No ill effects from the pub lingered this morning, and there was a lovely full breakfast in the very nice Dining room. The hotel is older and a little faded and worn around the edges but it's clean and the breakfast was what I call a proper English breakfast. The weather doesn't look very promising today. By the time we had done what we came to do in Lichfield, the rain was coming down and Chris wanted to get on the motorway to Manchester before the Sunday traffic got too bad. There just isn't the same sort of pleasure walking around an empty town in the rain with most of the shops closed anyway.
The reason I wanted to go to Lichfield is because, in 1612, my 9-great grandfather, Edward Whiteman, was burned at the stake in the market square for heresy. On the wall of what used to be St. Mary's Church and is now a heritage center is a plaque describing this and I was charged with getting a photo for my cousin's genealogy website. We drove under the stony gray skies that occasionally wept a misty tear or two over the green hills, following the signs to Lichfield. We drove round and found a pay and display lot between the market square and the cathedral close. Lichfield has a beautiful stately triple spired cathedral and it's other claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of Dr. Samuel Johnson, author of the first comprehensive English dictionary.
We walked over to the market square, found the plaque and photographed it and then looked for a café that might be open. Chris hadn't eaten breakfast and though it was after noon he had a craving for a bacon butty. We did find one that wasn't serving breakfast by that time but when we asked where we could find a place that did, they allowed us to stay rather than turn down custom. Didn't look like they were all that busy anyway. Bacon butties all around, washed down with hot milky tea, comforting on a cold rainy day. As I said before, the weather was dismal and it began to rain in earnest by the time we left so we went back to
the car, drove once around the Cathedral close for photos and headed back to the motorway.
One stop for a loo break and a phone call to Alan, my host for the next week. We continued on our musical ride to Manchester, continuing our discussion from the night before on reggae music and the Ramones. We reached Manchester in due time. Alan was out so we took a chance and caught Annie at home. (Most of my friends at that time lived within a few blocks of each other in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, outside Manchester) We had cups of tea and a great visit. We finally headed over to Alan's about 6 o'clock I think. Another fierce hug from another wonderful friend and a goodbye to Chris who wanted to get back on the road to Redditch but he was coming back next weekend.
Alan and I had a late meal and a couple of glasses of wine and got caught up. He's only got Thursday and Friday off this week so I am spending tomorrow over in Liverpool with Phil and taking another day at least to have a good look around Manchester. This is only my second visit to Manchester and the first visit, in 2000, we spent all our time out on day trips and saw very little of the city. Alan and I are planning a day trip to Buxton on Thursday.