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Old November 14th, 2011, 04:31 AM   #381
600West218
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On Saturday, my final full day in England, I wanted to get to Manchester early. I needed to be in Manchester as that was where I was flying out of. But just as importantly, I really wanted to get back there to see the Power Hall at the Museum of Science and Industry, which had been closed when I previously visited. So even though I had a headache (a hangover from drinking way too much on Greek Street the night before) I managed to catch an early train across the Pennines to Manchester.

And you know you are in Manchester when you see this:

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100_4125 by 600West218, on Flickr

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100_4126 by 600West218, on Flickr

The nice thing about coming back to Manchester was that I already had a good sense of the layout of the center of the city. So to get to MOSI I decided to pick up the canal in the Gay Village and follow it straight to Castelfield and MOSI.

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100_4127 by 600West218, on Flickr

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As I got down close to MOSI I ran accross this canal boat (barge, as they are called in England) going through a lock. It was a family of parents and their two college age sons. As the week coming up was the mid term holiday at the universities they were taking a trip around the canals. Sounds like a great idea to me. Anyways, I stood and watched the kids open and close the lock gates and sluice gates:

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100_4133 by 600West218, on Flickr

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100_4134 by 600West218, on Flickr

You can see the boat is very low in the water here as they are going from a lower water section of the canal to a higher water section. They they entered the lock and closed the gate behind them. In the next picture one of the sons is cranking open the sluice gate to allow water into the lock from the high level portion of the canal. Once the water levels between the lock and the higher water level of the canal have been equalized they can easily open the lock gates and move on.

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100_4135 by 600West218, on Flickr

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100_4136 by 600West218, on Flickr

In the following picture you can see what is happening:

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100_4137 by 600West218, on Flickr

In the foreground, between me and the lock door, you can see the water level of the higher part of the canal. Note that the water level in the lock is lower (though by this time it had been raised somewhat). Also note the turbulent water in the lock next to the boat. That is water pouring through pipes that have been opened and are allowing water from the high part of the canal to pour into the lock until the water levels are equalized.

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100_4138 by 600West218, on Flickr

Now, you can see the boats level has risen, though it is still not as high as the water where I am standing. BTW, you can see the mechanism for the sluice gates. It is a rack and pinion system and the metal bar sticking up is the rack. By turning the crank (and the pinion) the kid had raised the rack and that raised a metal gate that had prevented water from entering pipes into the locks. With the pipes now unblocked the water poured into the lock and the boat was raised.

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100_4140 by 600West218, on Flickr

Almost there!

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With the water levels equalized you can now see the kids opening both gates. Notice the one closer to me is using the inlayed bricks for better traction. With the water levels equalized opening the gates is pretty easy. I tried it a couple of times and it didn’t require much streangh.

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100_4142 by 600West218, on Flickr

The boat coming out and a conciencious traveler closing the sluice gate.

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100_4143 by 600West218, on Flickr

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Then I continued along the canal where it seemed like there was always more to see, even if I didn’t take pictures of everything.

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I wonder where that jet is coming from and where it is going to?

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Another little pool going into a factory off the canal.

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100_4154 by 600West218, on Flickr

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Again, I think this is an old canal keepers home:

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100_4156 by 600West218, on Flickr

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100_4158 by 600West218, on Flickr

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100_4159 by 600West218, on Flickr

These bridges and viaducts in Castlefield will probably be the image that I most closely associate with this trip. When I arrived in England and took the train from Manchester airport to Liverpool I saw them and was immediately impressed by them.

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100_4161 by 600West218, on Flickr

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The people we have to thank for Castefield and its canals being preserved. It boggles the mind to think that all this could have been lost.

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100_4164 by 600West218, on Flickr

Note the Inland Waterways Association at the bottom of the plaque. Would have been nice to know about them and their website before I went to England.

http://www.waterways.org.uk/

Finally made it to MOSI, and just in time to see the old steam locomotive they operate run.

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100_4165 by 600West218, on Flickr

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I actually filmed this train when it started moving and when I upload that video to YouTube or Vimeo I’ll share it here. It shoots out a large quantity of steam when it first starts up (don’t know why) and both the train and I disappeared in a cloud of steam.

Apparently there are so many old steam engines running in England there are companies dedicated to servicing them:

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100_4169 by 600West218, on Flickr

Then I headed into the power hall.

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An old beam engine. Don’t know if it ever runs.

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On the day I was there nothing was running. But they were fundraising for a new boiler so obviously they must normally run things.

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100_4184 by 600West218, on Flickr

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At one time Manchester and some other British cities had a huge hydraulic power system. It used fluid pressure in pipes to transmit power.

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Would have been nice to see this in action and see how well the regulator works.

