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The sun had long since set over Ireland when I arrived in England. A late flight into a city that was not in my itinerary. Not the forest of ‘Robin Hood’ this time.

A late change of plans, a different airport and no car hire. This time it was Manchester and a taxi to the neighbouring city of Sheffield.

Ah well, at least I could get a rest in the taxi. Unfortunately when the taxi driver uttered those horrific words I knew it was going to be a very different ride to the hotel. (Later)

The hotel itself epitomizes the north of  England to me. An old Calvary Barracks with paintings of the mighty English and their gallant conquests. Now a lowly three star hotel, a fast food chain and a supermarket  stand  overlooking the once proud city of steel(works).

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No industry and an ever-widening gap between the have’s and the have not’s. This is the England of the north without a mighty football team or two to raise the class level significantly. The England of the south is very different indeed. London is very different again.

Without the University and the tram system to keep things moving, this town would surely be on its knees? But alas they have these qualities at least. But how could you talk about a city without talking about its people? This is the best quality by far.

I find the people warm and welcoming and very, very chatty. I like them.

Now speaking of chatty man. I got into the taxi and settled down in the back seat ready for a chillax. Then came the standard questions:

  1. Where you going?
  2. Where you from?

And then those terrible words:

” Sure my family are from Ireland too, do you know…”

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Photos – Garrison Hotel Sheffield at Sunrise.

– Manchester Airport at sunset.

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