tvordlj: (Default)
I'm still here in the UK but it's my last day :((( It always seems to come so quickly. The sun is actually shining in Manchester today, not something i see often here when i'm in town. It was nice the other day too as we headed out on a road trip. Don't know if it stayed all day or not. It was dark when we got back yesterday but since it sprinkled a bit as we got in, i am doubtful the whole day was bright and sunny.


 We went to the Imperial War Museum which was really interesting. It's a fairly new museum, a Northern branch from the main one in London which I will now have to make the effort to see. This museum focussed on war as it affected the everyday people, both civilians and military with artifacts and letters and journals and photos in addition to bigger pieces like vehicles, a Harrier jet etc. One thing that gave us both shivers is a 15 or so foot tall piece of twisted rusted steel. It looked like a modern sculpture or something. It was also next to a twisted remains of a car having been bombed. The tall piece turned out to be a piece of window framing from one of the World Trade Centre towers in NYC. Jesus. That really makes an impact.

Wednesday we thought we'd drive over to the beautiful city of York. We both love it and it's a really nice city. Lots of history, and a massive huge cathedral, the York Minster. Lots of narrow little streets with old buildings (with gift shops and cafes in them, of course) to wander. Little alleyways leading to other shops or a little parish church in a hidden courtyard. Excellent. But today the Minster was closed to the public because they were having a university graduation in it. We went into a small church next to it which was nice but not the same, really. Had lunch in a nice old pub. Lots of nice old pubs in York! Decided to go to a Viking museum. Had heard good things about it from people that have been there in the past, including Graham. They have sights, gruesome sounds and disgusting smells to show you what it's really like to live in a pre-medieval Viking village as well as artifacts they've found in excavations under the city. They had that but the rest has been sanitized and Disneyfied and kind of boring really. You sit in a little cart and are taken around a replica village populated with animatronic villagers nodding and muttering to each other or to you in old Viking tongue with the audio voiceover translating and telling you about life in the village. No smells, no marauding Vikings. A small exhibition room. Certainly not worth the 10 pounds per person we paid so it was all a bit of a disappointing visit this time.

We did an overnight trip to the northeast seaside city of Sunderland to visit some friends there. On the way we took a very scenic drive through the Yorkshire Dales. Very high hills or low mountains, barren moors, stone fences making a patchwork of many hills over the valleys, farmhouses dotting the countryside, fog and mist hanging over the land, sheep everywhere. We stopped in a market town called Hawes for lunch. It's a nice little town with stone buildings and a little river running through with small waterfalls. It's apparently very busy in summer. there are a few small museums and a creamery/dairy that shows you how the local Wensleydale cheeses are made.

Coming back on Friday we visited the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey in another national park in Yorkshire, also filled with wonderful scenery. The abbey was at the bottom of a step winding road, nestled at the bottom of the hills and overlooking a valley. It's probably one of the most complete set of ruins of any of the abbeys. Henry VIII had most of them torn down in 1538 and the buildings went to rubble. This one has had several walls and rooms restored as far as the walls and posts and things go, there's no roofs on any of them. The refectory had most of the walls and the choir of the church had much of the soaring high side walls intact, or mostly, with the peaked windows where the stained glass would have been. There was a small museum to describe the lives of the monks (Cistercian) and we had an audio guide to go around with which had loads of information and we didn't even listen to all the extras over and above the main tour info. It really gives you the feeling for how life in these places was in the middle ages. We didn't even plan to go there, but had seen part of a documentary on it a couple of days before and when i looked it up online, saw that it wasn't that far from where we were going to be staying. Very glad we went! Lunch at the cafe there was excellent too.

Today is my last day and we're going to see the Christmas markets in Manchester city centre. They have lots of small wooden "shacks" set up through various areas in town with food, gifts, crafts. I have always missed them in the past so i want to see and have a browse today.

We'll see what kind of hassle i get traveling tomorrow. It's never comfortable and can be a real pain in the arse at times, getting from one terminal to another to the gates. My suitcase isn't going to be any lighter, because i've gained a few books to replace the Christmas presents i brought over. I bought one and was given three. I'm packing two of them and carrying two in my big shopping bag along with a lot of other bits and pieces i've bought.

More travel blog details here and here

Photos of Yorkshire, York and the abbey here. The War Museum photos are here
tvordlj: (Sheep UK)
Happy birthday to the lovely [ profile] girfan!

Been a quiet week here under UK skies so far this week. Took a couple of days to get my sleep patterns back and we spent our time together. Popped out for a few groceries and to see his dad of course. His dad is doing pretty well though it will take awhile before he's really back to full form, and maybe he won't be completely but he will get stronger and more mobile. We're going to a movie later this aft, Cowboys and Aliens and going into the city centre to poke around in some of the shops and have some lunch first. Graham is over at his dad's at the moment but should be back soon and we'll head out. No car this time, we're dependent on the bus schedules this week. Tomorrow I think we're going to check out the massive Manchester Museum at the university. It's apparently quite good and I can't imagine why i've not got there yet after all these visits but we just never got around to it. Tomorrow night it's a chinese buffet out with our gang :) and then Saturday, all too soon, is our last full day together. Not looking forward to the Air Transat flight back but that's the way it is. If i'd booked Air Canada they would having flying this way and that all over creation rather than the usual Halifax-Heathrow-Manchester. One had me going to Toronto then to Newark and then to Manc. and another route was to Heathrow, then to bloody Munich and back to Manchester if you please. tsk. But being as it was almost last minute, i guess you take what you can. I think i'd avoid Transat again though as it was a bit cramped for me.

