My sister Kathleen surprised us by meeting us at Liverpool airport, driving from South Wales day before. Kathleen is exploring our family history at Liverpool library so she wanted to combine research with our visit, who knows we might one day add a family history page to our site. We travel a great deal when home between Liverpool, Leeds, also two of our children live in Manchester which is the middle of these two cities, we spend a lot of our time on M62 motorway.
We enjoyed time with sister Jean and her grandchild at mum's, before a pub lunch out with Mum my sister's Kathleen, Marie, brother Frank and his son Francis and my nephew Theo.
Our get together was unplanned and just happened, we have often turned up at mum's house without a word to each other, or mum phones around and says Kathleen's coming or Irene then they all turn up and it's a family gathering or invites out.
Kathleen and I took mum for a planned heart scan after our lunch, we where soon back home "within one hour", of visiting the Royal Liverpool hospital, just in time for my brother Stephen's arrival.
Mum awaits her results - at least two month's wait to see the consultant for results that's the NHS for you, unlike my visit to GP in France last month.
My nephew Theo, drove us to Manchester where he lives, we all enjoyed a drink with son Michael and his partner John, then Theo drove us all on to our next stop, daughter Teresa and her partner Jo "a new home for them both", we enjoyed hugs all around to celebrate the move.
We very much enjoyed a meal out - everyone's favourite "Indian Curry", what a magic day that was...John & I fell into bed in the early hours we had almost been up 24 hours. We had another early morning airport run the following morning daughter Louise was flying in.
John & I met Louise in Manchester her flight from Canada was a little late, just enough time for hugs before we all speedily went from one terminal to another for John to meet up with his friends for his onward flight to Knock, golfing/drinking in West Port, Ireland. John has enjoyed this trip to West Port for the past 18 years. Louise and I took a taxi to our hotel in Manchester to enjoy some special time catching up. Louise had lots of good news to share with me. Louise & I met John 4 days later back in Manchester airport, he had a wonderful time with his friends, he came back with a good tan.
Much time was spent for the family in the air & traveling this week... i.e. Canada, Carcassonne, Liverpool, Manchester, Ireland, Croatia, well worth all the traveling, we all must have a little gypsy blood in us. We all crammed in as much time together as we could this week, thankfully only one hour delay in all our flights together. We enjoyed such good weather for most of our time in England.
Mike started our weekend off with a bottle of Moet Chandon Champagne delivered to our room with some special cheese, before dinner.
Louise & I planned our weekend in Manchester, (she had traveled enough miles) we took in some fine dinning, a special theatre visit to see "The Tempest", staring Pete Postlewaite, it was an outstanding performance. We took in some of the arts & displays, nice walks along the canal so I did not get too home sick, (for the boat). We visited many places of interest, we even had time for our passion " Spa treatments", while staying in our suite in the Midland Hotel, we felt so lucky indeed to enjoy the grandeur of this magnificent building which has recently been restored.
Our transfer to Mikes apartment a few days later was only a short walk away, the rest of my family arrived and carried our bags, after we all enjoyed an award winning late Sunday lunch. then drinks at this lock house on the canal, we baked in the late sunshine.
We enjoyed our time with eldest daughter Teresa (camera shy) and partner Jo in their new home. On a quick visit to Leeds we collected our washing/dryer (from our lock up). John plumbed the machine into their new apartment, just in time for them to do their washing before flying off for a well earned holiday in Croatia, the timing of this week's family holiday together well planned, Nice to see all our children happy and settled in their new homes all three children have moved this year.
Louise wanted to visit the seaside for some British sea air and rock (edible kind) to take back to Canada, since the weather had changed we choose to visit the North West Coast (nearest to us at time).
We visited the work of Anthony Gormley - "Angel of the North" this artist's work, Ebb & flow of tide to explore mans relationship with nature, consisted of 100 life size figures that were spread out along three kilometres of Crosby beach, it stretched for one kilometre out to sea (tide was out). The sculptures are made of solid cast iron, made from moulds of the artists own body, we dressed him up for this photo shoot. We then visited Southport for fish & chips, a shame the fish had been frozen it was not so nice... we enjoyed our day out together, in spite of typical English wet weather. I spent a good deal of my teens on this coast line, magic going back.
The brush on top of this narrow boat fascinated me, I had to ask the owner what it represented, we enjoyed a chat - the owners had built this boat themselves, they have a dream of taking a wide beam boat to France. Building & selling boats hopefully will enable the dream of cruising in France soon they said.
The brush is made of hair from a horse, horses once were used to pull canal boats, (they still do for tourists in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire). The bell is for bringing good chi to the people aboard and also keep evil spirits away.
I took this photo of the brush & Hilton Hotel (great building with wonderful cocktail bar in middle on the 23rd floor). The canal boat was at such an angle as though the brush was cleaning the Hilton hotel - as the boat passed by, some very fascinating buildings to photograph in Manchester, I hope you enjoy this photo with perhaps my arty imagination.
For more information on this canal in Manchester which we cruised three years ago take a look at this interesting web site, great photographs too. http://www.penninewaterways.co.uk/
Michael has taken many wonderful photographs in the centre of Manchester he has framed many and is selling them. My dream as you know is to win a photography competition - if I ever enter one, if you know of any in the pipe line please let me know, (see contact page).
"Fathers day", special meal at the end of a another day spent together meal was a great end to our holiday, even though the weather had changed, so cold and rainy on our last day, we left England with awful floods especially in Yorkshire see photographs below.
We all headed off to say farewell to Louise at airport in Manchester then Mike drove us onto my mum's in Liverpool. We had a wonderful night in Liverpool with family, sister Marie cooked us all a fab meal. We left mum's at 4.30am the following morning fly to France. Sadly leaving England as it was gripped by some of the worse rainfall since records began, our apartment below thankfully is on 9th floor but river is still rising. 10 more days of rain forecast oh dear it's never stopped all month.