The rental car was returned without too much hassle. We reported the knocking sound from the back of the vehicle. The guy went straight to the rear, passenger side wheel arch to rock the car. It was almost as if he already knew about the defective shock abosrber.
Pauline, Andrew and I then took the tram into Manchester city centre where we spent the rest of the day. It was a nice day to wander around the city, through Castlefield, past Bridgewater Hall and The Midland Hotel.
The most interesting site was Castlefield Viaduct. It opened to the public recently as a Sky Park. It’s a National Trust place and you’re supposed to book in advance online. But we hadn’t, of course, not even knowing the place existed before now. But we were allowed in for the tour with the 12 o’clock group.
Various local communities are planting their own gardens, and the horticulture was well described by the two enthusiastic guides. Let’s hope everything thrives, and in the fullness of time, this will be a lovely, colourful sky garden. It’s a good place for views of the city too.
We continued our wander and ate our lunch by the remains of a Roman Fort, enjoying the saxophone player’s busking.
We came upon a record shop in the Northern Quarter. As I guessed, there was a David Bowie record in the window.
Liesel and I should spend more time exploring the Northern Quarter, or NQ to those in the know, there is some fascinating architecture and plenty of quirky shops.
Meanwhile, it was the first day back at school for Martha and William, both of whom look very smart in their uniforms.
We took the bus back home in late afternoon, it was packed of course. One cyclist on an electric bike kept pace with the bus most of the way home.
We walked to Didsbury and later went to Jenny’s place where we all had one final meal together. We watched a highlights video from the wedding weekend. The shock I felt when I realised that that old git on screen was actually me…
By coincidence, Helen and Pauline and Andrew were on the same flight out of Manchester. At Singapore, they would go their own ways to Christchurch and Sydney, according to taste.
It was a quick drop-off at the airport and the enormity of the occasion didn’t really strike until I was halfway home. I don’t know when I’ll see Pauline and Andrew again, in New Zealand but I hope it’s soon. Jenny took Helen to the airport, but I’d said my goodbyes the night before. And already, I can’t wait to visit her in her new home in Australia.
And then there were three. Just me, Liesel and Leslie in the flat now.
I prepared a radio show for broadcast on Friday. But it was never broadcast. Her Majesty the Queen passed away and the balance of the universe shifted. The important thing of course is that this show has been preserved on Mixcloud, I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out, after all.
We’ve had rain and thunderstorms so it was probably not a surprise that the tree stumps over the road have grown fungi overnight.
Lady Heyes Touring Park is probably a good place to go for a camping or a glamping holiday. But Liesel, Leslie and I paid a visit to look at all the antiques shops.
Seeing a few Toby jugs or character jugs reminded me that my Mum had a huge collection. We still have a few small examples at home but the bulk of the collection has, I believe, found a happy new home. I had a quick look in the record shop here, but I will not be collecting vinyl again any time soon!
There were old stamp albums, old coins, old photogrpahs, lots of old stuff. Many years ago, I started to write an article about all the collections I’ve ever had. Maybe I should dig it out and finish it.
This was an unexpected sculpture to find in the car park, and I’m not sure how accurate it is.
Walking around Northenden means we’re getting back to normal. Especially when you see the heron in its usual spot on the weir.
One big surprise though was finding that some trees in the woods have been cut down.
It won’t be too long before they’re sprouting their own fungus. But back to normal is finding a fly-tipped sofa in the neighbourhood.
It seems like a long time since we last collected Martha and William from school. But we’re now back on the rota, and this time, we took them back to our place. They were delighted to see Great Oma, Leslie, waiting for them. Spaghetti bolognese for supper was a bit risky, maybe, but I don’t think any tomato sauce ended up where it shouldn’t have.
Last Christmas, we were given a home-made voucher for a guided walk in Chester. And now was the time to cash in. The three of us drove to the Park and Ride car park next to the zoo, and we enjoyed the short bus ride into the city centre.
Liesel and I have driven through Chester in the past, on the way to Jenny’s following a week cycling in Wales. But this was the first time we’d spent any time there. All I knew about it was it was an old Roman town and it’s the birth place of Bob Mills, a comedian who presented a really good, fun show on GLR, all those years ago. Oh and that in Chester, you’re still allowed to shoot Welshmen with a bow and arrow.
The three of us wandered around for a bit and found the venue for our guided tour.
The record shop didn’t have a David Bowie record in the window, so that was disappointing. But there was a David Bowie mug. So my theory has now been revised: Every existing record shop has, in its window display, either a David Bowie record or some other David Bowie merchandise.
The Rainbow Tea Rooms were pleasant, we had a nice lunch there while, over the road, a Roman centurion was putting some children through their paces.
I’m not sure about this though: a special place in the city for pigeons to gather and be fed. But we are encouraged not to feed them elsewhere in Chester.
At the appointed hour, we gathered outside the town hall for the start of the guided walk. While there, we spoke to Angela, a local journalist. She asked about our reaction to the death of Queen Elizabeth. She took my picture so there should soon be another small contribution to my fifteen minutes of fame.
I’m rubbish at names but our guide was Karen, or Mary Ann or more likely something completely different. We walked for well over the announced 90 minutes, all over Chester, in and out of the Gates in the Roman Walls. We learned about the Grosvenor family and how Chester grew over the centuries.
With all the Georgian and Tudor (real or fake) buildings around the city, it was a surprise to find this bell tower. It might be functional, and it might be keeping the weight and vibrations of several bells from damaging the cathedral itself, but I think it could do with a splash of colour.
It was fun to explore Chester, there are plenty of alleys and lanes to investigate further and I’m sure we’ll return sometime. I nearly forgot to mention that this was on Liesel’s birthday too. She’d made her own cake yesterday which we all enjoyed.
I prepared a radio show for this week, but as Wythenshawe FM is continuing to play ‘slow’, ‘respectful’, some say ‘boring’, ‘turgid’ ‘dirges’, along with most other radio stations, I again uploaded it straight to Mixcloud.
And so life in Northenden continues, until our next adventure.