Sunday, March 06, 2005

Duke's Canal

Lunch today with Debs at Dukes 92 (named after the adjacent Duke's Lock - the 92nd lock on the Rochdale Canal at the point it meets the Bridgewater Canal) is fun. It’s cool getting to know a new friend (we met through Book Group and this is our first get together outside of that).

Debs refers to it in texts as our ‘first date’ and points out that she doesn’t put out until at least a second date (best to be up front about these matters eh?).

After a light lunch we decide that the weather (cold, but startling blue skies and piercing sunlight) is perfect for a walk along the canals. The plan is to walk to the far end of the tow path at Canal Street, have a drink in one of the bars and then head back to the car at Castlefield. Sadly, long before we reach our destination, we are forced up onto the streets as British Waterways have closed the tow path for construction work. It also means that several lengths between locks are drained right down and the pleasant waterside vista has been reduced to exposed silt and (thankfully not too much) debris.

Emerging back up to street level you realise how the sunken world of the canals passes under the hustle and bustle of city life. We decide to compensate for the loss of peace and quiet by switching route and admiring some of the amazing architecture as we pass. We swap tales of buildings we’ve been inside as we pass by. How the Palace Hotel converted the stunning old Assurance Building sympathetically, whereas Malmaison seems to have imposed it’s modernism on its warehouse origins so much more brutally.

We stop for a drink at Space before heading back, cold, but happy.

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