Tod told me on the phone that yesterday was glorious. Eighteen degrees, sunny.
Meanwhile, I'm sitting in a Manchester hotel, over here for some work, not quite sure why I'm still doing this.
The work is not that arduous. Two evening workshops, Tuesday and Thursday, and between times I can do what I like. So yesterday I set out for Trafford Park shopping centre. My journey started on the tram from the centre and, like a small child, I sat up front behind the driver so I could see where we were going.
Manchester is a strange mixture. Hard, angular skyscrapers - all glass and chrome - are cheek by jowl with vast ornate, red brick buildings, some being restored behind scaffolding, but many broken-windowed, derelict, surrounded by rubbish. Hoardings proclaim the new, yet the streets are littered, buses are smelly and small shops are boarded up. My posh, modern hotel is two minutes from an "everything for a £" store.
The tram took me to Stretford and then I had to change onto a shuttle bus. The heavy grey clouds promised rain and as I stood at the bus stop I was having second thoughts. Why was I bothering? The small bus arrived. One person got off and two of us got on. And it just sat there at the bus-stop. Not much shuttling! Finally more people wandered up and as we pulled away, the sun briefly poked through the lowering clouds. The watery glimpse that I caught, is the same sun shining brightly on Tod and the dogs 900 miles further south.
People are posting messages on Total France to say that the cranes are flying north! Spring is coming.
And I know where I'd rather be.