On Thursday 9 May we set off from West Didsbury to explore Manchester proper.

We caught the train in, a frequent, fast, cheap, no-graffiti, light-rail, with free wifi, which took us into the very centre of the city. This was public transport far superior to ours in Ballarat, Melbourne, and the rest of Australia. It was easy for a visitor to buy a ticket.

The gritty north of England of our long-held prejudices was nowhere to be seen. To a casual visitor, the North seems prosperous, clean, and orderly or, in more fashionable language, young, vibrant, and inclusive.

We visited Manchester Art Gallery and Manchester Cathedral, both magnificent.


“Balaclava” 1876 by Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler

Who doesn’t enjoy whimsical misericord carvings? One seat in Manchester Cathedral has a gang of bunny-rabbits roasting a hunter over a spit.

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