Miss me?

Yes, I’m back from my little trip to Manchester. As I haven’t posted anything since, err, Tuesday, I thought I’d start with a little trip report.

Went to work as normal on Tuesday, but left in good time to catch my train at around 3:15. I could have got a later one, I suppose, but I wanted to arrive in Manchester early enough to get settled into my hotel, have something to eat, and have a reasonably early night so I could be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed[1] for the first day of my course.

The train journey was uneventful and punctual, and I got to Manchester some time after 6pm. On leaving the station, I found that a new footbridge had appeared, which led to a somewhat quicker route to Portland Street with only minimal dodging of trams. Nice. Checked into the Novotel, which was remarkably similar to my home-from-home in Leeds. Usual large room with working aircon and big comfy bed. Also nice.

After unpacking my stuff and relaxing for a bit, I decided that food would be a good idea, so I went to the nice Mexican place I usually go to in Manchester. The waitress was very nice, and apologised for any delays, as they’d unexpectedly had a large party to deal with. I didn’t really mind – I had something to read, and I was in no rush at all. There was a slight problem with the wine, as my first two choices were out of stock, so they gave me a much better wine for the price of the one I’d asked for. And very nice it was, too. As was the food. Returned to hotel, slept, woke up, got up, breakfast.

Off to the training location, which was conveniently located at the other end of Portland Street from the hotel[2]. Signed in, began the course. Interesting stuff – not the usual kind of nitty-gritty in-depth technical stuff, but a “get you thinking” course, intended to guide delegates towards designing IT security policies and procedures. It could have been dull in the wrong hands, but the trainer was a lot of fun – he had lots of good (and relevant) anecdotes and background information. We finished at around 4pm, which was nice. After popping back to the hotel, I decided it was a good afternoon for a walk, so I had a fairly long stroll around Manchester city centre. I had my little Sony camera with me (first time it’s been out since I got the Canon!), and took a couple of pictures. Back to the hotel, then to a little Italian place for dinner.

The second day of the course was much the same, with a slightly earlier finish. I took another walk, and popped into Urbis, the modern exhibition centre focussing on city life. Entry is free, and I’d give it a look if you happen to be in Manchester. I took some more pictures on my wander. For dinner, I decided to stay in the hotel, and had a nicely done steak with pepper sauce.

On my way to the the last day of the course, I spotted something strange on a building in the next street along, so I took some more pictures at lunchtime[3]. The rest of the course went well, with a nicely early finish – allowing people who were driving to get away before the Bank Holiday traffic got too bad, and allowing me to get the earlier direct train, which got me back to Newcastle by about 6:15.

And here I am back again. Weight remarkably unchanged after some large breakfasts and dinner.

[1] Metaphorically speaking
[2] Very handy
[3] All in the album