Saturday, 21 March 2015

Manchester Trip - Day two

Today was the big day - the anniversary of the day my grand-uncle James Alfred Ryder MM, was killed in Action in 1918. He left behind a wife and four young children.

Today is the day I was meeting his great-grand-daughter, Jane, for the first time.

We'd arranged to meet for lunch at The Red Chilli, Portland Street. But before then, MWNN and I took a tram ride. I'd promised to show him the boats in Castlefield Basin, but we got off the tram at Castlefield-Deansgate, beside the Beetham Tower.

The tram stop is alongside the Rochdale Canal locks, a long walk from the basin, so we popped into a cocktail bar for a coffee before boarding the tram back to St Peter's Square.

Entrance Hall Ceiling

We had planned to visit the newly-refurbished Central Library on our way to the restaurant. I'm so pleased we did. It's stunning and so vibrant. 

There was a 'Shakespeare Week' just beginning on the ground floor, complete with a Tudor Minstrel. As we entered the Dome area, Dante Ferrara  was playing a Hurdy Gurdy.

Later, he switched to a Lute, a much quieter instrument. We had to get quite close to hear the tunes.

He looked quite incongruous among all the high-tech, interactive technology that has replaced many of the books on this floor.

With just ten minutes to go to lunch, MWNN and I made the short journey on foot to China Town in time for the 1pm appointment for lunch.

Jane and her husband were at the Red Chilli restaurant and greeted us warmly. We spent the next two and a half hours over a leisurely lunch,  pouring over marriage certificates, old photos, and census printouts.

Then it was time to head off to the main business of the day - the laying of a poppy wreath in the Manchester Regiment Chapel in Manchester Cathedral.

Jane and I were quite disappointed that the book of remembrance was not open at James Alfred's page. The only book of remembrance was open at a date in April for a Corporal awarded the Victoria Medal in WW1, who died in 1940.

I showed Jane the page in the Manchester Regiment's Roll of Honour where her great-grandfather was to be found.

Then, to the strains of the Cathedral Choir, practising in the choir stalls, we placed the wreath against the Regimetal Chapel's altar.

Behind the altar is the Fire Window - a window of  stained glass, which has had a chequered past.

MWNN took some final photos of  Jane and me before we departed and went our separate ways.

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