Manchester Piccadilly

Last Friday Mr C took the day off work and we headed off to Manchester so that he could go clothes shopping. We arrived at the station in plenty of time to catch the train to Wolverhampton. The connecting train from Wolverhampton to Manchester was slightly delayed. Whilst we were waiting the display boards and announcement system developed a fault and failed.  That meant that the staff had to resort to manual announcements some of which were quite amusing.

When we got on the train my reserved seat was next to a lady with a young daughter sitting on her knee. The young girl was such a sweetie and was well behaved even when she got bored towards the end of the journey. At one point she was eating sweets from a bag, one of which was a long jelly snake. When the snake was fully emerged from the bag she pointed its head at me and said, ‘hiss’. I said, ‘is it coming to get me?’, causing her to giggle and her eyes to light up. A bit later in the journey she put her finger to her lips and said, ‘Shhh’ on more than one occasion. Shortly after this Mr C snapped his glasses case shut with a loud bang. He then put his finger to his lips and said, ‘Shhh’ causing her to giggle again.

Manchester Hilton Hotel

Manchester Hilton Hotel

On our arrival in Manchester we hopped onto a free bus into town, where it dropped us near to the Italian Restaurant, Don Marco, where we had booked an early lunch. As we walked that last bit of the way towards the restaurant Mr C pointed out the hotel that he had stayed in a couple of weeks ago when he was in Manchester on business. The skyscraper hotel emerged from behind some classic architecture towering above its surroundings. Rather him than me! I would have felt really uncomfortable sleeping in a place like that.  The view from the higher rooms, however, is spectacular as can be seen in the photograph below that was taken by Mr C.

Manchester from on High

John Ryland Library

Lunch was wonderful. We sat next to the window with a glass of wine and the sun shining in, watching the world go by. The sun however was short lived; as we left the restaurant it started to rain. It always rains in Manchester! As we made our way to the shops Mr C showed me some of the sights that he had found when he briefly worked in Manchester a few years ago. This included The John Ryland Library, the building where he worked, and an ornate passageway which led to St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, the ‘Hidden Gem’.

The Hidden Gem

St Mary's Roman Catholic Church


We then made our way to Waterstones for a quick browse around, where I was tempted to buy a book by Antonia Frazer. When we left the shop we found that the heavens had opened and it was now pouring down with rain. I managed to take a few photographs but it was rather difficult juggling a camera in one hand and an umbrella in the other. We carried on to the other shops that Mr C had on his list and when he had successfully completed his shopping spree we returned to the station, becoming rather soggy along the way.

Cathedral Glimpse

The Manchester Bee

There were two trains showing on the board and that we could choose from. We elected for the slightly later one with a change at Shrewsbury. This allowed us time to enjoy a drink (of the non-alcoholic variety) before it was time to catch the train. Unfortunately our choice of route turned out to be a mistake. The journey was pleasant looking out at the sights as the train sped along but when we got to Shrewsbury the connection train was not waiting on the platform as it should have been. We were informed that it had been cancelled and that we would have to catch the next one! We decided to have a cup of tea rather than wait outside on the platform. As we were drinking our tea we learned that the next train had also been cancelled and that the problem was a train had broken down on the line just outside Shrewsbury. There was no information available on how long the delay would be. There was also a separate problem with trains heading for Aberystwyth where a fault had developed on the track.

The trains in and out of Shrewsbury had ground almost to a halt. A little while later we were informed that replacement buses for the inaccessible destinations had been booked. However there was no information on how long they would take to arrive. We were eventually informed that the first bus had arrived and that we should make our way to the front of the station. We knew by the size of the crowd that it was unlikely that we would be able to get on it. When it came down to it, the two people in front of us got the last two seats on the bus. The bus was expected to go Wellington station where people could catch connecting trains to their destination and then return to pick up more passengers. However the bus didn’t return! As we waited for what turned out to be over an hour, other coaches arrived for people going to other destinations and the track problem on the other line was fixed. Some people called for taxis and shared them with others to reduce the cost. Others called for friends to come and pick them up.

