At the risk of this becoming yet another unnecessarily foodie blog, let me just say how much we all enjoyed the waffles for breakfast: thanks, Liesel!
We went into Manchester where Helen picked up a scooter from Shopmobility, located in and funded by the Harry Potter shop in the Arndale Centre. This is apparently the only non-profit HP shop anywhere: thanks, JK!
We wandered around the city, admiring the mix of old and new architecture not to mention the humour.
Helen, Liesel and I managed to lose Steve for a while, but we knew he’d probably catch up with us at Albert Square, the location of the Christmas Market. Lots of food here as well as arts and crafts, and not all Christmas flavoured, which I think is more interesting. We didn’t sample any of the beer though, nor the Christmas punch, even though the stall is very ornate.
Neither did we go skating on the pop-up ice rink. But I did enjoy watching some very tentative skating for a short while: good to see I’m not the only one who can only go forwards and can only stop by grabbing hold of the rail at the side!
There are a lot of people in Manchester sleeping rough, so how fantastic to find a bench suitable for homeless person to have a nap on.
It’s a well-made sculpture, no doubt, but I sense a mixed message here: let’s think about these poor people; and let’s restrict their options.
Helen spotted Steve and called his name across the road. You probably heard her. I do know she’s responsible for causing some avalanches in Switzerland.
We do like a good busker, worth a couple of quid if they’re not ruining one of my favourite songs.
Next day, Helen and Steve, our two guests, went off on their own adventure after Liesel and I dropped them off at the railway station in Didsbury. We broke our fast at Scholars and Saints where I took some photos of their photos and artefacts.
Later on, I went on a solo walk down to the river and beyond. It was a bit of a wild goose chase, really. Not literally a wild goose, it was more a very timid black heron, I think, that flew further along the river every time I approached shooting distance.
I’m British so I have a genetic predisposition to whingeing about the weather. But today, it was perfect, lots of blue sky and then, of course, the odd splash of colour was lovely to see.
Our long-term project to get to know the area continues. We finally visited John Rylands Library in Manchester. What a fascinating place, full of old books that you’re not allowed to take out. They restore old books here too. The gothic style of the building gives the impression of a church, hence…
These light switches look like gas taps because that’s exactly what they are. In the early days of electricity, the supply was fitted by gas workers and while they knew about gas taps, proper light switches were still to be invented.
People can’t see in from the street but these large windows, apparently made from the bottoms of bottles, let plenty of natural light in.
This week, Grandchild day fell on his special day: Happy 2nd birthday, William!
We took him to the Ice Cream Farm near Chester because it was such a lovely, warm, sunny day. I lie. It was freezing, with a bitterly cold, biting wind, straight from Siberia. He enjoys the sand and water play, and for much of the time, we were alone. This is ok, but it was up to us to keep the water flowing and that’s quite hard work: pumps, Archimedes screws, buckets.
He wasn’t entirely comfortable in his new all-in-one waterproof outfit, maybe we tightened it up too much, but we knew that if he were to fall over in the water, he wouldn’t get all his clothes wet!
Outside, we let him walk and run around a bit, but I think we were both pleased (and relieved) when he agreed it would be nice to go indoors and eat something. And yes, later, of course we had ice cream, despite the sub-arctic conditions outside.
The poor, exhausted little chap fell asleep on the way home, of course, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t. Good job Liesel was driving, just the same.
While Helen and Steve were visiting other people further afield, I went for a quick walk to the supermarket and beyond. It’s good to see that some folks in Northenden know how to have a good time, but what a mess they left behind
While Liesel was working for her Alaskan-based friend, I enjoyed another solitary walk, some puzzles, some writing, some radio and some podcasts.
Helen and Steve left for home, so we visited Didsbury for our usual Saturday morning activities. Mine involved lying down and being massaged, muscles stretched, popped, put back into place.
Today, two days after William’s second birthday, we went to his house for a family get-together. We were joined by Auntie Andrea (Liam’s sister) and Uncle Paul with their daughters Annabel and Emily. Papa was here too but poor old Nana, Una, stayed away with her flu-like contagion. Still, three grandparents out of four isn’t bad.
His cake depicted characters from the hit children’s TV show Hey Duggee!, which we always enjoy watching on our babysitting days.
It was a great party, with hide and seek, dancing, jelly, balloons and presents; and of course, we all took many photos!