Weather has mostly been pretty good other than a grim yesterday. I think the next few days will be showery though. That's pretty much normal. I should take some photos in the city center with a blue sky so i can prove i do see it here sometimes!
tvordlj: (Sheep UK)
 Guess it's time i caught up!

Last week we headed out to Cornwall. We stayed overnight in a country B&B just outside Wells so we could see a little of the city, cathedral and the city centre. Wells is the smallest city in England because it has a cathedral (that gives it the right to be a city) and the cathedral is really nice. Loads of carving on the outside west front and a high vaulted ceiling inside with lovely stained glass. We took in a quick look at the outside of the Bishop's Palace with the moat round it but didn't see the famed swans. They were on the opposite side, i guess. They will ring a bell at the gatehouse to signal that they want feeding apparently. There's also Vicar's Close, a very old street of houses that is still lived in. We were too late for the shops by this time so we found a restaurant in a building that used to be the city jail for a time. Pretty good food there. The B&B only had a couple of rooms but ours was done up like a little suite, with a separate sitting room, sink, small fridge and the usual tea/coffee facilities.It looked like an old farmhouse or cottage and the garden was done up. They had a separate little annex that had a guest room in that too and ... there were chickens on the grounds! :)

We stayed at the Pendragon Country House near Davidstow and Camelford in north Cornwall. It used to be a vicarage, dating to about 1871. It's beautiful, and they owners, Sharon and Nigel, have done it up in antiques all through out. Nigel is a cook and is amazing. We had dinner there the first night though they don't do it every night. It was presented like any posh restaurant you could go it and tasted out of this world. Breakfasts were good, too, more than just the standard continental or 'full Cornish'... they had omelettes, rarebit (cheese, ham and egg on homemade bread toast), kippers, and their continental was local ham, local cheddar and thick slices of homemade bread! (plus there was always cereal, yogurt and fruit and juice). 
Anyway, when we first drove down, we went along the north Devon shore skirting Exmoor which we could see to one side, and coastal views on the other. We stopped in Cleeve Abbey to see the ruins of the abbey there, drove through medieval Dunster but it was too busy to be bothered stopping, and we stopped at Lynmouth and Lynton, twin towns on the seaside. Lynmouth is right on the shore and Lynton is high up on a cliff over it, connected by a Victorian funicular rail car that goes up the side of the cliff in a couple of minutes. Yes, we went up and walked into the hilly town there to find somewhere for lunch. Found a nice pub called Queens Inn. We poked into a few shops but didn't stay too long as we still were only about half way to the hotel. Stopped at a hilltop visitor info centre for a wee break and some photos. 
The next day we went to the smal harbour village of Boscastle ijn the morning. Nice views, walked out the end of the harbour. Graham climbed up a path to see the outside of the sheltered harbour and then we walked back to the main reason we were there, the Witchcraft Museum! Awesome! It's small but packed with a lot of things to see. It talks about things like historical images of witches, persecution, curses, charms, symbols, healing women, stereotypes... all kinds of topics. Graham really loved it and bought a tshirt with a pentangle on it! We were surprised to find out that the owners of the museum get a few death threats each year.

|Next stop, sort of, was a quick drive through Tintagel. We didn't plan on seeing the castle but i wanted to see the crooked old building that housed an old post office though that's not what is in there now. There were at least a half dozen busloads of tourists thronging about and the town itself was not that attracted, it's all geared to the tourists and the King Arthur connection. It was a bit offputting, really. 

Down along the country lanes, lined high with hedges so you don't see as much of the scenery as you think unless you're at the top of hills.We stopped at a little cove where there was a smal beach and had lunch at a pub across the way. Graham enjoyed his huge 'Arnie' burger but my bowl of cream of mushroom soup was as thick as paste and my crab sandwich was just that, bread. Crab. nothing else. We walked on the beach a bit and then decided that we weren't going to have time to go all along the north shore of the peninsula in one day as it is now mid afternoon. I wanted to see the open air |Minack theatre so we went over to the motorway and al the way down to the south to see that. A woman created the theatre by having rows of seats carved into the cliff with the stage at the very bottom. It all overlooks the sea and a wide beach to one side. there are lovely gardens outside the theatre and the theatre itself is strewn with little patches of flowers. It would be amazing to see a performance there but it would be open to the elements for sure.

Back up the motorway to St. Ives where we managed to get through the narrow streets to a car park on the pier. St. Ives is a seaside town well known for being a centre for artists and craftspeople.Unfortunately we were there too late for the shops but we walked around the place around streets too narrow to be actual street though barely wide enough  to get a car down them. Just. We finally decided on a pub on the water front to have dinner and tried to get back out of the city but the GPS kept wanting to send us back into the warren of lanes. We finally found the way out! We drove into the Land's End parking lot which normally costs you 3 pounds before you can go hike down to the actual land's end or go through a big tacky complex of arcades, exhibitions and probably an overpriced cafe and pub. I only stopped there to take a photo off the coast from the parking lot to say i'd been there. It was after almost all the tourists had left for the day so we didn't have to pay to stop and turn around. we followed the coast for a bit then took the motorway back up to the hotel and didn't get there until nearly 9:30. Too long a day to do something like that again. Will have to rethink our idea of how much we can fit in for a day!

