We have had a few travel planning constraints and had not booked our anniversary alphabet trip. We still haven’t but the anniversary arrives anyway so we have some places in our back pocket that we may fit in when there is time, but made a last minute decision to have one non boating day away and Shane calculated it was possible to take a day out of cruising. The train, theatre and overnight accommodation were all booked but we still needed to get the boat near to a railway station in time. 

The rain stopped in time to allow us to set off in sunshine and Shane delighted in another kingfisher which I missed since I was hanging up washing. He called me to see the goats again as we headed back towards Hatton. Their coats looked a bit damp, they must have been out early.

I ducked inside when I saw serious dripping from the roof of the Shrewly tunnel. Heavy overnight rain seeps through and the roof does not keep it out! Still it makes for some interesting mineral deposits inside, with a pearly sheen when wet. Amazingly I managed to get through the inside in the dark without falling over the washing rack, heading for a photo at the front.


Inside the Shrewly Tunnel

The morning train was surprisingly busy. We had to change at Birmingham, also changing stations, from Moor Street to New Street. We picked up lunch en route and at New Street, Shane was searching for facilities and I p-p-p-picked up a penguin. 

. P-p-p-part of Birmingham’s Christmas

The trains all ran smoothly and on time. Once in Manchester Piccadilly, it was a short walk along canal Street and the canal, to our accommodation. Canal Street is rainbow central.

Planter in Canal Street

This is Manchester though so rain was inevitable. We hoped for a reprieve, when we saw the suggestion of sun outside and got ready to head out to explore and eat when a ray of hope appeared at our window.

Disused Air and Space Hall and a Rainbow overhead.

The rain kept coming but the Manchester mood was not dampened. People were out in throngs enjoying the christmas market stalls and other animated diversions including a living, moving Snowglobe – no real snow thankfully, but some shiny whiteness around.

We didn’t fancy eating out in the rain, so we left the markets and returned to somewhere we had eaten last year. The damp wintry weather was replaced by warmth and colourful adornment.

Our evening entertainment was thoroughly enjoyable. I had thought it was to be recorded but it was a special extra tour of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue to celebrate the upcoming fifty years of the programme: an upcoming Anniversary celebration for an upcoming Anniversary celebration- one golden, one pearl.

We have come back with the gift of matching blue kazoos. Buzzing in Manchester is particularly apt as their city symbol is the bee and it has unseasonably got in on the act….or perhaps not as, back on the boat, we have been surprised by a wasp in the cabin, seeking refuge from the watery weather outside. We decided not to house it and let it find more natural winter quarters.


The untraditional winter bee
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