To Manchester, checking in at a Premier Inn opposite where the plush British Council office and Hacienda used to be. It was here - the office not the club - where LIz spent three years in the early days of our courtship before coming back to London. And it really was plush - a flagship building for hundreds of staff who'd been moved out of London to help cut costs. The atrium was particularly impressive with a huge and rather-difficult-to-decipher clock, Patrick Caulfield carpet and lots of other art. The Queen opened it in 1992 (see photo). It was all going so well... until we cut back so many staff that they were rattling around in a building which was just too big. So we moved out, and into a much smaller one a few hundred yards up the road. We're still there.
But we hadn't come all this way to gaze wistfully into the past. We'd come to see Sarah (who worked with Liz in the aforementioned building) & Leigh (who Liz shared a flat with at the time) and their respective children, though sadly not their husbands who were indisposed. Very nice to see them, and great that we can maintain contact after all these years.
While picking up Sarah's children, I witnessed a lollipop man in action. Being overseas, you tend to forget about these kind of living institutions.