musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

UK Trip August 2008: Manchester

I was fortunate enough to be sent to the United Kingdom in 2008 for training, and not too many people are as fortunate to be sent for something like this, especially considering how much leeway we were given on our trip. The first week we would be staying in Oldham near Manchester, Then we had a weekend in London and from there would move across to High Wycombe for another course. This post (nearly 7 years later) is more of a way to preserve some of the memories of the trip. 
 
We flew from Johannesburg with Virgin Airlines, and I have never forgiven them that spinach for breakfast! From Heathrow we caught a BMI flight to Manchester.
 
On our final approach to Manchester one of our party spotted a Concorde and immediately we started to hatch plans to get to see her. The aircraft was G-BOAC, and I did a blogpost about her awhile ago.
 

In fact I saw another of my favourite aircraft there, the AVR O146 – AVRO RJX100. I had flown on one of these in 2000 and they are really comfortable (at least I thought they were).

From there it was off to Chadderton where we would be staying at the local Premier Inn. Naturally, my itchy feet were making me want to explore instead of having the obligatory post flight nap. So after a quick meeting we split up and I headed in a direction that seemed like it would take me into town. I had done some reading and knew there was a war memorial not too far away, although I still had no idea where it was in relation to where I was. But, I was hopeful and after quizzing the hotel staff headed towards where the memorial was supposed to be.

This was mill country and there were a few old mills dotted around. You could usually spot them by their chimneys. Unfortunately most were abandoned or in various states of decay.

I do not really remember much about how I got to the memorial, I do recall cutting through a residential area and arriving in town (Oldham)

 

It was dead! Nothing was happening. But, I did not give up hope and vaguely headed in what I hoped was the right direction until I spotted a church spire in the distance and I headed towards that.

 

This was the Oldham Parish of Saint Mary with Saint Peter and it was the first inkling I had of the churches that I see all around me so many years later. It is a Grade II listed building and was built in the reign of William IV, and consecrated in 1830.

 

Back then I was still using a reasonably small digital camera and never considered taking better images of the church, I was more interested in the War Memorial which was nearby.

Having photographed the memorial I decided it was time to head off home, assuming I could find home. Looking at the map today I realised how far I had walked, and how unlikely it was that I would get home if I headed in the direction I assumed home was. I turned back and found a taxi to take me home, although I could not remember which Premier Inn we were staying at. (It turns out that it was on the edge of Chadderton.

I was bushed. And after a quick drink or two I headed off to bed. But somehow the sun refused to go down, and as the hotel was on the edge of a playing field people insisted on playing soccer outside!

 

I seem to recall we had the following day to ourselves, but I decided to refrain from venturing too far as my feet were still sore from the previous days folly. Besides, the breakfast at the hotel was stunning even if they smothered everything with baked beans.

There was a small shopping centre not too far away so I suspect I headed over there and looked around, but rationally there was not too much to see in the area.

 


I also popped up the road to the local Tesco, and bought a pair of socks there that I till use today! 


The next week we were on course, and in the evening we were taken to supper by various staff members and I was even fortunate enough to have the ubiquitous “sausage butty”.

The company we were visiting had their plant in a former mill and I was amazed to see some of the brick and tile work that still existed in the building. The former engine house was fabulous, with its green tiled walls, although I was probably the only person who appreciated those.

We did stop by in Royton one evening and I got a glimpse of a small UK city with those buildings that can sometimes astound.

 

 


and one evening we went into Oldham, but I did not get back to the War Memorial this time around.

 

 

And one evening we headed out to have supper at the Rams Head Inn in Denshaw, this was an interesting expedition as it happened at night and I got to mess around with the camera.

It is very pretty country out here, wild and the sort of place you expect England to look like all over.

 


And, as much as I was enjoying myself it was heading for time to leave, and I had to start considering our next move to London. I had persuaded the company to move us to London by rail and they had agreed. And we left early on the Saturday morning for Manchester Picadilly Station to catch the Pendolino to London.

 

 

The station has a cathedral-like roof and I wish that I had had more time to look at it, but a train was waiting and we boarded it and settled down for a trip on a train that was seemingly light years away from what we had back in South Africa; remember, the Gautrain was not in operation in 2008!

 

Then we were off, passing through Stockport, Stoke-on-Trent, Lichfield Trent Valley, Tamworth, Rugby, Milton Keynes and finally to Euston Station in London. We had arrived and London is in the next part of this blogpost.

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