Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Manchester - You'll never leave

My HDD won't arrive till at least Wednesday so we headed out of town again, with the intention of visiting Hadfield, Derbyshire (just east of Manchester) and then south to Buxton, back to Macclesfield and possibly Jodrell Bank.

Made good time into Manchester, hoping to skirt the inner city via A57 but fell into black hole on the Mancunian Way and then flung into orbit around the city for another hour through the bizarre labelling of highway routes. Incredibly frustrating. Even the folks at Manchester's Visitor Centre bemoaned the diabolical road system when I had visited them days earlier. Finally found where the A57 diverged and re-emerged and got out of town and into Hadfield, way later than planned.

Hadfield is now on my list of visited small towns that have hosted bizarre TV programs. While living in Seattle, I had the chance to visit Snoqualmie (Twin Peaks) and Roslyn (aka "Cicely" in Northern Exposure).

Hadfield doesn't have any of the awful gift-shops that Roslyn had, but there are certainly a number of acknowledgments that The League of Gentlemen was shot there. The "Local (PC) Shop" and "Cafe Royston" being the most obvious. A couple of stores, including the notoriously rebadged butcher simply had LoG movie posters in their windows. 45 minutes was enough to satisfy my curiosity, apart from picking up some meat for Bondi and a lacklustre hot chocolate from Cafe Royston.

The short drive south to Buxton was glorious. Rolling hills in every direction - even without Tubbs and Edward chasing backpackers with crossbows - were quite distracting. We had entered the Peak District National Park. It was the first National Park set up in Britain (as late as 1951!) and despite my assumptions is not heavily wooded. Buxton itself, billed as the highest town in Britain (1000 feet above sea level) is an old spa town, although settlements of the area go back to Stone Age times. Buxton and Bath were the principal spa waters for the Romans.

After walking around the town, and browsing in an old bookshop/bindery, I grabbed some coffee and sandwiches, and sprawled out in the central park with Bondi. A gentleman passing by introduced himself as a longtime dog-show judge and was very taken by Bondi, and talked about his long experience with the breed, particularly with those of them that had spent time in Antarctica.

We left around 5pm and drove through more interesting hills of the Park, climbing further to the Cat and Fiddle Inn (apparently a popular stopping point for motorcyclists) and then descending to the former silk mill town of Macclesfield, Cheshire. Most of the place was closed at that time (pretty characteristic of UK towns) but I had a great rabbit pie outside of Leather's Smith Inn in nearby Langley.

Left there around 10pm - still not dark - and drove through Knutsford back to the M6 and was back in Shevington just after 11pm.

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