Day two, we went to the Lanhydrock house and estate near Bodmin. It dates back to the 1600s though they had a fire in the 1800s so most of it has been rebuilt and redecorated. Luckily they saved quite a lot of what was in the house so there are some nearly 400 year old furniture and antiques in it. It was owned and lived in by the same family for most of that time until 1969 and still has that lived in feel to it. We both really loved it. the Great Hall is still the original 1600s room with a full plaster carved ceiling of the stories of Genesis. It's quite something to see!

Went to the town of Lostwithiel after that, a pretty little place with an old church. Went in there to find it fill of floral arrangements for a foral festival raising money for a hospice and the church. Many businesses and organizations sponsored an arrangement which were all gorgeous and had little adornments that reflected the business. for instance, one for the fire safety and rescue people had a yellow hard hat. The drugstore/chemist had a microscope and little glass antique medicine bottles. The bridal shop had a wedding dress along side the arrangement. Outside there was a table with tea and cake set out so we sat down and had a cuppa and a piece of cake for a nominal price. 

Close to there is a ruin of a round castle called Restormel. We had a look around there under grey skies and then went to the seaside town of Fowey (pronounced Foy). It's another hilly town with narrow lanes. We found a parking lot on the edge of it near a ferry that goes across the river to another little town. We'd probably have gone over if we'd been there earlier but again, nearly the end of the afternoon by the time we got there. Lots of whitewashed or painted cottages with cute names like 'Baggywrinkle' and 'Buttonhole' (though that one  might have been in St. Ives). Unfortunately trying to find somewhere for lunch was more difficult than we thought it would be. It's about 3 o'clock and it turns out most of the pubs stop serving food at 2:30 though later in summer they will serve all day. We finally found a restaurant that was open and had a pretty good meal there. 

We looked in a few of the shops and took a mini bus they have that goes from the centre square to the parking lots. We got back to the hotel about 4:30. Our lunch was so late that i knew i wouldn't be very hungry and i took the second of two large scones we'd had with our meal home wtih me. Graham bought a sausage roll for later as he has to have meals because of his meds. We had a little nap and relaxed and after having our bits of food, went to the bar in the hotel, it's an honesty bar where you write down what you take and it's added to your bill. They also have a cellar with a games room with a pool table so we took our drinks down there and played a few games. Which i lost, nothing unusual there ;) 

We had been having mostly decent weather, mostly sun with some cloud and a bit of overcast on the last day. It rained in Manchester all week and it's still like that! 

On the way back we stopped over in Bath and met up with [ profile] girfan and [ profile] highres for lunch. He had to go back to work after but P. went to the Baths with us. I liked them but G.thought they were a bit overpriced for what you get for 12£ We walked around a bit to see more of the architecture. We were getting footsore and tired and decided to see if the hotel did food. It's a Holiday Inn express, and no they don't. wha? Rather than go looking for a pub or place, we thought just get sandwiches and take them back to the hotel room. But by this time the sandwich shops were closing! Aggh! We ended up with premade ones from the grocery story, Sainsbury's, along with some chips (crisps) and pop and took a quick taxi ride back. It's an early night for us after some tv, both worn out!

We stopped off at a friends' place in Little Malvern for a visit on the way back to Manchester on Saturday and got home finally about 4 i think. Met up with local friends at a pub in Cheshire on Sunday. Service was shockingly slow but the company was top notch! We did a bit of shopping yesterday in town and got some groceries for the rest of the week. Thinking of going over to Yorkshire to see Harrogate. Weather still looks a bit grim but we're going to give it a shot.

Phew. and that's been our first week of holidays!
tvordlj: (Sheep UK)
Right. First off, you remember i did one of [ profile] gramie_dee's radio shows... it's online now here. Not your usual Autopsy Report, because I got to pick the playlist!

Today was spent getting on and off a bus touring around the Greater Manchester area seeing location sites from Coronation Street including canals, a church, a lovely hall with a registry office used for weddings in real life and on the show, a park and driving by quite a few other areas. The guide, Mark, had loads of trivia, gossip, history and info and was very entertaining. A few of us had some drinks after the tour but Graham and i came back here after rather than making a night of it. Just watched Corrie and Ashes to Ashes (I'm still confused! one more week and the answers had better be there!)

Tomorrow our group is cobbling on the cobbles and having a coroping party in the evening.
tvordlj: (Sheep UK)
It's been a fun week! Tuesday we drove up into the Lake District, making a few stops along the way. The weather was sometimes sunny and sometimes cloudy so we did get some bright skies. Once again the Cumberland Pencil Museum has eluded me. we got to Keswick too late for the last entry but we did stop en route to see an ancient Stone Circle at Castlerigg. This was no Stonehenge but far more real and natural. The remnants of the stones were about 30 feet from a narrow little country road through a gate. There were sheep and lambs wandering through and the lambs were skipping about and climbing over the smaller stones. There were a few people around but not crowds and a farmer came by with his dog and herded the sheep back out of the area. I missed that as it all happened in the space of about 5 minutes while i was facing the other way taking pictures but Graham watched the dog do his job. We drove into Keswick after and had a nice meal in a cozy pub and then went into store that's been selling chocolates and candy since 1927! Yum!

On Wednesday we saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Palace Theatre and that was good fun! Bright and colourful and zippy songs! The car really few! *well with hydraulics and wires, i suppose but you couldn't see it* We met up with three good friends after for a Chinese buffet and no, we didn't feel like seeing the show again 30 minutes later lol!

