John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Monday 9 September 2013

[Sunday 8 September 2013]

Home from North Wales

Day 252  Monday 9 September Ezekiel 40-41

We got up ca.6.30am. I didn’t shower this morning, not wanting to go from lukewarm to scalding; I washed at the sink. We went down for breakfast at 7.30am. Back in the room, Janet did the packing. We decided not to try to use the lift in competition with a coach-load of other people, and lugged our bags down the stairs. In fact, earlier, Janet had gone out and helped one of our party, an elderly woman who looked like the late Marje Proops, carry her luggage downstairs. So I don’t think the lift was working. The abominable dragon was in the room behind the reception counter, so I was able to slip the room key onto the counter without eye-contact or having to talk to her. We sat in the lounge briefly, to await boarding the coach. Some of the Newmarket party had even praised the meals at this hotel, and Janet and I were appalled at their lack of taste (in both senses: the perceptive faculty and the discriminative faculty); so it was agreeable, when I quipped to Janet but not sotto voce that our “release from HMP Westminster” was imminent, that one of the people next to us — he’d got on the “dolmuş” in either Cleethorpes or Grimsby — gave a “knowing” half-smile. We went out with our luggage; Paul stowed it; we boarded.
 Just before we set out, Pam suggested writing good reviews on Trip Advisor, to counter some negative ones that had been posted. I hadn’t thought of Trip Advisor till then, and said to Janet, again not sotto voce, something to the effect of “I’ll write a review all right, a damning one!” The elderly man opposite exclaimed indignantly, “What was wrong with it?” We couldn’t believe it. “Everything!” we retorted; but he wouldn’t have it, and implied that we were at fault.…
 We set off ca.9.15am. I gave the Westminster Hotel a last “finger” gesture through the window as we pulled away. I sincerely hope the offensive witch goes bust or that place burns down. We got onto the “A55 Chester”. From our elevated position on the road, when the obscuring tree-lining cleared somewhat, a view across the muddy expanse of the Dee estuary and the estuary of the Mersey came into sight (09:35), and dotted around there were power stations adding their white streams of vapour to the overcast greyness of the sky. Couldn’t make out Liverpool Cathedral, though. Not sure when we passed the border, but the bilingual signs continued till not long before I noticed a monolingual one: “Chester Zoo ¼ mile”. We continued along when the A55 became the M53 (09:52). We turned onto the northbound M6 (10:12) — I missed noting our turning from the M53 onto the M56 before this, then — and from the M6 onto the eastbound M62 (10:18), from that onto the initially northbound M60 ring road (10:28), and continued along at the junction where straight ahead it becomes the M62 (10:35). When we passed under the tall, vast, single slender concrete arch of the bridge spanning the deep and wide cutting that the motorway gouges through the hilltop, I scribbled the note, “iconic bridge (10:52)”.
[i] Just past the cutting we passed a reservoir, on our right, as to the left there came into view a pleasant valley of walled fields, and here and there little woods. We stopped, as on the outward journey, at Hartshead Moor Services (11:02–11:50), almost a mirror image of the previously visited establishment. This time, having eaten breakfast, which I don’t do at home, I didn’t want anything to eat; I had a Crabbie’s ginger beer and Janet a Diet Coke (11:16).
[i] Iconic bridge: It carries Saddleworth Road, the B6114.

 We set out again (11:50). We left the motorway, taking the “A653 Dewsbury”. We entered Batley (12:05) and continued on to Dewsbury, where not far from the bus station the four people on the seats in front of us got out (12:16). We resumed the journey (12:17), turning into the “A638 Wakefield” (12:19). We were caught up in slow-moving traffic on the approach to Wakefield town centre. We arrived more or less under the bridge (12:34), where Janet and I, and others, including the man who’d been indignant, got off the coach. Paul rooted about in the bowels of the coach, brought out our bags, and deposited them on the pavement. Despite Paul’s preoccupation with getting the luggage off, one guy stopped him and gave him, I think, a £5 note. We took our luggage, handed it over to the “dolmuş” driver before boarding, and set off (12:42).…
 I didn’t record our route to the M62, which we joined at a time also unrecorded. We passed the closer power station (13:05),
[ii] and the farther one, which had eight towers (13:11);[iii] and not far along from there, in the even farther distance, there came into view a third one, with ten towers,[iv] which I’d failed to spot on the outward journey. We hadn’t got completely past it when we turned away from it onto the M18 (13:14). We left the M18 and turned onto the M180 (13:25), which continued (13:50) as the A180. We turned off that into Pyewipe Road (14:05), Corporation Road, Alexandra Road. The traffic going leftwards in Frederick Ward way was crawling nose to tail, but we got through, and turned right. Thence into Church Lane, Wellowgate, and Brighowgate, where we turned and stopped in the former bus station (14:12), and the couple in front of us… and Pam got off. Her departure at this point spared us any potential embarrassment of further face to face contact.…

[ii] The closer power station: Ferrybridge
[iii] The farther one: Eggborough Power Station
[iv] A third one: Drax. I miscounted; on the Ordnance Survey map I counted twelve.

We went back into Wellowgate, turned right into Bethlehem Street, and proceeded along Osborne Street and Town Hall Street. Were there obstructing road works on Victoria Street West and/or Pasture Street? For we unexpectedly turned left, and went along New Street, crossing over Osborne Street into Doughty Road, then along Ainslie Street, Welholme Road, unexpectedly left into Peaks Parkway (I expected a right turn), right into Ellis Way, over into Eleanor Street, left into Victor Street, right into Cleethorpe Road, on along Grimsby Road, up Isaac’s Hill, right into St. Peter’s Avenue, left into Short Street, finally stopping in Market Street (14:33), where Janet and I, and [two couples] got off. “Indignant man”… remained silent and didn’t reply to my goodbye as we got off. It was spitting with rain. We called in the nearby taxi office and ordered a taxi. So did the older of the other couples who got off at the same time as we. So we got home.… Posted a glowing commendation of Pete’s Eats on Facebook:

Excellent double burgers with all the trimmings — served on real plates, not on trendy unhygienic wooden planks, which are the fad nowadays — and pint mugs of real coffee! And tasteful decor!

…I also posted a damning account of the Westminster Hotel:

Shabby lounge. Cold bedroom, and the proprietress refused us a heater (we went down later and got one from someone else); dingy, ripped and holey net curtain; filthy carpets on stairs and corridors; almost all tinned, frozen, and pre-processed food — especially avoid the ?battered fish, and the watery custard! The breakfast wasn't bad: that's the only good thing I can say. Thankfully, we served our sentence and were discharged this morning.

…As I mentioned above, I also posted a similar review on Trip Advisor

[2013]



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