Thursday was our anniversary, so Wolfie and I headed out into Leeds, where we had booked a table at Gaucho, a swanky steak restaurant in the centre of town.
We had planned to meet at Shuffledog but my work day was so stress-inducingly hectic that by the time I got out, I only had time for a swift third. Lou wasn't in, which was a shame as she said she would be, meaning I don't think we missed too much and as we walked to the steak place, I congratulated Wolfie about passing his exam, which he did that morning and gives him a significant pay rise.
We were about ten minutes early to the restaurant but it was only moderately busy, so they sat us down before presenting us with a huge wooden board upon which raw cuts of all of the different steaks were arranged. They were all Argentinian and from specific farms, as was the wine which was exceptional albeit expensive. Indeed for the two of us the meal came to £180 plus tip but as it was our tenth anniversary we thought we would treat ourselves. The staff were great in their recommendations and their general patter, making us really feel at home. We had a Lomi steak, marinated in garlic and olive oil and super tender, which when rare was incredibly satisfying. My chunky chips weren't as good as Wolfie's thin ones but it was the minted sugar snap peas that were the real highlight for me. The steak was 400g and stuffed us pretty well, so much so that we declined the cheeseboard afterwards, which is very rare for us. Fortunately we didn't have a starter either, meaning we were in and out in just under an hour and a half, giving us plenty of time left for the rest of the evening.
With bloated bellies but not wanting to go home, we headed to a few bars for some drinks. We started in Decanter before heading over to the new office developments off Wellington Street, where we had seen a few new bars having just opened. One, Place, was still serving although it was quite dead, meaning we got to talk to the bar man about the venture. We also noticed a branch of the wine bar Veeno opposite, highlighting that these places were very much bars for office workers on their way home from work. The ambience in Place was fresh and modern and although the beer choices were typical for an establishment of this type, we did enjoy our time there. We stayed for just one drink before deciding to head over to the Northern Monk Tap Room, as we were this side of town and hadn't been there for quite a while. Crossing a new bridge over the Aire, on the other side we found ourselves unable to proceed out of the Tower Mills area, having gone inside to admire the wonderfully tall brick tower that was apparently modeled on the Campanille in Florence. Struggling to get out of the many locker gates, in the end we were released by a friendly security guard who must have been patrolling the area. Still he was good about it and soon we were in Northern Monk sampling a range of new beers including a rather delicious mint chocolate stout. I do like Northern Monk, the only issue being it's so far away, although we did discover a new way back to Wellington Street which would be quicker for the bus so we'll try and go there more often in future. We did get the last bus back after a great night and a happy way to spend ten years together.
Friday saw us head over to Eccles Hill in Bradford to Stray's new house, where he was having a housewarming party. I arrived directly from work, taking the 670 so I got to look at some of the more salubrious areas of north-east Bradford. There weren't many on the bus but the people who were, were the worst kind, either having loud phone conversations or in the case of two chavs, listening to and singing along with loud rap music. I couldn't get out of their quick enough so it was a relief to see Wolfie stood out of their door as I arrived. We saw a cat in the window and queried whether we were at the right address but it turned out we were and they were just looking after two pussies for a family friend. We were let inside and given the grand tour of the typical three-storey Victorian terrace, a nice place as a starter home, before cracking open some nibbles and watching Pingu, which seems to have been remastered and now has a new funky trance theme tune. Taneli and one of Luna's friends soon arrived and we made the short walk to Stray's parents to see the new puppy, Vera, they had just bought. She was very fun and enjoyed playing, while she fell asleep on Luna from time to time. During the hour or so we were there, we spoke to Stray's parents in-depth before heading back to Stray's house for pizza.
The food was lovely but I ended up eating too much, making me feel somewhat bloated, meaning I needed half an hour just to recover. Just after we had finished the pizza, Arc and Draken arrived and people started playing Cards Against Humanity, something I didn't have the energy to do. Unfortunately, with everyone else involved, I felt somewhat left out and watching Ed Miliband's hilarious performance on The Last Leg can only go so far. As a consequence, about half an hour later I started playing as the stomach pain had somewhat subsided. Arc and Draken left an hour later with Arc winning, and we left another hour after that, with me claiming the lead which was quite impressive as I hadn't played for as long as everyone else. It was a fun night but by 2am we felt the need to head off, so we booked a taxi and did just that. As we left though we noticed that one of the cats had torn through my bagels and dribbled on them, rendering them inedible. This was incredibly annoying as it meant I now had to go and get something else for breakfast in the morning. The cats had been annoying Stray and I'm not a huge fan either, but at least they didn't get in the way too much I guess, despite this unfortunate incident.