Thursday was our road trip an hour or so south of here to Trentham Gardens and the Monkey forest where they have Barbary Macaques roaming around free. They are an endangered species and this is a sanctuary. They don't have enclosures orcages, they are fed but otherwise left to their own devices in the compound. The staff only intervene if an animal is badly hurt or ill because they won't let them suffer. The animals are used to the people walking around on the paths but they won't approach people either. They are the canniest things, the largest ones we saw are only about as big as a labrador retriever maybe, in height. Their little faces are so intense and human looking. We saw them feeding and the guide did a talk about them. One thing i found interesting is the females give birth up in the trees. There's also a heirarchy among both the females and the males in the group.

When we got back last evening Graham dropped me off at a pub in Manchester where a group of Corrie friends were meeting and greeting as a starter for this weekend which is a "Coroping" weekend. Today we're having a coach tour of filming locations and tomorrow night there's a dinner/party. Looking forward to seeing more of my old friends who are arriving for the weekend today as well as seeing a few last night that i haven't seen for a few years!
tvordlj: (Sheep UK)
The sun was out the day we arrived in Copenhagen and it went away until today. Figures. We did have a few hours to walk around and take pictures with blue sky in them at least. Yesterday we went through a lovely castle and went to the Tivoli amusement park in the evening but we were't on any of the rides. They were either to tame and for children or just too bloody terrifying looking!

Back to rainy Manchester, all unpacked and ready for week 2. Got a hire car and depending on the weather, might go up to the Lakes or into North Wales maybe.
tvordlj: (Sheep UK)
Sunday was a quiet day. We only went out to visit his dad next door for a bit and stayed in and warm most of the time. Typical, i seem to bring the cold and damp with me though the sun is out today at least. Long term forecast for Copenhagen doesn't look too promising either which is a bit disappointing but i guess we'll just have to do museum stuff and shopping.

Yesterday we went into town and around the Arndale Center (mall). I got a couple of new tops in Evans and some nice tea in Whittard's. We got Graham a new toaster and a new toilet seat and we both got some books and yes i got the final Stieg Larrsson book so i'll have it when i finish the second book which i didn't bring with me. It won't be out in hard cover in Canada for a few weeks yet and the paperback not until the fall i think. We had a disappointing lunch at Henry J Beans. Seems to me it was pretty good last time we went a couple of years ago but this time... my nachos were ok but not wow and Graham's double burger was awful. Very dry, no taste. Service was really slow, too. They said they were busy but it didn't look all that packed out to us. Not to justify the long wait for our food at least. Didn't realize it but there was a Wetherspoons pub right across from it. Should have gone there and probably would have if we'd seen it.

I'm going to be a metal radio goddess! [ profile] gramie_dee wants me to record one of his Autopsy Report radio shows with him and i got to pick all the songs so they will be a lot more sedate than his usual fare. There were one or two things i'd have liked to have picked, one or two were electronica type stuff, but he said, well I have to draw the line somewhere lol No matter, i wasn't really expecting to use those choices anyway. We're going to be doing a radio show over in Copenhagen too, with his friend Dave who does Metal Breakfast Radio. Should be interesting. We are bringing some songs for that too, some my choices, some G's. I erred on the heavier side of my tastes for that.
tvordlj: (Sheep UK)
There was hardly a cloud in the sky all day today, and for me, that is a rarity when i'm visiting. Sometimes it's started off nice and clouded over or vice versa but it stayed nice all day though the breeze was kind of chilly. It didn't matter. We picked up the rental car and drove south to Stockport where Lyme Hall and park is. We went round the beautiful house and looked around at some of the gardens but i didn't hike back to see the lake where Colin Firth took his famous swim in the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. I shall have to watch the series again though to see the house! You can't take photos inside which is a bummer but i did take one stealth shot in the chapel and one or two out a window. They have someone in nearly every room to talk about things that are there so you can't easily sneak photos. One older woman was in this one room that overlooked the reflecting pool that had a little "island" covered in flowers. I asked her if i could take a photo through the window and she did let me but wasn't sure she should. I got the feeling she'd never been asked that before so didn't know herself if it was allowed. You can take photos outside in the gardens so it's only from a different perspective!

I didn't do much walking other than in the gardens because i have this cold and i don't want to push myself and make myself worse. So far, it's not too bad. I still have a cough but the sinus congestion seems to be starting to ease off.

Tomorrow we're going to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust because Gramie is a member for a couple of quid a month and so am i apparently. He had to put a second name on the membership. We thought if it was a nice day, it might be a pretty drive and nice to walk around looking at the birdies and things. It's free for members so why not? A curry meal out with friends tomorrow night.
tvordlj: (Doctor Who Boe)
My last day here, we went to a Doctor Who exhibit in Manchester at the Museum of Industry. It was all based on the most recent three seasons, with costumes, props, monsters and characters from the series including the clockwork robots, the rachnoss (bloody excellent even if it wasn't working i.e. i guess it can move it's legs around), the stone angel, the model that's used for the Tyler flat block, and the model that was used for Big Ben when the ship took part of it out. The exhibit in Blackpool had more stuff from the whole history of the series but then, when we were there, they'd only had one of the new seasons of the Doctor at that point anyway. We enjoyed it anyway.

