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Monday, November 05, 2012

A Few Days Away- Part 1

Carol has been on Half Term for the past week. We haven't had a full week's holiday away, but  instead we went away on Wednesday and came back on Friday. We stayed in a hotel in Salford, near Manchester. We had a really good drive up on Wednesday morning, and visited  Rufford Old Hall, a National Trust property a good deal further north near Ormskirk. There is a link with William Shakespeare, which interested me as I have an interest in both his plays and his life. He was alleged to have performed in the Great Hall there. It was fairly bright and sunny when we arrived, but when we were inside it had begun to rain and the weather generally deteriated into low mist, rain and gloom. As it was Half Term they were doing Hallow'een things for children, which rather spoilt things for us. We had gone for the historic connections, not some over-blown superstitious nonsense which seems to have taken over in this country at this time of year, unfortunately. It's mainly, if not entirely, to do with shops making money out of the rubbish they sell connected with this so-called festival. When I was a child, November 5th was the thing, or Guy Fawkes Night, but it seems to have been overtaken by the other event, unfortunately.
Rufford Old Hall, National Trust property near Ormskirk, Lancs

Carol wanted to see the Anthony Gormley statues at Crosby Beach. It's something we've both seen photographs of, those mysterious statues staring out to sea, some partially submerged in the sand and others in the sea. As the weather was so awful, we decided to leave it for another day, although it wasn't too far from Rufford Old Hall. Another reason for  not going there immediatley was that the light was going. So we drove back to Sallford to find the hotel.

After driving down the MK motorway and leaving at the exit for Salford, we discovered that the place has a really nightmarish road system. It's one mass of duel carriageways, and the hotel itself is in the centre of a sort of knot of roundabouts. This is within walking distance of Manchester United Football Club's stadium. Sorry, I'm not that interested, but we did go and have a look. Having found the hotel and parked the car, making sure we had a parking permit on display inside the windscreen when we left it (otherwise we we likely to get clamped and would have to pay to have the car released.) we unloaded our luggage and then decided to go out and find something to eat, as there was no food available at the hotel.

We wanted a restaurant, not too expensive. Coming out at the roundabout we saw a  branch of Harry Ramsden's  (one of the famous fish restaurants.) the opposite side, but it then took us around 15 minutes to actually get to it as the traffic was so heavy. We decided that this was where we wanted to eat and so went in and found the place virtually empty except for an older man and a little boy. We had our meal and left and went back to the hotel for the night.

We were up early and out around 8.30, as we wouldn't get breakfast and decided that we could get something to eat as we drove up the M6 away from Salford and Mancester on the way towards Crosby where the Anthony Gormley statues were installed (for want of a better term.) We had found them on Google Maps, so had a vague idea what to expect. We were guided by the Crosby Leisure Centre, which we could see on Google Maps as a quite striking building which looked for all the world like something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a sort of U.F.O. crash-landed on the beach. We found a car park, as we had followed the signs from the main road, but it would mean a long walk along the beach towards the statues. It was by now beginning to look as if there was a rain storm brewing, with very dark clouds drifting in from the land. Also, there was a bitter wind blowing making it very cold, and we hadn't brought coats with us, unfortunately. We drove a little bit further, as we could see the leisure centre in the distance. We got a lot closer and eventually managed to park outside and saw bus-loads of schoolchildren arriving as there is a swimming pool within the leisure centre.
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