Having dropped Matt and Emma back in Piccadilly (I actually got lost driving round it at midnight) I stayed over for 3 days of ticking while Mrs RM settled down for 3 days of talking to the French IT people about poetry, a rejected titled for a Billy Bragg concept album.
My £25 Travelodge is called “Central Arena” but is actually the overflow for HMP Strangeways, one of the few places I’ve never ticked in Manchester.
In the morning I walked into The City,
and had one of those smashed avocado on sourdough things in Home Sweet Home that Pub Men eat to start the ticking week off properly.
Then to Warrington, the St Helens of the South, to see if rumours of its revitalisation were true, or just a joke against Woollybacks.
It’s true, the new market is stunning, the food court packed with vegan kebab fans.
And the Hope Empo(rium) bounds into the GBG like a cousin of Manchester’s Micro Bar, if not quite Mackie Mayor.
Really cheery, a big smile and “Thanks lovely !”, and some proper interesting beers (i.e. not just the ones they can flog for £3, you know the ones). Blackpool Jane will have the Gingerbread Stout when Blackpool play Warrington FC in the Champions League.
It’s an odd feeling, seated at the shared dining tables with the vegan kebab eaters singing “Here Comes Santa Claus” (them, not me), but the house brew is cool and crisp (NBSS 3+).
Remember, if you come to Warrington you legally MUST visit the Lower Angel, even if I didn’t.
Of course, traces of the Old Warrington remain intact…