As we waited we were kept entertained by the antics on the carpark. There was some rather alarming driving in the car park as taxis and cars came and went. An accident was bound to happen sooner or later. It turned out the culprit would be a small red mini car which came in slowly and parked at a very jaunty angle whilst waiting for a passenger. When the mini reversed up to leave it reversed into a taxi! Luckily there was no damage. A food delivery lorry arrived and reversed close to another taxi before opening the rear door to offload the delivery. This didn’t look very safe and caused the taxi driver to move his car to a safe distance. After the alarming unloading proceeding, the two lorry drivers dragged wheeled crates through the middle of the waiting passengers causing them to scatter. When they went to collect the second part of the delivery they decided on a different route and nearly crashed the crates into a taxi that was parked up.

In contrast to the young girl we had encountered on the morning train there was a young boy behaving like a naughty little monkey. He was vigorously shaking one of the poles that held hanging baskets. I am not sure where his parents were whilst this was going on. Eventually a station employee walked over to him and wagged his finger in a no no motion. The boy soon disappeared.

Eventually a much smaller bus arrived and the last of the commuters (including us) going in our direction were able to get on it. The bus and driving were rather worrying and I wondered if it was going to break down. It made some alarming noises as it sped up on the motorway. As we neared our destination instead of going to the station car park (which caters for buses) the driver opted to drive to the other side of the station up narrow roads and into the town centre. At one stage he mounted the curb as he was trying to turn avoiding a taxi that had parked on a corner on double yellow lines. The bus tilted alarmingly and I had visions of it tipping over onto the taxi. The driver reversed up a bit and managed the turn on his second attempt. After he had dropped us off at the station I was wondering how he was going to get the bus out of the narrow location where he dropped us off. We eventually arrived home at 21.15, more than two hours later than expected!

I would have liked a long soak in the bath when I got home, but that was not to be. The water pump on our heating system had broken down the day before leaving us with no hot water. But that is a story for another day…

14 Comments CherryPie on Jul 31st 2017

14 Responses to “Day Trip to Manchester”

  1. Did you enjoy Manchester?
    I used to work there for a short period. :)
    Yes, Castlefield. You know that area?

  2. The Yum List says:

    Children delight in the smallest of things. It’s a great reminder to be thankful for all that we have. Sorry you didn’t get your hot bath at the end of the day – I imagine after that trip it would have been a perfect ending.

  3. Hels says:

    Decades ago when we were living in poverty in London, my husband had an aunt in Manchester who used to feed us up :) I loved visiting Manchester and was very impressed with Old Wellington Inn and The Mitre Hotel. I haven’t seen Shambles Square since it was sorted, but it would have been a delight on a warm, sunny day.

    • CherryPie says:

      They are know for their kind hospitality up North, they still feed people up these days.

      Yes that square would have been nice to sit it on another day.

  4. Mark in Mayenne says:

    It’s fun to do the tourist thing in a big town.

  5. It sounds as though your trip had a frustrating – and worrying – end. Breakdowns and incidents can’t be helped, but it’s irritating when the solution doesn’t work smoothly, and I wonder whether your driver should have been on the road at all. Still, aside from that, it seems you had fun. You’ve reminded me I need to revisit my old post about John Ryland’s Library. How could you resist a book by Antonia Fraser??!!

    • CherryPie says:

      I would like to go inside the library it looks fabulous from the outside even though it is slightly obscured by that modern building.

      The end to the day was a bit frustrating, mostly because nobody seemed to know what was going on. At least we get to claim the money for the journey back making it a cheap day out ;-)

  6. Amfortas says:

    A good time was had by all in the teeming metropolis, the sinful city. Lovely old buildings and not so lovely new ones. I am not too sure about the gushing praise of the view from the high glass tower though. ‘Spectacular’? Hmmmm. Your back garden is far better. If it is ’spectacular’ you want, the view from my back deck (tiny tho’ it is – the deck, not the view) IS spectacular. Literally a $Million one. :)

    • CherryPie says:

      There is some great old architecture in Manchester. Perhaps I could have used a better word than spectacular. I was meaning it was a good view of the city where you could see all the landmarks. Definitely not a beautiful view!

      I could very easily live with the view that you have from your back deck ;-)

      Unfortunately the weather over here hasn’t been very favourable this summer, so I have spent more time looking at my garden from the inside rather than being out in it.

  7. ....peter:) says:

    you have a bit of everything for your cityscape Cheryl… great presentation…..peter:)