Weekend up North

The weekend started on Friday as I travelled to Leeds to see a very dear friend L who has now settled there. On Saturday I travelled across to Manchester to see Fi and Adrian, and then came back to London this afternoon. I managed to get first class singles for £62 in total which is about as much as it would cost to travel by car, but had the added advantage of allowing me lots of reading time (mostly Ryle and MCCC reading – to be blogged).
Edited highlights of the weekend below (together with a picture of the enormous cream scone and Fi’s garden).

Leeds Station has the most imposing ticket checking system I’ve seen in a British railway system: it’s akin to Immigration! Officers in booths check your tickets once you have queued up and passed between barriers. Most odd. Changed at Leeds for New Pudsey and then was picked up by L. Had a lovely afternoon and evening catching up with L and a very interesting afternoon visiting children with whom L works as part of Kidz Klub in Bradford. During the course of the afternoon I met Kamikaze the baby guinea pig and saw a bright yellow Lamborghini. We went for Thai in the evening and I accidentally ate the chilli seeds. Ouch. Then lots of girly chat over a tub of Phish food.

Leeds – Manchester
New Pudsey – Manchester Victoria on the slow train, passing many interestingly named stations – Hebden Bridge (was there a battle there once?), Mythmroyd (sp?) and various others. I passed through some beautiful countryside: Fi made the very good point that hills in the Cotswolds are very ‘feminine’ and those in Yorkshire are very ‘masculine’ but both are good. I’m inclined to agree.

Arrived in Manc-y Victoria at about 10am (not pleasant for Fi who had just come off a week of nights working 8pm to 8am and so was still getting her body clock back to a normal routine) and Fi picked me up. Had a pleasant Saturday mooching around. We went down to Bents which was a gorgeous garden centre. I have now acquired a mini gerbera, miniature rose, mini Japanese peace lily, flowering cactus and a mini other-plant-which-looks-lovely. Fi has stocked up on flowers and shared an enormous lunch including this cream scone.

Her garden looks lovely – lots of flowers planted and a ridiculous amount of fruit and veg (aubergines, rhubarb, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers etc.). Adrian used this opportunity to go and watch the FA Cup Final round at H’s house. Fi and I also speed-walked round the Trafford Centre to buy her a new pair of jeans. Then back to pork casserole and home-baked bread (conjured up by Adrian with the aid of the slow cooker and bread maker). So tired that I couldn’t even watch Monty Python and so went to bed at 9pm. This of course meant that I woke up at 3am, having had my requisite 6 hours sleep…..

Back to London
Four hours on the train passed relatively quickly thanks to a weighty tome by J.C.Ryle and the wonderful Church History lectures by Gerald Bray. I’m now up to Cranmer and it is still (in almost equal part) informative and very amusing. Back by 3.30pm, then brief refuel and off to church. Excellent sermon on Joseph, very amusing Q+A session, lovely to see friends. Then back to the flat.