May has been a great month. After a relaxing April which included spending a week in Tenerife, I started a new job on April 30th. As a result, I’ve spent all month in and around Manchester. And its been fantastic! The sun has been shining almost every day* and we’ve had 3 weekends (two of them bank holiday weekends) where the temperature has been over 20 degrees! This is virtually unheard of, so of course, I made the most of it!
Rather than my usual blog posts of travel tips, I thought I’d try something different and share a run down of my month. So here’s what I’ve been up to….
*Its still Northern England though, so of course there has been rain!
Lancaster and Tiger’s birthday
We kicked off May’s first long weekend with a visit to the city Lee and I went to university – Lancaster. Neither of us had been for years, so we headed back to enjoy the sun and visit some old haunts.
Williamson Park in Lancaster was glorious in the sunshine. The picture at the top of this post is taken in the park and you can just make out Ashton Memorial through the trees.
This memorial was built by a wealthy industrialist in 1909 in memory of his wife, which is really cute, if a bit over the top!
The park is now enjoyed by everyone and on the sunny day we visited was full of families having a great time and has views right across Morecambe Bay.
We finished our day with a late lunch by the canal, soaking up the sun. Bliss! We ate at the White Cross, which is great on sunny days due to its plentiful canal side seating. But that was only because the beer garden of my favourite place, The Borough, was being decorated for their 12th birthday – I even used to work there back in my student days!
Boating on the canal
Our good friends, Cat and Ryan, live on a barge boat year round. In winter, I think it’d be my worst nightmare (I’m always cold as it is!), but on summer days nothing is more beautiful. We met with them at Middlewood station near Stockport. It happened to be Tiger’s 5th birthday, so of course he came too! It was a lot of excitement in one day for a little dog – we ended up getting 5 trains and visiting 4 pubs as well as jumping on and off the boat!
At the beginning of the day, the boat was moored on a quiet rural stretch of canal, far from roads or hustle and bustle. It was nice to experience the calm and tranquility. From there we moved the boat North up to Marple (with a gin in hand of course!), where we planned to stop for lunch. However, it seemed every pub in Marple had closed their kitchen for the day, so we opted to get the train back into central Manchester and spent the evening in a beer garden instead!
We never fail to have a great time when we join Cat and Ryan to go boating. If you have the chance to get out of the canals I highly recommend it!
Royal Wedding weekend and Manchester 10k/half marathon
After weeks of build up, the day was finally here! I spent the morning watching the wedding set up and then enjoyed the ceremony. (So beautiful – I do love a church wedding!). Afterwards, our estate held a street party. Whilst it mainly catered for families with children, its so lovely to live somewhere with a strong sense of community. It was a great event with barbecue food, cake, face painting, bouncy castles and even princess Belle came along! Regional news even came and covered the event.
The next day, the Manchester 10k took place along with the half marathon. After running the very hot race in 2014 (I think?!) I promised myself I wouldn’t sign up to another organised run. But that doesn’t stop me supporting friends from very sunny beer gardens!
The sun was shining on the runners and temperatures were in the mid-20s, making it the perfect afternoon to be cheering the runners along. I stood by the roadside for the elite races and even managed to capture a selfie with Mo Farah! (He’s in the white jersey). Lee and I even bumped into Sir Mo when trying to avoid the crowds after the race. (What are the chances?!). So, I was able to congratulate him personally on the win!
Manchester was buzzing with excitement and enjoyment all afternoon. The sun never shied away and by the end of the day there were some red shoulders in our group!
Race day was all the poignant as it was the first since the terror attack in Manchester and only two days before the anniversary. The anniversary itself was marked with a range of events including a two minute silence and an evening sing along in Albert’s Square. The sing along was really well attended and the type of event which makes me so proud and happy to live in Manchester, as so many things have over the past 12 months. 🐝🐝
Dunham Massey and Formby
Dunham Massey is only a short drive from home for us and its a great place to walk Tiger. We do a short circular walk, which takes in a cute village, canal towpath and ends in Dunham Massey Country Park. One of the highlights of the park (for me) is the deer and they certainly aren’t shy! They’re quite happy to sit by the side of the path whilst visitors wander by. On this trip we only saw the fawn (baby deer). However, on previous visits we’ve been lucky enough to see some big deer up close.
Formby is another favourite of mine. It reminds me so much of our trip to Montaña de Oro state park in California, the sand dunes are so similar. And yet, its only a short drive from home! Its also a great place for dog walking, although Tiger hates the sea and wont go anywhere near it 😂
Formby has a mix of dense woodland, country paths, grass dotted sand dunes and the beach itself. Visiting on a crazy-hot bank holiday made parking interesting – there were long queues at the entrance. We opted to park a short walk away to save on time. Once the area surrounding the car park was left behind you’d never have known the place had hundreds (if not thousands) of visitors. Whilst most people converged on a small stretch of beach, we decided to wander the dunes and found ourselves alone most of the time.
Afterwards we headed for a burger at the nearest pub and to our surprise had the outside seating to ourselves! However, it wasn’t a scratch on some of the amazing food that Lee has been cooking up this month.
If you’re a regular the tall wanderer reader, you were probably thinking I’d done a post without much mention of food for once. Well I thought I better fix that…..
Outdoor eating with the Big Green Egg
After dusting off his Big Green Egg in the garden, the weather has resulted in a LOT of outdoor cooking for Lee. Which has meant a LOT of outdoor eating for me! If you’re unaware, a Big Green Egg is a ‘ceramic charcoal barbecue cooker’. It can be used to barbecue or smoke food and we love ours! Some of the delicacies this month have included homemade burgers with avocado salad (pictured) above, smoked pork and 21oz steaks. (Actually that was a joint effort between Lee and his dad!). In the past, Lee has even smoked an entire Goose in the Big Green Egg!
I hope you enjoyed your May as much as I did mine 😄. Please share with me what you’ve been up to, especially if its activities/places/restaurants I might enjoy!
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