Today I went on a bit of an adventure. More of a reconnaissance really. My Italian class, due to start in a few weeks, has moved to a new venue. This happens every so often when the Italian organisation decides that the rent they are paying for premises has grown too much. I had located the new venue on the Manchester A to Z but I wanted to check that I knew exactly how to get there by public transport plus a bit of walking.
So I set off and caught a bus to Oldham and a tram into Manchester. On the tram a couple of young men were sharing their music with the whole carriage. I thought about leaning over and saying, "Hey, guys! Can you turn it down or use your headphones." In the end I chickened out and said nothing. Nobody else seemed bothered and the two young men seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Another factor was that I did not want to draw attention to the fact that I had noticed that one of the young men was spending the whole journey watching himself on the screen of his phone. He had the camera set to face towards him and seemed transfixed by the amazing sight of himself, and sometimes his mate, on the tram!
Is this selfie-dom taken to an extreme? You could spend all your life watching the movie of your life on the tiny screen.
Fortunately we parted company at Manchester Victoria. They wandered off and I changed onto a tram going to Manchester Piccadilly. From there I had a route planned. It was the long side of a triangle. Going along the two shorter sides would also have reached my destination but, on paper at least, this appeared shorter. And it probably would have been so had it not been for the fact that at one point it reached a dead end, not obvious on the map. However, I had already decided that while the route I was walking was fine at midday in September, it would be less friendly, and considerably darker, in the late afternoon / early evening of October, November and December.
Anyway I had to backtrack to Piccadilly station and try again.
This time I walked a short distance and caught a bus along the longer of the two short sides of the triangle. This worked fine. The park I had selected as a landmark was easily identified. Off the bus I jumped and walked the rest of the way, not too far along the shorter of the short sides of the triangle, to my destination.
Then I did the triangle stuff in reverse and caught a bus to Piccadilly Gardens, now much nicer than it has looked for a good while. Children were playing in the fountain in the middle (indicative of how much the day which began with rain had improved) and people sat around having lunch in the open air.
Getting back from Manchester is always more of a problem than getting there. You have to try to time your journey to coincide with the bus service to Delph, never an easy thing to do. I contemplated catching a train instead of the tram from Manchester. This would take me speedily to Greenfield, a reasonable walking distance from Delph if there was no bus available. But the train times have changed and I opted for the tram. Mistake!
I knew I would have time to kill waiting for the bus (one every half hour) and so I got off the tram in Oldham town centre and popped into a couple of shops. I still had five or ten minutes to wait but that was all. Except that the bus never turned up and I and a very old gentleman and a very young lady - going on 18, covered in Labour, Corbyn, Momentum, anti-Tory, "Make June the end of May" badges - set the world to rights, as it might be if a Labour government got in and did the job properly. A bus arrived eventually, we found out that the missing bus had broken down somewhere along the route, and we all went home.
And finally I checked the news. In the news today is the announcement that the Cambridges are expecting a third baby, announced earlier than planned because once again Kate is suffering from severe morning sickness and has had to give up her royal engagements. It's a good job she doesn't have an ordinary job. I suspect that having a live-in nanny makes things easier. However, you might think that as pregnancy hits her so hard she would have decided that she had enough with the two she has already produced. After all they have one of each kind.
The BBC commented: "An addition that will attract considerable global interest. The child's grandmother is the late Diana, Princess of Wales." Well, yes, that is true but the same applies to the other two children!