Easter is certainly my favourite day of the year. The day that fulfils the promise of Christmas and signals the certainty of new life. It’s made all the more important by the journey we take through the preceding week. From shouts of ‘Hosanna’ to cries of ‘Crucify’, through betrayal and denial we find ourselves faced with the desolation of the cross. From death and darkness new life is recreated. Where once there was only despair, a new hope rises…
I brought a t-shirt from Handmade in Bradford on market street a few months ago. Its very simple design is a stroke of genius from @paperbirdofbfd. A white t-shirt with all the Bradford post districts listed in various fonts and then at the bottom the words ‘Love Where You Live’. It’s quickly become one of my favourites so you may well have seen me wearing it at some point!
Anyone who has heard me talk about Bradford will know that I can get quite evangelical about our city. I think it’s a wonderful place to live, that in the 10ish years I have been regularly visiting or living in the city, has kept improving. That’s certainly been true in the areas around City Hall and North Parade. My family and I love the new mirror pool and fountains. I’ll admit that when the plans were first announced I was more than sceptical about a lake in the city centre surrounded by pubs and bars. To me that sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. Thankfully my fears were entirely unfounded and the design that has come to fruition is a wonderful, fun, interactive community space that is a joy to spend time in on a sunny day. My kids certainly love running in and out of the fountains and paddling in the shallows. The events down there this year have been great too and it makes a wonderful evening centrepiece as the colourful fountains dance in the dark. Forster’s Bistro and the new Pavilion Cafe give you some great food and drink options right in the heart of the city with Forster’s often hosting live music and comedy nights. In the same area there’s amazing plans to redevelop the former Odeon cinema into a big concert venue and the Sunbridge tunnels project due to open in the Autumn of this year will be a wonderfully unique collection of bars, restaurants and shops under the city streets.
North Parade and the surrounding streets have recently been marketing themselves as the City’s independent Quarter and is a wonderful place to get a pint or a coffee. The Sparrow, Al’s Dime Bar and The Record Cafe all serve great craft beer with a focus on the best of Yorkshire breweries with The Sparrow serving pork pies and continental meat and cheese platters, The Record Cafe specialising in charcuterie and Al’s has the city’s best cocktail menu. Mama Mia’s Italian, currently being given a full refit, is just round the corner and serves amazing pizza. There’s two great cafe’s on North Parade too with Forks cafe being one of my favourite places for a flat white and homemade cakes. It’s a social enterprise cafe working in partnership with the bridge project which has its own free sharing library upstairs. February will also see the opening of the new Bradford Brewery on Westgate which will become the new home of St Arnold’s, our circuit ‘Pub Church’ project with Bible studies and beer and hymn events. The Beer House a new larger pub venue has also opened in the old Table Decor shop and is another wonderful addition to the city.
Another of my favourite places is the new Guzelian Cafe bar on Church bank, opposite the cathedral (and next door to My wife’s office!) which cooks up some excellent tapas.
All that and I’ve not even mentioned the Westfield centre, the fact Bradford is the nations Curry Capital for the fourth consecutive year or the city’s other reason to be proud, it’s giant killing football team!
I’m proud to live in such a vibrant, exciting city with so many new projects and ventures. So many wonderful people are working very hard to create a real sense of community.
In John’s Gospel we read the familiar words ‘God loved the world so much that he sent his only Son.’ As Bradford continues it renaissance we remember how much God loves all of his creation from countryside to inner city. The gift of the cross and the message of new life through Jesus’ resurrection is for everyone.
I love where I live, I hope you do too.
@paperbirdofbfd @BradfordBrewery @PavilionCafeBD @thesparrowbd1
@AlsDimeBar @TheRecordCafe @ForksCafe @ForstersBistro
@TheBeerHouseCo @GuzelianCafeBar @BradfordOne