Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Going west

An email has flooded in, from a reader complaining that I never reveal any personal details (the nerve!) and wanting to know why on earth I went to Warrington at the weekend.

Had to go all that way to see a doctor who I trusted, such is the Health Service in Lincs. OK? Enough or you want to see the x-rays?

I'd thought the Warrington Travelodge was a bargain at £26 when I booked it, and I suppose it was, in a way. It's downtown, between the award-winning bus-station and Asda. Most of Warrington seems to have been demolished in the 70s, the slums replaced by spanking new (then) roads with the backs and sides of B&Qs, and Kwik-Fits everywhere. A brown Tourist sign points to the Cultural Quarter. No doubt it's a sight worth devoting a whole hour to, but we decided to give it a miss. We didn't see many actual people around, it being Sunday evening they were probably all at t' chapel. Outside the hotel, though, a couple of youths in combat fatigues were lounging on the kerb smoking. They might have been guests avoiding the latest ban, but I hoped they were there to prevent our car being torched by local youngsters during the night.

Inside, a security guard took our details, the lobby had tables and chairs bolted to the floor, the windows in our room had black mould on the windows neatly co-ordinating with the greying net curtains. The view was over a main road and a railway line to factory roofs on the far horizon.

Luckily, we'd brought sandwiches, otherwise it would have been a trip to the vending machine downstairs for supper. We watched Mountain! on the TV, with Griff Rhys-Jones showing us a different Britain, green and pleasant, photographed lovingly from the air. I wonder if even Warrington could be made to look attractive from a helicopter. So to bed, with traffic along the roughened tarmac of the adjacent pedestrian-crossing as background noise.

I had an email from Travelodge, too, this morning asking if I'd recommend the place.

They must be joking. The full price of this room would have been £50. For the same amount or a tad more or less, we've luxuriated in places like the Melia Horus in Zamora, the Puerta de la Luna, Baeza, or the Molina Lario in Malaga. What is it with English prices? Pity the foreign tourists who are swayed by blurb on our hotels' websites.

Next day, we joined the motorway for the journey back East and sanity. The M62 is not for the faint-hearted. It's an 80 mile an hour traffic jam, snaking its way through spectacular Pennine scenery which, if you even glance at it, will get you killed instantly in the resulting pile-up. Then on to quieter driving along the semi-deserted M180, which leads from Scunthorpe to Grimsby, so no surprise there, then. And back through the lanes to home. Glad to be back too. Disorienting to lie facing south with the sea on your right.


Dick Madeley said...

I know Warrington quite well from the time I lived in Cheshire doing Granada Reports and then This Morning. It's a horrible place full of poor people.

Name: All Shook Up said...

I know you say that in your usual non-judgmental way, so I can agree with you without fear of causing offence to the hapless residents of the town.