I’ve been up in Stockport for a few days, taking advantage of the Aviva Trains ‘Club 55’ deal which, with the addition of a Senior Rail Card, means that anyone over 55 can travel anywhere on the network for £16. From the house the 170 mile journey by car is 99% on dual carriageway. But travelling up there by car is always daunting because of the potential for major hold-ups at various points on the M5, the M6, the M56, the M60 …. or even on them all. With a train fare at £16 it’s simply not worth getting the car out of the garage.
Didn’t do very much when I was up North. Bits of gardening, visited my Uncle, the odd walk to the shops, watching Joanna Lumley on her Greek Odyssey. But one day, after carefully checking the weather forecast, we walked along the river Mersey into Stockport. For an urban area it’s an interesting and pleasant half hour walk. Unfortunately, and completely contrary to the forecast, it bucketed down with rain.
We skulked under cover in the town centre for a while, did the shopping, drank coffee and discussed the wisdom of going back to the house on the bus. I was quite in favour of that, not so much because it would have kept us dry but because the bus we would catch would be the Number 42. Who could resist the opportunity to travel on a bus which was the Answer to the Ultimate Question to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Wikipedia says of it (the number, not the bus): “42 (forty-two) is the natural number immediately following 41 and directly preceding 43. The number has received considerable attention in popular culture as a result of its central appearance in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything“”.
In the event we didn’t get to travel on the bus and so were saved from finding out that the Ultimate Question turns out to be “What is nine times six?”. My view is that the Answer is correct and it is the Question which is wrong. When we came out of the coffee shop it had stopped raining and the sky to the west, glimpsed above the top of the shopping centre, was lightening. So, emboldened by high-dose caffeine injection, we walked back along the riverside path. And very glad we did.
With the late afternoon sun and the clearing black clouds the sky was very dramatic. Wouldn’t have missed it.