Rachnoss Clockwork robot

The zoo yesterday was good but it started raining about halfway through and we weren't keen to tramp around the place in that. All the animals would have been sat by the fire with their slippers and cocoa and looking out the window at the daft tourists and tutting so we wouldn't have seen much anyway. we did see tigers, lions, orangutans, some fish, some sea lions, various birds, giraffes and.... elephants! I'll try to get more photos uploaded over the weekend for the zoo and the rest of manchester stuff.

My cold seems to be coming back. Or something. I have had a persistent cough since i've been here and it's getting more tickly in the last day or two. It's a dry cough mainly. I'll get home and get some lemon and honey for it and i might break down and get some Buckley's mixture. Horrible horrible stuff but it does work if you're desperate. I'll have two days to get sorted before i go back to work. I'll have to take the airport bus in to Dartmouth and then Mom is going to meet me there. We'll have to make a stop at the grocery store for lemons, honey and milk for tea too.

It's been a fantastic trip in spite of the cough and sore feet in Paris. Very special.
tvordlj: (Default)
You women will know how particular we all are about our handbags (purses in North american speak). I bought a great one a few months ago, red, with white piping. However, it's not leather and where the strap hooks on broke a few weeks ago. I hooked it onto another loop but that broke a few days ago so it's hanging on to yet another loop but i imagine it will go too. *sigh* need a new purse. So i shopped my way from one end of the enormous Trafford centre today to no avail. do you think i could find more than 3 that had a shoulder strap? Noooo. They all have small handles or handles that would go over your shoulder bu tthen the bag would be right under my arm or elbow and definitely won't fit over a winter coat covered arm. The few i did see were very expensive. Graham suggested a big market called Bury market and we drove there. Most of it was closed. I guess weekends are busier. But luck was with me, and one of the few stalls open was selling purses/ bags, some were leather and i found an acceptable shoulder one with a nice long strap. It's got two sections which i don't usually like but i can live with that. Best part was it only cost 10 pounds so that's just over 20 canadian dollars. Can't beat that with a stick! If it only does me a short while, that's ok for that price. And the Trafford centre wasn't a complete loss, i did get two shirts for 25 dollars in Evans.

I guess i better get our supper started. I've just been informed that G. is starving and he didn't say anything because he thought i was making it. I don't know how seeing me sat here at the computer for an hour made him think that but there you are. :)))
tvordlj: (Default)
As always, [ profile] gramie_dee writes me a song for Christmas. He had it done early and he didn't want to wait until Christmas to let me hear it. Thus, the latest song, Canadian Girl is online here and also on the jukebox on my own homepage where the others are as well. He says he's got another idea for one for Christmas so i'll hold him to that.

So much for Manchester's blue sky yesterday. I made sure to take a pic to prove it can happen lol We're heading up into the Lake district on Monday, which still may have rainy periods but seems like it will be the best day for it. Last night consisted of telly, and playing with our new phones. It took some figuring out and some digging about on the Virgin mobile site but mine now can send and receive picture messages though it's slow. We'll see what kind of aggravation it is to set up on Rogers when i get home. I should have taken a new sim card for TMobile which is the same as graham's. It didn't really matter. The place where we got them says you have to have a 10 pound top up and it can be for any system because they don't give you a voucher to top up what you already have, they give you a whole new sim card which means a whole new phone number. a bit of a waste, i think but anyway, that's how they get you isn't it?

We also downloaded our photos to the computer and had a good look. Quite pleased with them, both of ours. I'll have some time over the weekend to start uploading to a couple of album sites, one for most of the pics, and one for my favourites. Tonight we are out with a group of local friends for an all you can eat curry buffet! :)
tvordlj: (Paris)
How was the trip to Paris? I have four blisters and very sore feet so yeah, a smashing success!!! :)) The strikes in Paris weren't toooo bad, there were still busses and metro trains running, some on quite reduced schedules but mostly they didn't get in our way and we walked a lot. A. Lot. It was cloudy and spitty rainy the first two days but Wednesday was lovely. still cool but at least sunny. we didn't do all the things i had thought about but looking back, what i had had in my mind would have been *very* ambitious even with a fully functional transport system. If the transport or general strike put up a roadblock we just did something else.

more details will be forth coming and i have to offload my pics onto graham's computer this weekend. Highlights were Notre dame, Montmartre, the Dali exhibition, the Louvre (sort of, i was completely knackered and walking on burning feet so we only saw a few things but it was still neat to be there) and the nighttime boat ride on the seine was pretty great too. oh and seeing the Eiffel tower all lit up and throwing off sparklies for 10 minutes every hour too was pretty impressive. we also dropped into the british museum for an hour of so before meeting up with London locals last night. (oh, and the eurostar in semi-first class was FAB and even the Virgin train from London today was nice).

Thanks to everyone that came out last night, excellent night and so great to see you all! [ profile] stevek, [ profile] silverfiligree, [ profile] sparklielizard, [ profile] zoo_music_girl, [ profile] childeric, [ profile] naturalbornkaos, [ profile] sarahofthedead, [ profile] ladymoonray, [ profile] swisstone, [ profile] kekhmet, Glenda and Barry (WANOLJ), and apologies to those I didn't get a chance to talk much to.