On balance, the Power Hall at MOSI was very good. But they definitely needed some people around to answer questions and give more in depth explanations of things.

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100_4223 by 600West218, on Flickr

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Then I wandered a bit. Actually, I knew I wanted to head over to the Manchester Cathederal as I knew they were scheduled to have an EvenSong on Saturday. Sure enough, I was able to see it and it was quite nice. No pictures though.

But I do have pictures of my wanderings before and after it:

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100_4225 by 600West218, on Flickr

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This is inside the Great Northern Warehouse.

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100_4230 by 600West218, on Flickr

They actually had a movie theatre built into it.

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Note the city center streets are full of shoppers on a Saturday. How many American cities would you see that in?

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100_4250 by 600West218, on Flickr

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100_4251 by 600West218, on Flickr

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100_4252 by 600West218, on Flickr

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Later I spent a Saturday evening hanging out at the Print Works which was very similar to Greek Street in Leeds. But this time I went to bed early as I had to catch a plane the next morning.
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Old November 14th, 2011, 09:41 AM   #382
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Over here in Ontario come March / April you get desperate to see some green! everything turns brown over the wintertime.
Our winters don't get that could

Great last pics 600west!
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Old November 14th, 2011, 10:01 AM   #383
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Very nice....thanks for sharing your pics.
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Old November 14th, 2011, 12:47 PM   #384
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Fantastic thread 600West218! :-)

Just gotta to ask the big question...

What was your overall favorite favorite city of the trip ?...
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Old November 14th, 2011, 02:13 PM   #385
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Language can indeed be a barrier, but I don't speak Italian either and I didn't have a problem connecting with people. Some spoke English and I also had the opportunity to meet other travellers and we'd get by somehow. Also, for me at least, Italian is like the easiest language to pick up. You just add a vowel to the end of an English word and chances are you're right. Italian essentially is the roots of the English language after all.
Actually Italian has little or nothing to do with the roots of the English language. English belongs to the West-Germanic family of languages that also includes Dutch etc. The closest languages to English in the contemporary world are Frisian, Dutch, Afrikaans and the Scandinavian languages eg Norwegian. It is a wide misconception that English is a latin language. It isn't, however there are a huge number of Latin-originated words that have been imported into English, mostly via French, which was spoken by the rulers of England for around 300 years. Before the Norman invasion which introduced French vocabulary, English was more or less entirely Germanic, and despite the English language being suppressed for around 300 years, it eventually won out and soon the Kings who had previously only spoken French became native English speakers. Anyway, while we do have a lot of Latin-based vocab, the grammatical structure of English is nothing to do with Latin, and all of the 300 most commonly used words in English today (eg: the, and, of, with, etc) are also nothing to do with Latin, they are germanic words from old English origins.

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Old November 14th, 2011, 09:33 PM   #386
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... and on the sixth day, God created Manchester.

removed.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 12:30 AM   #387
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Fantastic thread 600West218! :-)

Just gotta to ask the big question...

What was your overall favorite favorite city of the trip ?...
That isn't an easy question. Frankly, I would be very happy to live in any of the places I visited. And that really is an honest answer.

Another great thing about England is you can live in one place but visit others all the time.

Given that, I would probably choose Liverpool. I like that it is on the sea and I also like being around ships. In fact, being on the sea is what gives it an edge over Manchester in my mind. I also think Liverpool was a very nice size - big enough that it had plenty to do but not too big. It was very walkable (I like that). It had what was effectively a subway - Merseyrail. One drag with both Manchester and Leeds was you have to take buses (don't like as I can't read on them) or trams (a bit better but still slow).

The main negative to Liverpool is it doesn't have the canals that other cities have, especially Manchester. But that is not fatal as from Liverpool it is a very easy trip to Manchester. Heck, you can live in Liverpool and work in Manchester, easily.

So Liverpool number 1, with Manchester a close number 2, followed by Leeds as a close number 3 and Sheffield a more distant number 4.

Having said all this I know Liverpool and Manchester have a significant rivalry. I think they need to get over it. They are both quite nice and one of the selling points of Liverpool should be that it is close to Manchester and one of the selling points for Manchester would be that it is close to Liverpool. Further, I think anyone who lives in either of those cities and doesn't regularly visit the other is really missing out.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 12:52 AM   #388
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Lancashire 1, Yorkshire 0
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Old November 15th, 2011, 01:33 AM   #389
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England is such a small island - and the english mentality has been, traditionally, very competitive and warrior-like; seeing itself as unique and independent of all others - the U.K is an island - separate from Europe.

This factor has also contributed to the intense rivalry you have witnessed & experienced, between its major cities. However, unlike in The U.S.A, or in Germany, for example - where power & cultural force is spread more evenly around the cities of the nation; England is utterly dominated by London - leaving all other cities to fight over left-overs.

