Last Friday I started writing some notes for this blog on my way back to Manchester but I didn't get very far as I ended up chatting most of the way with three Americans from Washington (state) who are over here travelling around England. I warned them against telling people they are travelling around 'England' when they got up as far as Edinburgh and then on to Aberdeen, before making their way back down to York. I was a little perplexed that they had chosen Manchester as a suitable tourist destination but they explained that they were taking the opportunity to see a soccer game and apparently, to people from across the pond, these usually take place at Old Trafford. (Just for the record, I love Manchester and think there are plenty of interesting things to see, but I just wouldn't place it in my top ten holiday destinations in the UK, especially not alongside London, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and York)
My travelling companions, as I found out, should actually have been on the next train and would probably have been asked to pay a hefty surcharge had a ticket inspector come round. Fortunately, the inspector was nowhere to be seen, as I have found to be the case whenever (a) the train is late, (b) the train is crowded and (c) all the passengers had been told, after boarding at Euston and wondering what the hold-up was, to get off platform 5 and traipse over to platform 3 instead. I think the guard was watching me to make sure I had just finished settling myself down before making that announcement. As it happens, the train departed at about the time the three Americans' train should have left anyway, so I think they would have had a fairly strong case in their favour (or favor?). Not only this, but they had just raced across London, after some helpful soul had instructed that they needed to get to London Victoria.
I was travelling back to Manchester on the Friday morning so that I could get to the Maundy Thursday Mass in Winchester on the previous evening. This weekend is the most important time in the Christian calendar and the tradition in the Catholic church is to celebrate what is called the Easter Triduum comprising three services on the Thursday evening, Friday afternoon and Saturday evening. These three services form a unity, and so it felt a little odd to travel a couple of hundred miles from the first part to the second. I wonder if this is some sort of record. Probably not; for that I would probably need to get up to somewhere like Inverness for the Easter vigil on Saturday night. (Is this the correct use of a semi-colon? I have never really been clear on this punctuation, but what I have been told is that it is for a break that is more than a comma but less than a full-stop, and that seems appropriate here)
I took a few photographs last week but didn't get round to uploading them. My (rather lame) excuse is that I had been put in a room in the hotel that was too far away from the wireless access point, and so was practically unusable. Here, then, are some of those pictures.
In case you were wondering, this is not actually my own research but taken from Winchester and Late Medieval Urban Development: From Palace to Pentice by Tom Beaumont James and Edward Roberts - worth a read if you are interested.
I hope this wasn't too incoherent and disjointed. Once again, this was written while travelling down to sunny Hampshire and posted with minimal editing before heading off to bed.