Sunday, 13 July 2008

International Jet-Setters Oop North

Hubby and I have been spending some time with the in-laws (mine, not his) oop north. From our base in Wigan we have sallied forth on a few day trips and outings.

Day Trip/Outing Number One: Southport
Well, it wasn't a day trip in the strict sense of the words since we only spent an hour there, the majority of which was spent in Waterstones and Starbucks (nice to be back in the UK enjoying these twin comforts.) Hubby had fond memories of Southport from when he used to go there in the last century with his gran "on't'buzz" (Wiganese for "on the bus".) Unfortunately, Southport didn't live up to those fond memories; Lord Street was very pleasant, with some grand buildings and a lot of shops but the seafront was somewhat let down by the recent appearance of a large retail complex featuring such delights as Matalan and McDonalds. Tell me, who goes to the seaside to shop at Matalan? Hubby was also a bit upset that the old wooden rollercoaster, the bingo halls and the train that ran the length of the pier were no more. He doesn't like change.

Day Trip/Outing Number Two: Mediaeval Fair at St Thomas the Martyr Church

This was a tip-top outing since it combined a love of food and old buildings in one fell swoop. Hubby enjoyed a glass of Mediaeval Ale and we both enjoyed a Mediaeval Hot Dog with Onions. After filling our boots we decided to go on the Church Tour, which turned out to both informative and entertaining. Who knew that we were standing in a Grade I listed former Benedictine Priory built in 1307. Yes, 1307 - that's old! Apparently it survived Henry VIII and his Reforming ways due to the fact that the monks had pawned all the silver and several of the nuns who lived there had managed to fall pregnant (and not due to the immaculate conception.) The graveyard there is also home to the last highwayman to be executed in England.

Day Trip/Outing Number Three: Grange-over-Sands & Cartmel

This was my first ever visit to the Lake District, and what a very pretty place it is, especially Cartmel (Grange-over-Sands was a little too hilly for my liking.) Cartmel had another thing in its favour, being the home of the world-famous Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, as sold in Waitrose no less. There was also a very pretty priory (which had also survived the Reformation, although we don't know why - perhaps the Reformers were too full of pudding to do anything else.) And on the way home, we made a slight detour along a country lane where, two days earlier, we had lost the hub cap from my parents' car after hubby drove somewhat speedily through a pothole disguised as a puddle (it was a bit like the famous puddle from The Vicar of Dibley.) And, lo and behold! There was the hub cap, sitting in a water-filled ditch. It is now firmly re-attached to the parents' car; shhh, don't tell them.

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