Sunday, 3 September 2006

Thursday, 31st August.
A nice quiet morning in, a chat with my support worker in the early afternoon, a nice trip up the M5 and M6 with Mark and Monica, then we try to get into Manchester. Attempted to follow the directions given to us, but somehow ended up going the wrong way repeatedly, I blame the signposting. Thanks to some great navigation from Mark we ended up on the right road in the end. Arrived a little before midnight, unloaded car and fell asleep.

Friday, 1st September.
Headed out to Sheffield, made a slight mistake and ended up entering Sheffield through Grenoside rather than Hillsborough, but since I intended to go there first anyway, no problem, and the route was almost as scenic, Monica's squeak of delight when she first saw the purple heather was well worth the detour. I parked in the Genoside (sorry Grenoside) community centre car park and walked around past St Mark's, which was locked, the little shop near it has been rebuilt as a new house. Grenoside Junior School appears to have been completely rebuilt since either Mark or me last saw it, the infants school appear much the same. Walked through the playing field, talked about the nighttime view of the streetlights, the fun with snow in winter, including sledging. Looped past out old house, Monica was a little shocked to hear about us hitting each other with the beanbags in the cellar playroom. Weren't allowed to use the community centre toilets, so drove down to where the bowling alley used to be, and then to Hillsborough leisure centre to use their toilets. Pointed out the Sheffield Wednesday Stadium to Monica in passing.

Drove through Hillsborough, and uphill past where Adrian used to live and up through Walkley to Crookes, past our old dentist, along Mulehouse Road on the way to Forres Road, and then went past Lygate First School and Lygate Middle School (both renamed to Infant and Junior), mentioned Mrs Reeny's Magic Show. Continued through Crosspool, past Mushroom Lane and Weston Park Museum and Hospital, past the University and then found a multi-story car park near The Moor.
Got out walked to the Peace Gardens (yes, I know they're called the "Millennium Gardens" now). The fountain had small children running through it in swimming outfits, went into the Winter Gardens and past them to look in one of my favourite childhood places, the Children's Library, the mural on the stairs hasn't changed a bit. Tried to find somewhere for lunch, ended up eating in a restaurant \ bar near the former "hole in the road" roundabout, took Monica and Mark to see the "Steelworker" brick art, and then escorted them to the Anglican Cathedral, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral.

Decided to go back via St Thomas's Church in Crookes and Rivelin Valley, the weather turned sunny again and we really enjoyed the combination of nostalgia and nature walk, Mark was the only one not to slip, but no one got wet, headed back to Manchester over the Snake Pass, Monica loved the scenery, can't blame her myself, felt a little peeved that I couldn't really take a good look while driving.

I was tired at the end of the day, but happy with it, there's always something special about your first hometown, especially when it's as great as Sheffield!

Saturday, 2nd September.
I felt too tired to drive for another trip to Sheffield, especially as we'd covered just about everything of interest to us; but Mark and Monica were more than happy enough to look around Manchester. I decided to stay at Adrian's house and watched "March of the Penguins", went out for lunch and enjoyed a quiet day in. Mark and Monica went to Mass in the evening, I learned that in the Roman Catholic church the Sabbath Day starts at sunset on the preceding day. Must say I was relieved, I thought we wouldn't be able to set off until after the morning service.

Sunday, 3rd September.
Long drive, more traffic than expected, good speed, rather warm and muggy. Ran out of eloquence about now.

My plans for next week include a possible trip to Paighton Zoo, and the Clarks Shoe Village in Street, Exeter doesn't appear to cater for shoes in extra, extra wide. Thinking of advertising for free travel to Paighton Zoo within Mortimer House, they can pay the admission charge though.