I suppose this combined with the natural defensiveness that is created by limited space & limited resources is partly responsible for the antagonism.

I agree with you - it is very tiresome; with people trying to score points off each other - in relation to their town or city of origin.

The U.S, to me, is appealing because it is so varied and diverse -with many 'capital cities' - all with their own power & cultural base.

Anyway - thanks for the many hours of anticipation and excitement that your thread has provoked.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 02:04 AM   #390
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Yes thanks for the thread loved reading it. Shame you never had the time to enjoy Durham tho its a great city by the way and it is a city, very small city but still a city. Darlington is a town that is bigger than Durham but we don't go on size.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 03:28 AM   #391
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
The main negative to Liverpool is it doesn't have the canals that other cities have, especially Manchester.

You'll not find many locals complaining about a lack of canals in Liverpool. As a matter of fact, there were plenty of grumbles when the authorities first proposed a canal link across the Liverpool's Pier Head, a kind of maritime snobbery manifested. Whilst there is actually a historical context for barges to be moving around Liverpool's dock system, the canal system itself is fairly ubiquitous throughout the industrial hinterland, and as such regarded as somewhat unglamorous here, something that belongs inland! A lot of locals would rather see more historical, or at the very least ocean-going vessels moored in Liverpool's city centre docks, than canal boats. All depends on your point of view, I guess.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 03:53 AM   #392
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A lot of locals would rather see more historical, or at the very least ocean-going vessels moored in Liverpool's city centre docks, than canal boats. All depends on your point of view, I guess.
Yes, it would be nice to see plenty of large ocean going vessels docked there. I wonder how difficult that is with the tides.

One thing that intrigues me and I want to learn more about is how much of Liverpool is artificial - that is landfill that was built out into the Mersey precisely to make it more feasable to load and unload boats. I might be imagining this but I think I saw somewhere something that showed the original shoreline being around where the town hall is. And if that is true a couple hundred yards of Liverpool is man made.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 05:01 AM   #393
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Sunday I awoke early to head to the Manchester airport. I had to be there at the ungodly hour of 6 am for a flight leaving shortly after 8. Travelling through the pre-dawn darkness didn’t allow for taking pictures.

After I checked in I hoped to pick up some last minute souveniers as in all my rushing I hadn’t bought many before. So I went into a couple of stores and this is what I found:

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Let me get this straight - I am in Manchester, at the Manchester airport, and I want something like an I Love MCR t-shirt and all they have is stuff from London?!?!?!?!? I have heard that England is London centric but this is absurd.

But at the airport I did notice that Manchester apparently has some planes named after it:

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Anyways, disappointed at not getting the souvenirs I wanted I got on the plane and off we went. Luckily the sky was fairly clear almost all the way to Liverpool so I got a nice areal view of an area I had begun to love.


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Even with really poor quality photos you can see how beautiful the English countryside is.

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Note now we see water - a long straight narrow channel and a wide winding body of water:

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ok, I am reasonably confident I know what I am looking at in the above picture. The narrow long body of water must be the Manchester Ship Canal. The wide winding body of water is the Mersey Estuary. Note you can see a bridge on it. It is simply amazing how close the canal and river are - they practically touch!! Make me wonder why they had a canal right here at all and why didn’t they simply use the river until it became unnavigable?

Also, note the cooling towers from some power plant.

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IMG_6413 by 600West218, on Flickr

If you look really closely you can see the canal keeps going as far as the eye can see and is almost touching the river the whole time. Very, very strange. Is the Mersey so shallow here that it is unnavigable?

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IMG_6414 by 600West218, on Flickr

Also, that complex of buildings to the left of the canal is very big, whatever it is.

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Now we are seeing some built up areas which I assume are the outskirts of Liverpool.

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I really had hopes of having an excellent birds eye view of Liverpool but unfortunately within a few seconds of taking these pictures it became entirely clouded over.

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After a quick a stop at Shannon to hang out with thousands of US soldiers - they were heading to Afghanistan and didn’t look to happy about it - it was on to a bigger jet for the hop over the pond:

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IMG_6475 by 600West218, on Flickr

I will probably do a couple more posts of general observations but to wrap up for now let me just say this: England vastly exceeded my expectations in almost every respect. In fact, if there was some negative aspect to either the trip or the country I can’t think of what it was. I am really looking forward to going back soon.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 05:05 AM   #394
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ah, now that I am looking at the pictures more closely I can see sandbars in the Mersey. Guess that explains why they need a separate canal at that point.

Another question comes from looking at the pictures though. Note all the green fields seem rather small, with highly irregular shapes, and boxed in either with trees or hedges.

