Work and family commitments took me back to Bradford yesterday, with non-stop sunshine blessing the proceedings. Train travel between the city, Leeds and Halifax at the moment is a delight, a journey in more or less continuous corridors of green with trees and wildflowers still in their fresh early stages because of the late arrival of the seasons this year.
My complex itinerary included a walk from an uncle in Nab Wood to a cousin on the road between Manningham and Shipley and this, typically of West Riding cities and towns, involved leaving suburbia, plunging instantly into deep, thickly wooded countryside, and then just as rapidly returning to houses and road.
In this case, the surroundings of Northcliffe Wood were new to me; but not to Speckled Woods such as the one above which were flitting about in the dappled sunshine, while Meadow Browns, Green-veined Whites and Orange Tips enjoyed the full sunshine at the edge of the golf course and open stretches of field.
The second picture shows the backdrop to the first photo. The bluebells are still at their best in the shadier parts of the wood. And then as the track descended, I suddenly came across the complex layout of a miniature railway - most mysterious in the quiet (apart from birdsong) with absolutely no one else around. I exulted to my cousin about finding a secret train layout in the wood and got the gentle put-down: "Everyone knows about the railway. They have steam days and we used to go on it as kids." But I didn't, and it added to my agreement with the slogan promoted by the city's brilliant tourism officer Maria Glott is days gone by: 'Bradford - A Surprising Place'.