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The Northern (High)Lights

Last week, whilst driving back through Blackburn with contributor Paul, he starts to sing the Beatles classic “A day in the life”. I didn’t get the relevance, until I’d dug out my iPod and found the bit that of course goes:

“I read the news today oh boy, Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire. And though the holes were rather small, They had to count them all – now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert hall”

It’s a nice song, and the next day in a spooky coincidence, I heard that it had topped a Q magazine poll of the best British song of all time. Which is nice, because it’s usually Robbie’s “Angels” that wins that sort of thing.

Paul is driving me back then – in his car – which I feared was about to fall apart on us completely at any second. This is because first of all the battery had died on his car when he went to start it one morning, and two days later .. the exhaust fell off! Bad things always happen in threes, so I’m now taking bets on what’s going to go wrong with it yet. This does mean though that my most endearing memory of my time away though will be the light blue Nissan Micra which was driving behind us as the driver had to swerve to avoid the exhaust part that tumbled down the outside line of the A61 …

I also spent a day in Manchester indulging in some retail therapy, but found it impossible not to do a few touristy things whilst I was there. I therefore found myself on a tram down to Old Trafford to look at the cricket AND football grounds, as they’re quite close to each other, and with my new found love of crickey with this Ashes series I wanted to go and see the ground where England recently played.

Old TraffordWhilst their of course, i went and checked out Man yooo’s home ground – as a spurs supporter i have been to a few away grounds (Chelsea, Charlton, Toonside), but never the alledged Theatre of Dreams. It’s okay. It’s a bit, umm.. commercialed. Too polished, y’know? Could do with a bit more character I felt, but I had a nose around and then jumped back onto the tram back into town.

Coronation StreetPaul’s museum (MSIM), also rather interestingly overlooks the Granada studios, and as they don’t do studio tours anymore (since it increased its number of episodes per week to 23, including a 12 hour ominbus catch-up edition shown continually at weekends) this is the closest you can get to looking down on ‘the street‘ – and for free as well! Paul tells me that sometimes the museum has to cover up it’s windows to stop gawkers looking down upon top-secret storylines when they’re filming something juicy – e.g. someones death.

Map BookPaul drives me home again. He gets lost. Ok, he makes the wrong turning and has to double back on one of the motorways – I chastise him a little in a friendly way. “Well come on!” he says. “Burnley, Bolton, Blackburn, Bury … it’s too confusing! All the towns are ‘B’ something and all the roads are ‘6’ something!”. And this is from a northern man, so he’s allowed to subscribe to all the old stereotypes.

We go down the pub that night. Bank Top’s ‘Flat Cap’ ale is most definetely on the menu, but the next morning I have a most yukky taste in my mouth that doesn’t go away – not even after two cups of tea. “Ah, you got a visit from the magic monkey!” says Paul. “Magic monkey?”. “Yeah .. you know – the mysterious magic monkey … the one that sneaks into your room in the middle of the night after an evening down the pub, steals all the tenners from your wallet and replaces them with 2p coins, throws the clothes around your bedroom on the floor and makes a complete mess, and then shits in your mouth to give you a disgustingly sore throat when you wake up!”. Oh. That one.

After Manchester, Blackburn and Clitheroe I headed over towards Derby and Matlock … but not until I’d tried to find where Fox’s biscuits were …

4 responses to “The Northern (High)Lights”

  1. Moley says:

    I’m just thankful that it’t not that Chesham on the challenge!

  2. What a cool window – I would never do any work if I overlooked where Corrie was being filmed. 😉

  3. Ian says:

    Summerseat? Is that where the cider comes from?

  4. N.o.rthener says:

    Its not the Magic Monkey, its the Beer Badger, and he sends your ex loads of text messages/does something to hack off your current girlfriend but never explians quite what it is!

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