A short while back we went “over the river” (the R. Erwell) to neighbouring Salford to pay our respects at the funeral of actress Liz Dawn who played the invincible Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street. The press were out in force to cover the event but there was also a nice group of well-wishers in attendance. Very kindly, we were invited to join the family, friends and the many members of the cast in the Catholic Cathedral for the service. We declined the invitation with thanks though.
The next day we packed our bags and, from Leeds airport, took the four hour flight to Gran Canaria for a few days of sunshine and partying. Our transit from the airport to Playa del Inglis took us alongside some very barren but beautiful countryside.
The countryside soon made way for four or five days of “pool-parties” – which is a great excuse for keeping the body hydration up due to the hot weather. And for meeting up with friends of course!
The first party was Ricky’s Pool Party and, as Ricky’s bar is a famous drag / show bar in the Yumbo Centre, there was a lot of glamour around!
We were entertained by a number of drag artists during the afternoon and one of our favourites has to be Myra Dubois. ‘Myra’ likes to mingle with the crowd during her performance – something we had recently experienced ourselves when she appeared at Manchester’s Eagle Bar “Sunday Service”!
Two Manchester friends, Dean and Dan, were also out for the week long party and we met up with, and enjoyed their company, several times while we were there. Here we are at Ricky’s pool party – James, Doug, Dean (one of the acts without his wig!) and Dan.
Here’s Doug, with Dean, cooling off and “swanning around” as usual!
We enjoyed several more great pool parties but sadly the sunshine was rather absent! A thick cloud of dust and sand particles, called a Calima, headed across from the Sahara and kept us company for last couple of days of our stay.
Although blocking out the sunshine the Calima actually increased the heat to an almost suffocating degree and so the best thing for it was to stop and replenish the fluid levels!
On our penultimate night (night time partying starts from 11pm and day time partying starts at 1 o’ clock) we managed to briefly meet up with “the award winning, as seen on TV” Myra Dubois before her cabaret performance at Ricky’s bar ………..
……. where her performance went on so long (she herself described it as more of a prison sentence than a show!) but ended, eventually, with her noisy and deliberately shambolic portrayal of wicked!
Well, our wonderful but exhausting five days in Gran Canaria went very quickly and back in Manchester again we received a lovely invitation by canal friends Geoff and Mags to join them on their narrow boat “Seyella” for a cruise from Sale into Manchester. After enjoying coffee and croissants on board Geoff invited James to take the tiller for the two hour trip. Here we are having turned right at Waters Meeting and just passing Manchester United’s home ground at Old Trafford.
Geoff with James (who hadn’t lost his touch with the tiller) ……….
……… and “us two”.
All too soon James brought “Seyella” safely into Castlefield basin where Geoff took over ……..
…….. for the mooring up.
Geoff and Mags laid on a wonderful lunch of quiche, meats and salad and we all enjoyed the bubbly which we’d brought with us, and as always we had as many laughs as we could fit in the time! Here’s Mags and James – what a brilliant pic!
We have to thank Geoff and Mags for the lovely cruise with great food and company. So lovely to see these people again.
Oh, and of course, we can’t leave out the gorgeous Meg – Bearded Collie and “captain” of the ship.
And while we were busy mooring up and having lunch our ‘friend’ from Gran Canaria, the Calima dust storm, had followed us home and was now keeping us company in Manchester!
Our next adventure took us to Westhoughton near Wigan at the invitation of friends Peter and Margaret to join them at home. They met us at the railway station and took us on a short guided tour of the village. The “town hall”, built in 1903 is a wondrous work of art in red brick and terracotta.
Also in the town is a poignant and heart breaking memorial to the Pretoria Pit Disaster at the nearby Hulton Colliery where an explosion took the lives of 344 miners on 21st December 1910 (3 days before Christmas!). 171 men are buried in the churchyard at Westhoughton and the others in various other churchyards and burial grounds locally.
On a lighter note we arrived at Peter and Margaret’s lovely home to an afternoon of chatter, laughter and nibbles - all washed down by a good quantity of bubbly!
Time goes very fast when your enjoying yourself and soon it was time to walk into town to a delightful Chinese restaurant where there was a lot more chat and laughter. Afterwards Peter and Margaret walked us back to the station for the train home.
We have to say a big ‘thank you’ to P and M for their wonderful hospitality and for a fascinating insight into their local and family history.
Hot on the heels of our day in Westhoughton was a long planned visit to Manchester’s Palace theatre to see Joe McElderry in “Joseph”. We went with friend Sebastian who’s well on his own way to a career in acting and directing. We thoroughly enjoyed the performance and the stunning vocal performance of Joe McElderry.
At something like forty year’s old the show still enjoys enormous popularity.
After the show we held back at the stage door for a quick photo with Joe.
We met him briefly about four years ago in London and he’s still the same friendly bubbly guy who’s very happy to meet “his public”.