Monday, 11 May 2015

Matchstick Men and help! where are we going to leave the boat?

Thursday 30th April

After heavy overnight rain, and with the morning showery and cold, I got on with some cleaning and a bit of shopping while Dave continued the search for a berth and working out how to get back to Aston to collect the car.  Portland Basin were waiting for a call from a boat that’s out at the moment, while Stretford marina has no spaces for the length of time we need.  The persistent cold weather seems to be delaying the summer cruising plans of marina residents!  We like this mooring though.  Amazing bridges all around – the footbridge bounces if enough people are on it!

36 amazing bridges

And we must have the best views of all the berths; bridges to the stern, boats to the front, the Merchants Warehouse on one side and on the other a broad area of paving with grass beyond, from where I took this photo.  And apart from the trains and trams it’s quiet!

1 merchants warehouse with chuffed

I took Meg out for a blast along the towpath, snapping the derelict Hulme Lock which I unaccountably failed to notice yesterday, distracted as I was by the graffiti.

2 derelict hulme lock from towpath bridge

We had an early lunch then went under the railway arches to climb the tower to the Metrolink line. (I took the snap on our way out to eat in the evening, hence the lights and the moon!)

9 tower steps to metro

The Metro is not especially cheap (no discounts for crumblies) but is fast, frequent and clean, and gave us good views of the Bridgewater and Ship canals into the bargain.  In the photo below, the cut to Pomona Lock from the Ship Canal is just visible to the left of the tower block.

8 ship canal with cut to pomona lock right distance

We alighted at Salford Quays, not the closest to our destination as it turned out, but we were able to see some of the redeveloped quays on our way to the Lowry gallery.  I came here in the early 90s for my leaving do when I was made redundant from ICL.  We went to the first big pub/eatery of the redevelopment, which had just opened, and all I remember of the Quays was grey wind-tossed water and utter desolation – not desolated by losing my job though, as I was quite relieved not to have to travel up from Devon any more.

We walked along Ontario Basin, which is huge, and saw the bollards, chains and hooks used by sea-going ships.  The bollard below is as big as a stool, and my foot in the other pic gives the scale of the hooks.  In the background of the first photo you can see ramps for water-skiing – there is a water sports centre here too.

3 bollard at salford quays   4 rings at salford quays with foot for scale

There is some stunning architecture here, but it was freezing cold in the wind so we didn’t take many snaps.  This is the Millennium Bridge (also known as the Lowry Bridge), which you cross to reach the Imperial War Museum.  It’s actually a lift bridge because ships which still use the basin. has better pictures and some technical details.

6 bridge at lowry

Our destination was the Lowry gallery, where there is a permanent display of a lot of L S Lowry’s best work which includes ‘traditional’ portraits and drawings, not just the matchstick men pictures!  It was fascinating but unfortunately no photography is allowed inside.  The building, which also houses a theatre, is not as stunning as some of the others in the area – we’ll have to wait till next time to investigate those as we needed to get back to Meg.

7 lowry

Meg was pleased to see us of course, but even better was when Dave called Sharon at Portland Basin and she said just ‘turn up at Droylsden (where they put temporary moorers) and we’ll fit you in’.  Hurray!  I walked Meg later on and called on Fred and Lisa on Chyandour, who waved as they passed earlier on their way to the end of the basin. They had spent a few days at Droylsden and assured me that we would be absolutely fine with the lovely people there. Nice to meet you!

We went out for a curry later.  Plenty of choice, but we wanted somewhere close that had some customers in it so didn’t choose the one by the basin, which was empty.  On our way we passed the little shop under the railway arches which has a brilliant sculpture outside by the bike racks.

 10 bike sculpture at castlefield arches

We went to the third restaurant we saw, Akbar’s, which was huge and heaving buzzin’ (as I believe the young people say).  We had a pager to tell us when our table was ready.  We only bothered to wait because we’d seen it recommended in a booklet we picked up at Knott’s last night.  Well worth it – it’s as noisy and crowded as your old school dinner hall, but we had an excellent meal, and the waiter was great.  Clearly they want you to vacate your table when you have finished but we didn’t feel particularly hassled to leave, although the bill did arrive just a minute after we said we didn’t want any dessert ….  The nans are huge – about 20” long – and are served hanging on a vertical support.  Meg enjoyed her share which she had for breakfast on Saturday!

A non-cruising day.

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