Friday, 11 May 2012

Not that Right – The Other Right

Tuesday 1st May to Thursday 10th May 2012

Leaving work aside – as one should always do – we have had a very busy time of late. The main attention, from which a few other things developed was yet another trip to Old Trafford; the last home game of the season and one we had been anticipating that the title would have been decided in our favour – very sadly that was not to be the case – but there is still one more game remaining and winning it at Sunderland this weekend will still be a great achievement.

Anyway, one thing led to another and the long weekend started on Friday and ended at the close of Monday night.

We had a getaway night from our bank for opening accounts with them some time ago and decided that we would use this as the start.

Car hire made on Thursday; dog of to the kennels on Friday we headed northwards – up the M6 and the turnoff onto the M55 – yes heading for Blackpool but certainly not staying there.

We had not been there in 12 years – last time was with the kids and the town certainly has changed dramatically – very much for the better.

There has been a lot of money invested in modernising the frontage to the sea as well as new trams and a feeling of the recreation of a wonderful place to visit – the businesses have invested in renovating tired and rundown building facades and made them into almost something you would expect to see in a theme park.
There is still the overhead wiring to contend with -
for anyone driving a mobile crane.

We would definitely visit there again and not wait another 12 years to do so.
The iconic view from the central pier -
tower and sand in the background

Our intended destination for the night was in the town a little south of Blackpool – Lytham St Anne’s – we had a one night booking at a B&B there.
Driving into the town was eye-opening – the buildings and atmosphere was one of a very affluent seaside town and the shopping precinct was of the same manner – more that just the usual coffee shops/cafes, banks, charity shops etc – there was a vibrancy to the area which has been sadly lacking in our other travels.
Here is a place that knows what it wants and knows how to do it – creating an environment within which you would feel at home and be able to leave the home and go out and certainly enjoy yourself.

The accommodation was up to the standard that we had expected and we had a very enjoyable stay the The Lindum. I do have to stay that we did bring down the average age of the guests on this particular night but it was a very nice place to stay.

The following morning (Saturday) we spent a bit of time shopping in the centre of town and then we were away.
We decided that we would make our way down to Manchester without utilising the motorways at all.
It led us through Preston where we visited the marina to gather directions to the sea lock for the Ribble Link – sadly we were not in the presence of anyone knowledgeable in that particular waterway – “I just work here” was the common reply. Not to be deterred we purchased knowledge in the form of a map of the area and headed off in search of the lock.
We found the canal and walked the path alongside a few of the locks but regrettably we ran out of path before we ran out of locks – but it did give us a good look at the lower parts of the canal. Here’s hoping that we can finally get the notification of the right of passage to here – it’s a bit like “the cheques in the mail” waiting for the BW confirmation.
Alas, we needed to leave and it was onwards via another A road and several more B roads in search of something as elusive as the northwest passage – a motorwayless route into Manchester.
With trusty navigator by my side (she has been telling where to go for years now) we headed south by south-east – past the canal at Burscough Bridge and then over a toll bridge – yes correct spelling – there was no ugly troll under the bridge – there was however a toll booth on the other side where the princely sum of 12p was the charge for our trip over the top – we were lucky – if you were going the other way it was 25p – so without waiting for the change of the 20p coin we proceeded further.
True to form we found the correct roads and made our way to the Mercure Inn at Altrincham. Our rooms was quite resplendent – the only problem being it was on the lower level – read as almost basement-like – and the free wifi was non-existent as well as any phone signal – that aside we settled in and it was a spacious room.
Another good nights sleep was greeted with a very hearty breakfast.

We had a latish checkout and decided that we would park the car close to the light-rail line at Old Trafford and use the time allowed by the late kick-off to see a bit more of Manchester city.

We have an area where we always park – safe and within a short walk of the ground as well as the light-rail stop, but we were approaching from a different direction to usual – the very clear instruction from the left hand front seat was “turn right at the next intersection” – indicator turned on – car directed to the right-hand turn lane – the next words were – “where are you going?”; answer “right hand turn as you said”; “not that right, the other right”; no other right hand turn in sight – “do you mean left?”; “yes turn left – the other right”

Directions and dimensions – “your honour, I rest my case”.

We made it for the left hand turn and found the location for the car to be left; short walk to the tram stop and into Manchester.
Prince albert in the background - my princess in the foreground

We managed to find some lanes, roads and alleyways that we hadn’t visited before – a brief stop at Albert Square and a visit to the Manchester Art Gallery before a very nice lunch at The Bank.
Back on the tram and off to the match – another win to Man United, 2-0 over Swansea, but the earlier match was a 2-0 win to Citeh over Newcastle – no change in overall standings.
The holy Trinity looking out over the masses

A final home farewell after a 2-0 win over Swansea

Headed back to the boat for the night, before we were off again to Long Itchington  for the last day of the Beer Festival – 6 pubs all serving a huge variety of real ales – we were to catch up with Mike and Stella (nb Isobel) – Mike had headed south with his brother-in-law to do some work down there and pick up tools he needed for the boat – missed him by 10 minutes; but we had an enjoyable day with Stella – visiting 5 of the pubs – the visit to the Buck and Bell included a group of Morris men doing their jingling and jangling and altogether having a good and entertaining time – the scene has been set for return visit for the festival next year, but get there sooner.

We were told of a little Indian Restaurant in Marton – The Essence of India – if you book 24 hours in advance they will come and pick you up and return you after your meal – we decided to give them a try on the way home – we were not disappointed and will be back here again (next year).

Picked up a rather dirty dog on Tuesday; returned the car; normal services had been restored, except for the fact that we were due to leave the marina this week for the summer cruising – we are off to Liverpool docks, then to Leeds and down through Standedge Tunnel to Marple Junction, Macclesfield Canal and back to the marina in October.
mmm- maybe our next project !!!

So it was on Thursday morning we finished water tank filling; diesel tank filling,  grey tank emptying and we are now off for the cruising to begin – not a very long first day – barely over a mile and just the one lock to complete – but we are off – no right turns to negotiate or worry if it is the right or should it have been the other right – just straight ahead.

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