Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Out and about and some more changes.

I never got to see the blood moon on Sunday night to Monday morning. A friend suggested I should set an alarm but in the end I chose not to do so. I did wake at some point in the small hours and looked out but I could see no moon at all then. My window must have been at the wrong angle. So that's something I have missed. 

I have seen a good deal of the large, bright silver moon since then. We seem to be having one of those clear Septembers when the days start bright and crisp and warm up nicely as the day goes on. This has been good as I have been out and about quite a lot. On Monday I admired the autumn colours in the way to visit my dentist for a check-up and to undergo the almost medieval torture of the "scrape and polish". If my dentist were to ask me to reveal secrets I would happily do so! 

 When I got home I persuaded Phil to get out if the house and go walkabout with me. We saw some splendid sunflowers on our travels. Down in Buckinghamshire, where our son lives, all the sunflowers are past their best and are now turning to seed. Here, in the slower, cooler North West, they are still blooming nicely. 

So, unfortunately, are the Himalayan balsam plants. We found further infestations of these and spent some time uprooting and trampling them along the bridle path. 

Yesterday I went into Manchester and caught up with old friends at my Italian conversation class. Curiously, this year our classes take place in the Institute for the Deaf. The organisation that arranges the classes must hunt around for the most economical venue and this year the Deaf Institute won! 

My return journey took me through the newly airy Victoria Station. They have been working on refurbishing this previously dark and gloomy station for a couple of years now. It was voted worst station in the UK back in 2009, so it really needed some work. I am not convinced that the modernistic roof is the most elegant but the place is certainly a lot brighter and feels a lot safer in the evening as it gets dark outside. 

Fortunately they have kept the facade of the old station as it was, with glass and wrought iron verandahs, advertising trains to Blackpool, Bournemouth and Belgium. Belgium!? Really? Well, they also advertise trains to Ireland! I am pretty sure trains run to none of these places from that station but the old facade is still very fine. 

They have also kept the old buffet bar with its lovely domed glass roof but they have given it a silly new name. And it seems to have incorporated a Starbucks, which is definitely not an improvement. It's good thing there is a Java cafe at the other end of the station. So far the has not become a shopping mall like Piccadilly station at the other end of the city centre. But there is not at the moment anywhere to buy a newspaper and it still costs 30 pence to go to the loo. 

However, they do seem to have recognised that there are lot of Spanish speakers in Manchester. Those cone that warn you about wet floors now give you the warning in Spanish as well as English. I suppose it makes a change from Welsh, which does appear on road works signs around here.

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