Back to Manchester today. the sun is shining (as it wasx in London yesterday and i have to say, in all my visits, i don't think i've ever seen it so blue in either city while i'd been before) and it's cold but it is almost december after all. Weekend will be somewhat low key while my feet recover. Dinner out with the Manchester area mob tomorrow night and dinner with G's dad on Sunday night. Then we're going to do a couple of day trips next week and i want to fit a shopping day in. We've got a nifty little hire car to zip around in and ooooh we bought each other new mobile phones for Christmas so we've got new toys to play with!
tvordlj: (Sheep UK)
ok, i'm on the ground and had a nap and a visit with Graham's dad. We're putting some food in the oven and relaxing for the rest of the evening. Flight was fine, had an empty seat beside me and all the travel gods were on my side. I was off the plane, changed terminals, through security and passport in a half hour! Worrying needlessly it seems. bags arrived with me, thank you luggage gods. Flight from london to manchester was brutal, though, i was wedged into a seat but luckily it only was a half hour flight or so. Graham's dad is cooking a meal for us tomorrow night and we're off to Paris Monday.
tvordlj: (Default)
Short article in today's paper about a steam pipe in NYC that exploded thought a street and "swallowed" a tow truck, killed one person and had dozens running from a geyser of scalding steam. Only the headline read "Steam-pie explosion" which made me chuckle.

Nelson Mandela is 89. I can hardly believe it was 19 years ago that i watched a concert held for his 70th! And Phyllis Diller is 90!

In other news, i expect to be booking things for my trip to Manchester (and Paris) this week!! OHBOYOHBOY! The travel agent called me yesterday and said Air Canada had a seat sale on and while it isn't as low as it can get in winter, do i take the chance and book it or do i wait? I hate decisions like that. I'm not by nature a gambler but i do hate paying over the odds for something. It won't go down huge amounts, but maybe enough to be annoying. The fuel surcharge seems to be higher this summer too. Can't get away from that unfortunately. Still, The ticket price she got for me is almost all refundable except for $200 which is good. It means it won't cost me as much for cancellation insurance. I'm traveling in November, weather is a factor. I'm also booking two one-way flights Manchester to Paris and two one-way Eurostar tickets Paris to London. I'll have to book the hotel myself because it wasn't in her system and we're pretty much settled on our choice and i am booking a night in London on aeroplan points. We'll also book transport back to Manchester later on too, probably Megabus or National Express. We'll run the gamut of planes, trains, busses and automobiles this time as we think we might rent a car in Salford for a week to do some day trips, weather dependent. (Thinking of Chester Zoo and one to the Lake District this time).
tvordlj: (Sheep UK)
Haven't caught up on everyone's news yet. we've been busy and putting more miles on the car.

Saturday: attended a wedding vow renewal ceremony for friends of Graham's late brother. Back to the house after and i swear to God anyone that says Coronation Street is unrealistic hasn't been to a kitchen party in Swinton! This one woman could have been the pattern for Cilla who's ... well how would i describe her to the uninitiated? she's loud, brash, brassy, common as muck and overdone. This woman was a picture from her head to her shoes. Especially the shoes. They were white, with a beaded pattern all over them, well, just have a look. Her dress was tight, with a pattern straight out of the 60's, cleavage spilling out all over, tacky loud jewellry. Sorry i couldn't discreetly take a photo! Her boyfriend was loud, drunk and wearing a funny military style jacket over jeans and a shirt. Just like the loud and obnoxious Les on the Street. Anyway, there were more than a few examples of Street characters lol Anyway, we didn't stay that late and came back to the flat and relaxed for the evening, watched Doctor who and some other stuff.

Sunday: Took Graham's sister in law to the Trafford Center and Graham and i bought new sneakers.

Attempted to drive the hire car. Problem was we couldn't find a parking lot large enough that was empty so i could actually get out of second gear. Was odd shifting with the left hand but i would have been ok with more practice. I never did get out on the road though. The parking lot was unsatisfactory and i sat there contemplating the road and looked at Graham, He had his head in his hand and said you *aren't* going to go out on the road yet are you? Um. Guess not lol Actually i didn't feel confident enough anyway and because there was no place good enough to practice, i gave it up. At least i did have a few minutes go with the left gear shift but never made it on to the road. We drove around Salford taking photos of places that Graham's dad would recognize. I want to make him up a calendar for Christmas. Out to Chorlton after that to meet up with friends for a nice meal. One lady was from Seattle and it was the first time i'd met her after having chatted with her on the net for a few years though not for awhile recently. She had a cold though so wasn't feeling up to making an evening out of it.

Monday: Drove out of rainy Manchester and into the Sun of York**. Found an all day car park and walked into the beautiful city centre. We browsed a market, checked out a few goth type stores. One had tv and movie memorabilia but most of it was things like Tim Burton movies, horror movies, etc. Another had metal music and tshirts. York has a lot of unusual shops and also has a few lovely chocolatiers! Meant to get back to one of them but by teh end of the day my feet were too sore to walk around more. The new shoes were bothering my left foot! argh! Anyway, we met up with [ profile] steer at the appointed time at the Last Drop Inn and then met up with [ profile] sarcaustick and Ed and Kitty for a lovely Italian lunch. Really nice to meet up with Sarah finally! Kitty was charming and Ed was lovely! [ profile] steer, Graham and i retired to the Three Legged Mare (refers to an old type of gallows) for another drink and then sadly parted ways. Graham and i walked to the railway museum but only because they have a big observation wheel there now that is staying there for 3 years. Norwich Union sponsors it. It's 6£ per adult and you go around 4 times plus another one as they load the car. Great views over York and the countryside around it.

We drove back to Mordor Manchester where there was a great dark cloud over it, as opposed to a blue sky on the other side of the M62 motorway. Apparently it rained most of the day in Manchester but we had a lovely sunny breezy day though it did rain a bit once when we were in the pub. We did however see a double rainbow as we came into the city but the photos didn't really come out too well.

