I know very little about my maternal grandmother. I was still young when Nan Redfern died and I'm not sure where her family was from apart from some sketchy memories from my Mum. Apparently one of her sisters went to America ( I still have the doll that Nan told me had been sent from New York) and another lived outside Manchester.
My Mum had memories of travelling from Bootle in the 1930s 'all the way' to Trafford with her sister Lilly, to stay with their Aunt for a holiday. How times have changed - Trafford is no longer a small village in the countryside, it has been swallowed up by Greater Manchester and is now most famous for the vast Trafford Centre shopping mall.
Manchester itself has changed too and I'm sure that my parents wouldn't recognise the city from the one that they used to visit in the 1970s. The Metrolink trams are a cheap and easy way to move around the city and with more shops and bars than you can shake a stick at it's an ideal place for the thousands of students who live there.
There is one thing that Manchester is famous for around the country and that's it's weather. It's known as the one of the wettest places in the country. This however is a myth! in fact the it has on average 140 days of a rain a year compared to the average in rest of the country of 154. So we really shouldn't have been surprised when we visited Lesley to find the sun shining and the temperature in the high 2os, but we were!!
A small oasis of green in the city centre is Piccadily Gardens, well not so green at the moment but definitely an oasis.
Lesley and I quite fancied a paddle ourselves but we were far too sensible so it was an afternoon of a long lunch in a little cafe in the Northern Quarter followed by a mooch around the shops before collapsing in the shade beside the Cathedral for a cooling drink alfresco before dinner.