Traveling north gave us the perfect excuse (not that we needed one) to visit friends Andy and Dave in New Mills and enjoy the Peak District scenery en route. The plan had been to arrive in time for a walk before dinner. However, we were distracted by our first meeting with grandson Louie, followed by a wonderful meal on the terrace then a taster of the photos Andy and Dave had taken on a recent trip to the far east....and - you guessed it - we didn't get further than the sofa in the sitting room, where we enjoyed catching up with each others' news from the last 11 months. A good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast set us up for the short drive on to Manchester the next day. Thanks so much Andy and Dave!
After checking into the hotel at Salford Quays, I phoned Katie to talk about meeting up, only to hear the rather alarming news that she had tripped up at home and was in hospital waiting to have her broken hand put in a temporary plaster, pending an operation to wire the bones back together together. However, she was confident that she would be OK later, so we arranged meet up that evening at the flat, before going out for a meal.
Trying hard not to worry, we set out to explore Salford Quays - starting with lunch at the Lowry arts venue, a strange but exciting building where the steel clad exterior conceals vibrant colours inside.
In the afternoon, we crossed the bridge to the Imperial War Museum North - another eye catching building with fascinating displays about how war shapes lives. We left it too late to take the lift to the top of the "air shard" to look over the quays, so that went on the to do list for later!
As we pressed our noses up against the window to see what was going on inside, a chap came out and invited us in - it was an open day. So that's how Steve got to hang around the CBBC set
and I had a close encounter with a dalek who had last acted with David Tennant's incarnation of Dr Who!
Back into the city centre in the afternoon, and a trip on the big wheel with Katie and George, followed by drinks in the Manchester International Festival pavilion and a walk round the Spinningfields area, where the crowds were out watching the mens' singles final at Wimbledon on the big screen on the green.