[Wednesday 6 September 2017]
Granada–Málaga Airport–Manchester Airport
Corona De Granada Hotel, Granada
12:00 Málaga Airport
14:10 Manchester Airport
Janet had set the alarm clocks for 5am, so it was perhaps 5.15am when
she got up.… We’d only used one suitcase at this final stage of the tour, so
Janet packed that and I padlocked it and strapped it up. I packed all my own stuff — computer, camera, shaver,
etc. — in the rucksack. We went down ca.6.30am. Despite Manuel’s warning on the notice board about not leaving suitcases unattended, one of our group brought her suitcases down at this stage expecting to be able to leave them in the lobby. Breakfast was scheduled today for 6.45am, and the doors were opened about that time. I had corn flakes, bacon, a sausage and baked beans, and coffee;
Janet had her usual fruit. Ca.7am a party of Japanese tourists also entered. We went back up to the room
ca.7.15am, and had no problem calling a lift in order to take our luggage down. I handed over the door-card and safe-key at reception, and
ca.7.30am took the suitcases outside and handed them to Manuel the driver to put aboard.
Janet and I occupied the back row, and I sat in the centre seat with its limitless legroom.
It was overcast and coolish. As soon as we were off the aeroplane I turned on my phone. There was a message, sent 14:26: “Hi: Can you ring me when you have your suitcases? Thanks,
L.” I replied straight away (14:43): “Will do, thanks.” There was a long “snake” at passport control. The automatic passport-scanning booth, to which I was assigned, seemed to be taking a long time recognising passengers’ images.
Janet and I used the toilets in the baggage-reclaim hall. One case arrived on the carousel fairly quickly; the other took some time. I called
L. when we were about to go, as had been suggested when we were being dropped off there, up in the lift to the upper level. Strictly speaking, that is “Departures”, and has a “drop-off zone” not a “pick-up zone”. I called him again when we got there, and he suggested going to the left as far as possible, out of the way of any of the “traffic marshals” that were around; and again, when we got to that location (15:17). He called me (15:21) to say he was approaching “in a silver van, behind another silver van” with his hazard lights flashing; I eventually saw them, and he told me to wave. Thus, we met up; he loaded the suitcases; we boarded; and we set off, proceeding along the M56 motorway, then the M60, then the M67. There was some occasional rain en route. At 3.45pm, we encountered a long, slow-moving queue of traffic about ½-mile from the motorway’s abrupt and strategically pointless end at a roundabout. I noticed that this was at “Mottram in Longdendale”, a name familiar from the telling of
“The ‘Abortive Camping Expedition’ — Day
One” tale. The slow-crawl congestion continued through the village of Hollingworth, but eased before we got to Tintwistle (also familiar from the tale). From here, to our right in the valley below (Longdendale), was a series of reservoirs, and near the last one, we passed a sign: “Woodhead”. I saw no sign of any settlement there. We continued along what was here the A628, crossing the Barnsley boundary, and turning right at a roundabout onto the A616. I noticed a sign saying “Stocksbridge”, though there was little sign of the town itself from the road. I think that’s where the steelworks is, which I visited
once [in my final year at Hull University, 1975]. From the A616 and its continuation the A61 we joined the M1 motorway, south- then east-bound, from which we turned onto the M18 heading north-east, and thence along the M180 eastwards and its continuation the A180.
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