I did this trip a while ago but never got around to writing about it! Nevertheless, I had a fantastic weekend seeing my 2nd cousin and his partner in Manchester. We explored Media City, home of the BBC, ITV and the original Coronation St set, we saw art from Lowry, we had a look at the BBC Children’s Exhibition and had pies at a pub for dinner. As we strolled around the city I was also told about the many buildings destroyed in the war. It’s sad to know that the reason the architecture of a city dates from the 50s and 60s is owing to the rebuild after the destruction from World War II. And this is the case with many cities in Europe. On the Sunday we drove to Liverpool to stroll around Port, observe the confusing Lambananas and take part in the Magical Mystery Tour – run by none other than Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s lead singer Holly Johnson’s brother Jay. He was clearly quite chuffed to announce this celebrity connection. We saw where Paul, Ringo, George and John lived at various stages of their lives. We also saw the Strawberry Field orphanage, Penny Lane and heard the tragic story of John’s mother’s death. All from a bright yellow bus that blasted Beatles music. My cousin had lived in the area growing up and never known exactly which house belonged to which Beatle so it was a meaningful trip for him too. I even got to see spots from his childhood along the course of the trip! Doubly informative. After a great time we went home to play ball throwing with their two black Labradors, who were really cute although very different in personality – one had endless energy to take the ball to you while the other wasn’t fussed as you deliberately threw it within 20cm from her. Probably because the other dog was a practised interceptor. It was a brilliantly sunny day and we even picked blackberries from their garden. I was sad to leave!