Are they used for agriculture? And if so, why wouldn't they be much bigger? I would seem planting and harvesting crops in such strange fields wouldn't be very efficient or economical. Maybe they are pastures?
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Old November 15th, 2011, 09:40 AM   #395
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Hedgerows help prevent soil erosion by winds and also provide habitat for various birds and other creatures. In pasture land they also keep the animals fenced in!

As most woodland in England had been chopped down by 1700 for fuel (which drove the expansion of coal mining and the industrial revolution) the countryside in many places would be quite bare without them.

These days the EU farming subsidies are mostly based on farmers following environmental management schemes rather than payments for production. If they want the money they have to do stuff like managing and maintaining hedges even if chopping them down would give more efficiency in the short term.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 09:51 AM   #396
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Manchester doesn't have a subway system but the tram network is being expanded significantly and there is a good suburban rail network.

The tram does get much faster when its on its own track in the suburbs but in the city centre streets and around Salford Quays it can be slow.

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Old November 15th, 2011, 11:14 AM   #397
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All that ‘I love London’ stuff at Manchester Airport is a bit ridiculous indeed... there is a store in Manchester Piccadilly (as well as in the Arndale, I believe) which sells all of the equivalent Manchester branded merchandise, though.

This was a riveting trip report, honestly, really enjoyed coming back in here every day for the last few weeks to see your updates, thanks for sharing, I think you’ve opened the eyes of a few people resident here, let alone potential visitors!
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Old November 15th, 2011, 12:09 PM   #398
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
Yes, it would be nice to see plenty of large ocean going vessels docked there. I wonder how difficult that is with the tides.

One thing that intrigues me and I want to learn more about is how much of Liverpool is artificial - that is landfill that was built out into the Mersey precisely to make it more feasable to load and unload boats. I might be imagining this but I think I saw somewhere something that showed the original shoreline being around where the town hall is. And if that is true a couple hundred yards of Liverpool is man made.
You are right. A lot of land has been reclaimed from the river - all the way down to Garston in the south. Otterspool promenade was built using material that was excavated during the creation of the Mersey tunnel.

I am sure that someone will have some kind of diagram/map showing the original tide line - I haven't, and precise historical detail is not my thing; but Liverpool is a relatively modern city: it does not have any medieval buildings - and just a few that are tudor.

It was, largely, Victorian ingenuity and wealth that created the super city that it became.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 12:55 PM   #399
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The thoughts and photo`s of wandering Dan

Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
Having said all this I know Liverpool and Manchester have a significant rivalry. I think they need to get over it. They are both quite nice and one of the selling points of Liverpool should be that it is close to Manchester and one of the selling points for Manchester would be that it is close to Liverpool. Further, I think anyone who lives in either of those cities and doesn't regularly visit the other is really missing out.
Dan, many thanks for this wonderful thread, you sure packed in a hell of a lot of interesting places on your wanderings. Being a "scouser" living in Manchester I agree 100% with your summary re: the city rivalry.

Sorry you missed out of those gifts, selling London gear in Manchester Airport is an outrage, but I hear that will all change. From 1st. April 2012, all london rubbish is to be replaced by charming, tasteful and expensive trinkets from LIVERPOOL

I hope you do return soon , we may be a small island, but we pack a big punch, so there is still plenty more industrial places for you to explore.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 03:27 PM   #400
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Originally Posted by PadArch View Post
Actually Italian has little or nothing to do with the roots of the English language. English belongs to the West-Germanic family of languages that also includes Dutch etc. The closest languages to English in the contemporary world are Frisian, Dutch, Afrikaans and the Scandinavian languages eg Norwegian. It is a wide misconception that English is a latin language. It isn't, however there are a huge number of Latin-originated words that have been imported into English, mostly via French, which was spoken by the rulers of England for around 300 years. Before the Norman invasion which introduced French vocabulary, English was more or less entirely Germanic, and despite the English language being suppressed for around 300 years, it eventually won out and soon the Kings who had previously only spoken French became native English speakers. Anyway, while we do have a lot of Latin-based vocab, the grammatical structure of English is nothing to do with Latin, and all of the 300 most commonly used words in English today (eg: the, and, of, with, etc) are also nothing to do with Latin, they are germanic words from old English origins.

Cheers
English has nothing to do with Italian? I don't think so. Sure, grammatically English is Germanic, but the very letters we're writing in now and adopted by much of western Europe stems from Italy, ie the roots of the English language. There are literally thousands of common words in English that stem from latin and italian, via French or directly, and it's not hard to see those roots when you see Italian words.

Lets not forget, like North America was a colony of Britain, where they brought their culture, Britain was once a colony of Rome, and discovered by Greeks, and therefore has undeniable and intrinsic Graeco-Roman cultural roots.
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