Last weekend I went to Manchester for LB's wedding. I visited some old friends of my mother's, a rabbi and a biochemist who are the parents of my friend YS. They fed me a delicious lunch and we caught up on eachothers' and mutual friends' lives.
The most exciting thing about the weekend (apart from the wedding itself) was that my dear, dear friend PM was in Manchester and free. I see her far too rarely, and neither of us is a brilliant correspondent, but she is so very dear to my heart and I need to see her. And not only was PM around, but her husband was there too. So I finally got to meet him after something like a decade since they married. I never had any doubt that he would be just as wonderful as PM thinks he is, but I'm so pleased I actually got to meet him in person.
They are spending most of the year in their second home in Tuscany these days, and the meal we had was very much Italian-style. My new favourite word is Professoressa, which apparently is how PM is addressed by her Italian neighbours. We had the most wonderful evening, just catching up and reestablishing our connection. PM was the one who laid to rest all my silly doubts and fears about the prospect of moving to Australia; she has inspired me with the confidence I need at this point. I am truly blessed to have such a friend.
I stayed in a B&B I'd found with a Google search, called White Lodge. To be honest it was fairly grim, and I wouldn't recommend it. But it was somewhere to stay and enabled me to do all the fun things I wanted to do and see my friends, so hey.
Sunday morning I followed rho's advice and visited the Museum of Science and Industry. This is a most excellent museum, thank you rho. I decided to concentrate on the industry bit rather than the science bit, because I know less about the history of the Industrial Revolution than about the kind of basic science that science museums usually showcase. Plus, they were doing live demos of the machines, which is way too cool!
The steam engines first, a really nicely put together history of the development of the steam engine with lots examples. I chatted to one of the demonstators who was very knowledgeable and interesting. He was so obviously delighted by the concept of a pretty girl around his own age taking an interest in his engines that I asked him to explain how a governor works, something I have known more or less from the cradle, just to see his face light up. And we chatted a bit about the process of adopting new technology and stuff.
Then I went across to the textile industry bit to see the kinds of machines that some of the big steam engines would have powered. Again, a really thorough and well thought out exhibit, everything a museum should be. I enjoyed the demonstration of the various stages in the process of cotton production, partly because I find mass production machines fascinating, and partly because I could compare cotton with the jute I learnt about in Dundee.
Anyway, that was a very fun weekend.