One last photo from last week. I'll have my other photos uploaded when i go home but Here's us behind the bar at the Rovers!

**punny Shakespeare reference
tvordlj: (Corrie)
We met up with my friend C. and also M. who is one of the editors of On the Air Magazine for a drink. C. was the one that arranged for the visit to Granada TV and we brought M. with us as he knows the producer and had the time to spare. We were treated to lots of inside info from M as well as some from the producer, D. who showed us around lots of the inside sets in two sound studios. as expected the sets were very small and cramped but it's amazing to actually see them and compare with how large they look onscreen. and yes we all had our photos taken behind the bar at the Rovers!!! Wooo! It's hard to believe that 2 and sometimes 3 people fit behind that bar, all moving around and not bumping into each other or knocking stuff over. It must take a lot of coordination and choreography. Lots of the sets were either not put together or were ready for filming so we couldn't poke our noses in but we still got to have a shufty around quite a bit including a newly rebuilt factory set and a new police station set. There is a lot of attention to detail right down to books on shelves, ornaments, photos on tables and kids' toys and a rack of cassette tapes, dish towels in sinks and other props. Between Gramie and me, we took about 80 digital photos and almost 3 rolls of film and C. took over 100 digital photos. we're going to share all our photos with each other and i'll eventually post the best of them all. How to choose!!! None but the hardcore fans will be that interested but i will put a couple key photos somewhere else so the rest of the crowd doesn't have to drag through all of them. Or any of them if you don't want to lol! Anyway, I'm still on a high. We didn't meet any actors but we did spot a few at a distance. No photos allowed unless the actor gives permission and we respected that. We also got to walk around the outside set but not for too long, as the inside stuff took more time. Didn't matter though, i have lots from last time 6 years ago and i did get a fair few this time as well, especially bits that were different from 6 years ago or bits i didn't get before.

Really was a dream come true!

Yesterday was lovely as well. We drove around in the west Pennine hills and had a lovely late lunch in a beautiful country inn. Tried to get hold of [ profile] trixidelarue but couldn't connect. Lots of green rolling hills, sheep, hilltop towers, stone cottage-lined villages and yes, motorway traffic and busy city streets too. Tomorrow, we are heading to the zoo in Chester and probably out to the north Wales coast.

Off to dinner with all our local mates tonight. Chinese buffet! mmmMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmm
tvordlj: (Sheep UK)
Well hello again. Jolly good to see you all.
I arrived in Manchester 30 hours after i woke up Monday morning and finally went to bed by hour 34 on Tuesday night. That's ok, i'm here now but i'll be a bit more prudent booking my tickets next time even if i have to pay some travel agent a fee to get what i want. Or better yet, i may just have to fly backwards and go through Montreal or Toronto where i might be able to fly straight into Manchester airport. We'll see.

Got a good night's rest and a slow morning yesterday, after which we took the bus to the shopping precinct which is a mall but not the big multi story type. All the shops are on one floor and there are a few market stalls. we picked up a new keyboard for gramie at one of them, for 5 pounds. Works great! Thinking we're going to get a reconditioned monitor too as this one is on it's last circuits. We picked up some groceries, including supplies to make cajun chicken which i'm making tonight, and maple curry pasta which i'm making tomorrow night for Graham's friend Malc. Have to make it vegetarian so am adding mushrooms and a tin of chick peas to the mix instead of the usual chicken.

Today we walked. Miles. Around Salford and into Manchester, over to the Ox pub by the Museum of Industry. I remembered it from a few years ago but it's gone all gastro and the menu was not only expensive but incomprehensibile as well. We had a drink and went to a Weatherspoon's gigantic Moon Under Water on Deansgate where the food is filling and cheap. That was a bit of a walk and then we walked back across the River Irwell and all the way back to his flat, stopping at the shops on the way to pick up a few forgotten items and some stuff for sandwiches for the bus on Saturday. Weather was spotty, there were a few little sun showers but the sun was out mostly and there was a brisk breeze. Still, i was pretty warm when we got home and my feet hurt. We're going to the Museum tomorrow to go inside and explore around it. The reason we did so much walking today was because i wanted to take some pictures around Salford in particular with the view to making a calendar of some of the older buildings for his dad for next Christmas. Locations he would know from where he grew up, worked or lived where possible, and familiar views.

London on the weekend where i shall hope to meet up with some of you Londoners at either the Hyde Park picnic or the Marborough Head if inclement weather. Thanks to [ profile] zoo_music_girl for the invite and backup plan :) Other meets and greets arranged. what we do will depend on the weather but are hoping to fit in a walking tour on Monday morning. Mind you they usually go rain or shine.

Ok, [ profile] gramie_dee has finished watching his tape of Lost so i guess it's his turn on the puter!
tvordlj: (Suitcase Union Jack)
Last chance at a computer before i get home on Saturday so.. quick update.

Where was i?
Did i tell you about cooking a veggie lasagna for Graham and his good mate Malc on Saturday?

How about meeting up with a couple of my friends for Sunday lunch and going to the museum called Urbis...

yes ok, i did tell you all that... sorry...

Well Sunday night we had dinner next door with his Dad who put on a lovely spread, big plate of dinner at 7:30 and then brought out a bite to eat about 11.

