I’m en-route to Manchester Airport as I’ll be spending the next couple of days around Dusseldorf in Germany. All that will be a separate blog, this one’s about today in the UK.

Thanks to my in-laws (who were visiting as Dawn had sorted out her mum with a new phone) I got a lift to Sowerby Bridge station. I wouldn’t have minded walking but the weather has been particularly wet today. I half expected to look down on the residents of Sowerby Bridge from our eeryie atop the valley side to see them building an Ark.

Now I’m heading for Manchester, and for once I’m early – but only because the preceding service was running late, so arrived first! That said, it’s a comfortable refurbished Class 156 and there’s plenty of seats as it’s a quiet train.

When I get to Manchester I have the delights of ‘bustitution’ to look forward to as it would seem the line to the Airports closed due to engineering work. I wonder if I can get a tram…

23:57.

I eschewed the idea of a tram to explore the reality for RAIL passengers – which is what I do. Right now I’m at Piccadilly, waiting for a rail replacement bus to the airport. It’s obviously been a wet day in Manchester, just as it has been at home, the pavements are sparkling due to the lights reflected in the rain, but it’s been a hard day for the homeless. The rise of homelessness is a national disgrace, before Brexit we were the 5th richest nation on earth, but a decade of politically imposed austerity has wreaked havoc. A problem that was on the wane under the last Labour Government has mushroomed under the new ideology. Here at Piccadilly most of the lasttrains have gone and the stations slowly shutting down. The biggest queues are for fast food, not trains – as you can see in this picture.

Here’s the last departure for Chester.

The concourse still holds a lot of people. Like me, many of them are waiting for the rail-replacement buses to the airport, or the last train train back to York, which seems to be very popular with young students – I can’t think why!

Whilst I’ve been sat here I’ve been fascinated to watch a retired, long-bearded Muslim man collecting discarded food bags and crisp packets. After a while I realised what he was doing. He was collecting the food to feed to the birds. I caught his eye as he crumbled some crisps he’d collected to feed to pigeons who obviously knew he’d be there!

23:57.

Airport bound…

It’s now 01:36 and I’m at Manchester airport. So, in the best Private Eye tradition, tho wiĺl be (cont page 94)…

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