David Parkin can’t escape Yorkshire on the other side of the world and has a Valentine’s date with a drag queen

David Parkin can’t escape Yorkshire on the other side of the world and has a Valentine’s date with a drag queen

YOU go on holiday to get away from it all. I’ve just spent two weeks in South Africa and couldn’t get away from Yorkshire. I suppose I wasn’t so much annoyed as surprised. You fly halfway across the world and you don’t really expect there to be many reminders of home. Particularly at the southernmost tip of Africa. There I was at a farm up a mountain outside Franschhoek preparing to go on a wine tasting horse riding trip (well I’d got bored of doing it on foot). The lush vineyards bordered by towering mountains make this one of the prettiest places in the winelands of the Western Cape. We were waiting for our guide to return from a morning horse riding tour and we would take two of the Arabian horses on our equine vine trip for the afternoon. “That’s your horse,” said Yolanda, our guide, as the tourist who had taken the horse out that morning dismounted. I did a double take. I recognised him. Not from South Africa, but from the Flying Pizza restaurant in Leeds. “You’re from Leeds aren’t you?” I said and we introduced ourselves to each other. Ian Barnett used to be involved in the textile business and now has interests in telecoms and property. He’s got a hairstyle similar to Sir Philip Green, but fortunately absolutely none of his business ethics. It turns out we have a mutual friend in Michael Michaelson, an entrepreneur and dealmaker who is always great company – as long as you don’t get him onto the subject of Leeds United. I was still shaking my head at...
David Parkin on meeting a legend and words of wisdom from a barber

David Parkin on meeting a legend and words of wisdom from a barber

THEY say it is better to give than to receive. IT certainly felt like that for me last week when we delivered our latest event for Sky. The broadcaster brought together its 250 team managers from every corner of the UK to brief them on new communications technology which is being introduced. We held the event in the Centenary Pavilion at Leeds United’s Elland Road stadium where the staff and catering were top class, everything clicking into place as smoothly as Marcelo Bielsa’s team in full flow against Derby County. When we were setting up the previous day, one of the Sky team managers, Carl Wall, a big Leeds United fan who travels from Lincolnshire with his two sons to every home game, offered his help so he had an opportunity to have a close up look at Elland Road on a non-match day. Carla Stockton-Jones, director of Home Service at Sky, asked if we could arrange for Carl to have a tour inside the stadium. I wondered how we could make Carl’s experience even more memorable and thought it would be nice if possibly a little ambitious if he could be given a tour of Elland Road by a club legend. Legends don’t grow on trees you see. Remembering I met club stalwart Eddie Gray in Welcome to Yorkshire’s box at York Races last year, I got his telephone number and rang Eddie, who said he would be delighted to help. When Carl arrived at the ground I said to him that we might be able to have a look around and we’d go across and wait outside...