09:00.I’m about to head back into Manchester to meet up with Neil Dinnen’s stag party, who’ve enjoyed their first night in Manchester. So much so that I’m told they didn’t get back to the hotel until 03:40! Here they were last night, before they set off.Today the group’s splitting up for different cultural activities. Some are off on a busman’s holiday and visiting the East Lancashire Railway. I’m taking the second group back to my birthplace – Liverpool – for a tour of the city. No doubt we’ll be taking in a few of some of the architectural gems that make up the port’s pubs. Expect a few memories and pictures later…09:35.For once, I’m glad a train was late! I’m currently sat on the 09:22 from Sowerby Bridge to Manchester, which I was due to miss by about 5 mins but as it was running 6 mins late I breezed straight onto it as it was already sat at the platform.11.05.Whilst waiting for the sore heads to arrive I’ve been taking pictures at Manchester Victoria station. Having known this place since the early 1970s it’s fantastic to see its resurgence after years of decades of decline and neglect. Nowadays the main concourse is buzzing with people, some of whom now linger at the bars and cafes like these.Whilst waiting I’ve also been observing. As a photojournalist I’m always observing and looking for shots that tell stories. One thing I noticed today was the number of otherwise healthy young men missing legs. My suspicion is that they’re ex-servicemen. Unlike an earlier generation, they don’t hide their injuries by wearing long trousers. Their prosthetics are on display.12:15.Our stag group are now on the way to Liverpool aboard a packed and late running TPE service where the numbers aboard have been bolstered by dozens of Liverpool football supporters.17:16.We’re heading back to Manchester after a wonderful afternoon in Liverpool. I take back what I said about football supporters as the city centre was lacked with them, yet the atmosphere was excellent.18:03.
We’ve left the fantastic atmosphere of Liverpool behind to return to an almost equally buzzing Manchester which is still full of ‘Spice Girls’ fans and folk looking forward to a night out in this vibrant city. I’ve broken off from the others for a quiet pint (well, as quiet as it gets on a Saturday night) in the Castle Hotel in the Northern Quarter before meeting up with everyone for a meal.
It’s time to go home! I’m on the 22:58 from Manchester back to Sowerby Bridge after leaving the rest of the merry band enjoying beers in the Northern Quarter.
To say the train is raucous would be an understatement, but if you ignore all the expletives it’s actually very good humoured.