Saturday, 12 August 2017

Goodness – We Haven’t Blogged for Ages!!

It’s been over two months since we took over our apartment in Manchester and some of our first visitors were Lake District friends Pam and Geoff.

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After a bottle or two of bubbly at home (something which has, in a short time, become a bit of a tradition!) we took a walk across the city centre (stopping for some shopping and a pit stop) ………

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…….. to Albert’s Shed in Castlefield for a splendid late lunch. It’s always a hoot with Pam and Geoff and we look forward to seeing them again soon.

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After the initial few weeks of decorating and furnishing the Manchester ‘pad’ we travelled south for a couple of weeks in Selsey. During our absence the dear old Lifeboat station building had been removed – leaving us with a full panoramic view across the bay and the brand new lifeboat in it’s brand new, land based, lifeboat station.

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We soon managed to catch up with Kim and Alan (from just along the coast) who popped over to join us enjoying the sunshine. First we had bubbly on the beach (which was terribly crowded as usual) and then ………….

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………. a BBQ in the back garden. A splendid day we all had and thanks Alan and Kim for popping over to brighten an already very sunny day.

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Next it was off to Southsea and Portsmouth with a friend who’d “popped” down from Manchester to see us. As always, James has to get a photo of the Isle of Wight hovercraft!

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It’s always a treat to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere of Old Portsmouth ………

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…… here’s Sammy and Doug in front of one of the old battlements and the massive round tower which held the winch gear for the huge chain which was pulled across the entrance to the dockyards to protect it from enemy ships.

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A classy sight on Southsea Common – a wedding carriage with two magnificent horses.

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In Selsey, a few days later, we experienced a tremendous thunder storm with continuous lightening from 11:00 until 2:30 in the morning. The lightening was so intense that James was able to take numerous photos from the bedroom window ……..

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……. but he managed to time one of them to exactly coincide with one massive lightening flash. This is 1 o’clock in the morning!

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James decided to take Doug’s new ‘toy’ on a little outing to nearby Arundel on one gorgeously sunny evening ……..

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….. and, deviating slightly from the usual route out of the town, passed the awesomely handsome Roman Catholic Cathedral.

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We got back up to Manchester again just in time to meet up with with our very close friends Pete and Rose who had travelled up to see Pete’s niece Ferne. Here’s Doug, James, Pete, Fern and Rose enjoying lunch at Zizzi.

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We had a marvellous day out at Tatton Park with friend Cris where we enjoyed a Segway adventure. This looks very clever but these machines do all the balancing of course!

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Two very familiar narrow boats came into town a short while back. Del and Al on “Derwent6” and Sian and Mark on “Mochin Du”. We had a few catch-ups with them over the few days they were around. This first one, of course, was to celebrate our meeting up (at BarPop in Canal Street). Al, James, Del, Mark, Sian and Doug.

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We all took a day out to Blackpool for a visit to the Pleasure Beach (which was much better than we’d expected having not been for many years!) ……….

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….. this is a very skilful selfie by Doug on one of the Roller Coasters! Del and Al are in the carriage behind.

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(Doug, Al, Mark, Sian and Del). It wouldn’t be Blackpool for us if we didn’t visit Funny Girls Show Bar in the evening where Betty “Legs” Diamond leads all seven cabarets during the evening plus a stunning finale …….

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….. and DJ “Zoe” holds the evening together with her own brand of humour (and mickey-taking if you don’t watch out!)

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Back in Manchester again, after a great few days with Del, Al, Sian and Mark, James occasionally takes himself off around the city for a bit of (what he calls) culture. The John Rylands library is a regular haunt. This stunning mock Gothic architectural masterpiece is even better inside than out.

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Enriqueter Rylands had the building constructed in memory of her very wealthy Manchester textile merchant husband John.

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Started in 1889, a year after John’s death, it took ten years to finish at a cost of  £224,000.

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The architectural detail is magnificent wherever you look.

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The main Reading Room is like the nave of a cathedral. All the lights are designed to look like cotton flowers and ……..

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….. down both side of the Reading Room are eight exquisitely carved statues of the good and the great. There is always an exhibition taken from the millions of treasures which are housed in the building and it’s always worth a visit – even if it’s just to see the building itself (and the oldest working gents toilets in the country!)

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Leaving the John Rylands library you can glimpse a view of another of Manchester’s great buildings – the Town Hall and Clock Tower.

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Many other things interest James on his walkabouts – this gold Hummer was one! Look at the size of it next to the Mercedes!

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Looking up is much better than looking down. All sorts of treasures and information await the eye when you look around. Who knew that Charlotte Bronte started writing “Jane Eyre” in Manchester?

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On another walkabout (this time down Oxford Road) James visited the city’s Museum. Housed in a fabulous building, the fa├žade being a bit reminiscent of London’s Natural History Museum.

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Further down Oxford Road is the stupendous Catholic Church …….

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…… and, across the road and part of the University complex, is the wonderful Whitworth Building.

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A quick look inside the main hall just takes your breath away!

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As we started this blog with friends, we will end with them also. We had a visit from the lovely Bill and Eileen. Again the day started with bubbly at home followed by a delightful discovery of a Chinese restaurant in the city’s China Town district (obviously!). A laugh a minute was the order of the day and we look forward, as always, to seeing them again.

Life at both ends of the country is beginning to settle down and hopefully we’ll start to explore some of Northern England in addition to parts further afield. That reminds me – I need to pack that suit case!