Monday we took the bus to Newton Heath where his good mate Dale and his family including their German Shepphard Saxon. Quite the hugest GS i've ever seen and he's like a big puppy! We had a lovely visit and a meal and we lucked out and got the bus back that takes us right here instead of having to take one into the city center and back over to Salford. Good timing there.

I've developed a cold but it doesn't seem to be getting any worse than a bunged up head at the moment. I imagine i will run it's course. It's definitely *not* like what i had the last time so though i may be a bit 'poorly', i'm not going to be seriously ill.

Today we went back into the city center (they don't call it 'downtown' like we do). I wanted to go on the observation wheel and the weather, though it rained this morning, cleared up so there were good views. We had lunch and then did some shopping. I got some digital prints done and a roll of film developed though i wanted the digital files onto a cd, they got it mixed up and put the roll of film on the cd instead. I'll just wait until i get home now and put it all on cd for graham. I brought the memory card reader but his computer doesn't recognize all the 'drives' or memory slots and the one mine is in, isn't the one it does 'know'.

I got some more Lush stuff.. face cream...and i got new dress boots (not winter type boots really ). We sat in a very noisy Starbucks for an hour killing time and then took the bus out to Chorlton for a pub quiz, meeting my friends John, Nikki and Annie. But the quiz wasn't on because there was a football game on (soccer that is). We had a good visit anyway though and are just back here, having a late snack. I am pretty much all packed up again and we're off to London tomorrow morning. I'll see some of you tomorrow night and the rest of you Saturday when i get home :)))
tvordlj: (Suitcase Union Jack)
A lovely Sunday afternoon was had by [ profile] gramie_dee and me, prowling about Manchester city center with a friend or two. We took the bus in on our way to meet up with our mates Alan and Annie, i was lured into Lush and hey, they had a special offer on, if you spent over £15 and i forget the other criteria, but in the end i got to pick out two more things for free! Bought extra Karma body cream and a bubble bath bar. I also spotted a pair of boots in Ecco that i really liked and i want to go back and try them on to see if they fit. They're half price and are now only £65 i think and my old ecco boots are ready for the garbage (or should i be saying 'bin' or 'tip' ;) and went to the Wetherspoons at Piccadilly Gardens for a bite to eat. Lovely cottage pie! Alan had to take off then for the Gilbert and Sullivan revue but Annie stayed on and we walked over to the Shambles Square behind Selfridges and the Triangle where the observation wheel is. It's quite a bit smaller than the London Eye with it's 'cabs' only holding 4 i think. We were of two minds whether to go for it as the weather was iffy, and windy. Annie was definitely not going above ground level lol but in the end we thought we'd wait and hope for better weather when we come into the center on Tuesday. It looked like the heavens were about to start throwing it down.

Passed there and went to Urbis, the modern glass museum about City life. There was an exhibit on where a couple dozen people were given a camera to shoot pics from their daily life for a day. That was interesting to see what different people shot. Annie said it evoked a lot of emotions in her... sometimes looking at the pretentious, trendy shots and thinking "Wanker!" and other times laughing out loud. I thought some of the shots were quite good. There was one of the runway that a pilot took as the plane was just coming in for a landing just before twilight. Most of the pics were not taken with a flash so there were a lot of blurry ones and ones that had a lot of 'motion' in them.

The museum itself was good too. It is all glass and a triangle shape (see the website) and the elevator that takes you to the fourth floor where the exhibits start is along one of the glass walls and it runs up a diagonal track like a funicular! Very neat! Lots of multi media. You start on the fourth floor with a short film of images from cities around the world, on various screens all around you and on the ceiling. Very fast, quick editiing, you're looking all around you all the time to see all this whipping past your line of vision. Very Wow we thought. There was a section on the changing face of Manchester, and another booth where you sat in it and saw moving images of 7 different cities around the world and your face was projected on the screen in front of the images :) We did that :) Graham looks like he's not enjoying being there but really he was just watching the images lol I was sat there with either a silly grin on my face or a bemused expression. I did get a photo but Graham's computer doesn't seem to recognize my card reader. I'm going to get the images taken off onto a cd at a photo shop this week then i can just get printed later what i want.

What else... we stopped into Printworks to reccy out a restaurant that has excellent burgers, Graham's favourite :) This is an complex of shops, arcades, restaurants and a movie complex "Filmworks" in an old building or series of buildings that used to be a printers i think. There's a Hard Rock Cafe in there as well if that's of any interest. The restaurant we're going to is Henry J. Beans, which is i think Mexican but have good burgers.

Off to his Dad's in an hour or so for Sunday dinner and tomorrow visiting his mate Dale and wife Barbara. ##
tvordlj: (Lady)
Last i left off on my travels, i told you about missing the train to Manchester.
So in brief, the last week.... )

So there you have it in a nutshell. It was a busy holiday, i walked miles with the blisters to prove it. Met up with lots of LJ and coro friends, wonderful to meet some of you for the first time and equally great to touch base with others again. Special thanks to [ profile] naturalbornkaos for lending me the sofa and organizing the LJ pub GTG and to John who sorted out the Chinese meal in Manchester. Thanks also to [ profile] sushidog for inviting me to the Vicarage Tea where i met more lovely people including a couple that had met on the internet and have now been married 8 years. Success stories like that are encouraging. Thanks to everyone that took the time to meet, drink, lunch and chat! I shall be back sooner or later!

Highlight of course was my week with [ profile] gramie_dee, i could go on and on but i will spare you and save that for his ears only ;) I shall have photos soon and will work on the full written travelogue and post the links as and when.

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