Manchester – Day 1 of 2

6th August 2016

Magnificent weather today with a balmy 23c. Lots of sun with light cloud coverage – won’t last – now we are sounding like the true English about the weather. The “won’t last” sounds a lot like a Canadian also – eh!

Have just returned to the boat after four hours out and about investigating the highlights of Manchester which are surprisingly many. We had no great expectations about the city but have been rather delightfully surprised. A little bit of trivia for you all – a person from Manchester is called a Mancurian.

We headed out to take the girls for a walk to tire them out prior to our being a tourist. We are a little away from the heart of the city but very close to the old Granada studios where Coronation Street used to be shot. As many of you know, Di is a fan of the show and had followed it in New Zealand where she grew up; lost it for the time she lived in Oz as it wasn’t on there then and after moving to Canada was reacquainted with it. The 20 odd year gap whilst in Oz saw very little change in the recurring story lines but the humour has always been a fun part of the dialogue. Alas, the tours of the old studio are no longer occurring as the site has been sold and it set to be demolished. We did get a slight glimpse of some of the façade but this is the extinct of our Coronation Street experience – ho, hum.


Its neigh near impossible to make out that the little house in the distance is part of the street scene.

We wandered around the canal area we are currently moored in and took some further photos. It is quite a lively place and feels very safe. You do get the odd obnoxious characters but you get that anywhere.


We are in quite a transport hub area with roads, canals, train lines and roadways.


They have done a lot of refurbishment and especially for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. We imagine it use to probably be quite crimey.


This is the first lock of the Rochdale 9 that takes you through to Piccadilly Basin. There are lots of bars that hang over the locks and no doubt lots of advice provided by the bar patrons – a lot of it no doubt most unhelpful but entertaining.


There are so many eateries in Manchester that it is overwhelming.

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This is the old Corn Exchange where all the local produce was bought in for the daily markets. Like a lot of old buildings it is not currently used for what it was originally intended. We wandered inside and ALL the shops are eateries. Goodness knows how anyone’s business survives when there is so much competition.


Another shot of the Castlefield Basin where we are moored up.

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Quite the busy little hub. Please note the blue sky!!!!

After walking the pooches we dropped them back off at the boat for a kip and headed out again to find the center of town. We caught the free shuttle around the center of the city and made our way to the pedestrian mall which had all the brand shops you could imagine – Selfridges, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Marks and Sparks etc etc. Could have had a field day but alas, there is only so much room on the boat to store things.


Now we were looking for the Manchester Town Hall which we heard was a lovely ornate building which we found and to our delight they were offering High Teas. We have been trying to find a High Tea since we had arrived in England but haven’t quite managed to have one for whatever reason. The Town Hall was certainly impressive but we were unable to venture any further than the bottom floor as the most ornate area was in use for weddings….and there were many of them happening all around the city along with many Hen Parties.


This particular wedding party arrived at the Town Hall in a unique vehicle.

And then to our High Tea – the real excitement at the Town Hall.


At this point the pedometer read 14,542 steps which might negate the top row of sandwiches but that is about it. We were a little underdressed but what the hell – we look like tourists so get over it.


A close up of the full catastrophe!!!

OK, now to try to burn off the second plate level. We wandered through the gay area of Manchester which is quite substantial as we were looking for the statue of Alan Turing who was the guy who was responsible for pioneering the computer. Ooops, we know we are probably not meant to do this and we think it is called plagiarism but it is easier to copy and paste and to read than to try and understand our blurbs. Many of you may know about Alan Turing from the movie “The Imitation Game”.

Alan Mathison Turing was a pioneering English computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and theoretical biologist. He was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

During the Second World War, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking centre. For a time he led Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including improvements to the pre-war Polish bombe method and an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine. Turing played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic; it has been estimated that this work shortened the war in Europe by as many as four years.

After the war, he worked at the National Physical Laboratory, where he designed the ACE, among the first designs for a stored-program computer. In 1948 Turing joined Max Newman‘s Computing Machine Laboratory at the Victoria University of Manchester, where he helped develop the Manchester computers and became interested in mathematical biology. He wrote a paper on the chemical basis of morphogenesis, and predicted oscillating chemical reactions such as the Belousova–Zhabotinsky reaction, first observed in the 1960s.

Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts, when such behaviour was still a criminal act in the UK. He accepted treatment with DES (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined his death as suicide, but it has been noted that the known evidence is equally consistent with accidental poisoning. In 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for “the appalling way he was treated.” Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon in 2013.


What was sad about his statue was that the park it was in was filthy. It was right in the heart of the gay district yet no one cared for it. There was also a memorial to AIDS victims and yet again that was also trashed.


The very colourful gay district.

Once we left this area we then walked to the top of the Rochdale 9 to the Piccadilly Basin where we were originally going to moor whilst in Manchester. Certainly pleased we took the advice of other boaters to stay down where we are as it was a most unpleasant area and did not feel safe. You are going to get this, be you on a canal boat or a caravan – it is all part of the “richness” of travel.

Part of the Rochdale 9 becomes subterranean around the gay district and we were warned that there are unsightly activities that occur here. We still wanted to have a look as there was one of the locks underneath which we had not seen before.


Hmmm, not so appealing.

We spoke with a couple of boaters coming through and it had taken them three hours to do the 9 locks and they confirmed that they were not well maintained and were a lot of hard work. They also confirmed that they had been provided innumerable amounts of advice from gongoozlers along the way.


Made our way back to the Castlefield junction and the pooches and are rather chuffed at over 15,000 steps had been made. Sorry all, but you will probably be bombarded with the step counter going forward. Over the last month we have just become so stiff because we have been sedentary so need to pull up our socks and get the old bones moving again.

We have just returned to the boat to let the pooches out and start doing some of our daily tasks. Toque obviously needed some further sleep as she felt is necessary to nod off on the keypad whilst I was trying to do the blog.


How can you not love a cutie like that – Mapes, you are still our favourite.


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