Woke up bright and early and packed the bag from hell and got ready to have a wander round London one last time.

The weather was unbelievable, a lot of places were showing the temperature as up around the 40 degree mark, and boy it felt it. Best place to be in that kind of weather? Open air bus tour! I picked one, paid my fare and hopped onto the top deck.

When the bus was moving, it was beautiful. Fresh air, a nice breeze and some pretty good views of the city. Sadly, being London, traffic was a factor and a lot of the time was spent at traffic lights or roadworks. It didn’t really distract from the fact that London has some fantastic buildings and monuments – almost everywhere you look there’s something historic or interesting.

The bloke doing the tour was great as well, full of anecdotes and quips – although his choice to point out a Primark as part of the tour was strange!

Time being against me, I never got to finish the whole tour, as I had to jump off and head to Euston for the train. I quickly grabbed some lunch to scoff on the train, a further 3 bottles of cold water and off we went.

The train itself was painless – a nice air conditioned Virgin railways service. Bliss. We arrived bang on time and it was just then that when I was checking my collection of tickets and bookings that I realised something. I’d booked a train home from Newcastle to Carstairs on the Friday. I picked up the ticket from my local station. Sadly for me, it was still sitting on the bookcase in my living room at home…

I had to replace it, and doing that meant I missed the local train out to where my hotel was. No matter. I hopped on the next one, and after what felt like a marathon in the heat, arrived at my digs for the night.

I have to say, I loved the little hotel. Staff were funny and pleasant, the location was ideal – right next to a main road with an express bus route – and the room itself was fine, nice and cool. Couldn’t ask for more, really – especially not at the budget end of the market. Well played, Lansdowne Hotel.

Sat down in the cool room for a while, had a shower, got changed, charged the phone up and headed off into the city centre to meet a friend. Grabbed some food on the way, and ended up in the Printworks. Strange place, seems to try and cover all bases under one roof, but it’s popular, so there you go.

Having set the world to rights with Jenny & Dean, they headed off to their Goldfrapp gig, I headed off to locate a pub that was showing the Celtic Champions League game. The Green, near Piccadilly was showing it, so I watched the end of the match, and headed off again.

Finding a cash machine was more problematic than it should have been – once that was done, I had a quick pint in the Old Monkey – a pub I’d seen but never been into. It ‘s just across the road from my destination of choice for the evening – the amazing Fab Cafe.

I love this place, it’s full of geek and nerd memorabilia from all corners of the sci-fi world. I sat at the bar chatting to the staff and some of the punters, and felt right at home. If you’re in Manchester and of a geek persuasion, this is the place for you.

Indeed, anywhere in Manchester seemed to be nice and friendly. Every bar or shop I went to couldn’t have been more helpful or welcoming. Manchester seems a lot like Glasgow, in that music and football are never far from the people’s thoughts.

With it getting close to closing time, I headed off, hit the all night shop for some more water and crisps, and returned to the hotel… time to call it a night and prepare for the last day of my road trip – and onwards and upwards to Newcastle…

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