Opening times:

Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday – 1pm-5pm

Apart from having oodles of leaflets, the centre has ipads available so that you can research on-line, places of interest to visit in and around our metropolis. The afternoon I visited this airy and spacious resource, I had the place mostly to myself as you’ll see from these snapshots.

Watch out this month also for the reopening, after extensive refurbishment, of another of our Leeds very special country estates at Lotherton Hall. The estates bird garden was the setting of more of Christian’s stunning images, (spot the lemur). Christian was kind enough to give permission for us to link these as they also include intimate family photographs, poignantly they depict his late father, Alexander, sadly missed.

Sue Margaret

Wellbeing Web at Tropical World, Roundhay Park

A number of our blogging reporters met recently for an afternoon outing. We were intent on visiting Tropical World at Roundhay Park. We hadn’t met for a while, so it was pleasant to first catch up over lunch at the local hostelry. We sat outside in its sun drenched courtyard, where we sampled the victuals and beverages.

We had heard there were new residents at Tropical World, five giant leopard tortoise, which are the largest  of the species in the world. One of our members imagining they might be huge, was disappointed with their size and behavior, but  concluded they must be teenagers. They were bigger than your average pet tortoise, but they weren’t gi-normous,  they were more…..a-morous! Being discreet we did not linger at that section, and therefore have none of our own photographs of them. A return visit for a photograph, might see them grown not only in size, but also in number!

Here are some really excellent photographs of inside the tropical house. These were taken with a bloggie ‘snap’ camera/camcorder by one of our intrepid reporters, (a white hat is a clue to the person’s identity),

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and here are some more photographs, taken with a smart phone, by the blogger ‘that got away’

orchidscooling streams

It was the orchids and hibiscus that added a showy splash of  colour.The jungle room is predominantly, shades of green; the desert room sand coloured and the tropical ponds mysteriously dark, making it hard to spot the wildlife. Camouflage of course is the key to a longer life for wildlife in their natural habitat. Although the butterflies were strikingly patterned and coloured they too were hard to spot against  their background, At Tropical World their friendliness might be accounted for, by the fact we humans look like tasty morsels. We rumbled a rather rare creature which appeared suddenly. not well camouflaged, and normally camera shy.  Our intrepid  reporter managed to take that all essential shot for posterity, as he did of this other strange but fascinating creature.


All members present used their device of choice to take photographs, and we look forward to seeing their contributions later.

Needless to say the tropical temperatures had us all a bit hot under the collar, and elsewhere. Even the trickling streams and water fall did little to cool us down, NO we did not get in any of them.  We were however revived by a cuppa in the nearby tea room.  Everyone enjoyed themselves, and said they’d like to do it again. We shared ideas of projects and events of interest, that might help us develop our photography, writing and filming skills. It’s good to reflect that social meetups for wellbeing, can be both pleasurable and creative.