Scottish Highland, Blackpool and Manchester

Trip Start Feb 21, 2006
Trip End Jul 20, 2006

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Hey All,

Well its been over a week since I have written here, in that time we have been absolutely spoiled by some of my Family in England.

Going back a few days we hired a car in Edinburgh, it was a manual, lots of fun for Ami and I as we both drive Automatics. It was a bit of fun but we didn't have any accidents, the clutch is a bit worse for wear, but its a hire car and doesn't really matter. I was quite a bit rusty, especially on hill starts, with the hand break or clutch control. We had a funny moment at a one lane bridge when I was driving, there is traffic lights at either end and it was on a steep slope. I was the first car in line of about 15 cars, the lights went green and I was doing a clutch control start but didn't give it enough revs, Stalled. Did a hand break start and finally got moving just a the light has turned Amber, I shot through the intersection, being the only car to get through...It was hilarious.

Drove up to the Scottish Highlands, to Glen Coe, it was about a 3 hour drive in each direction. It was absolutely beautiful, an incredible drive with amazing scenery. I drove home and it took us a bit longer to get home as we got lost, Ami directed me around a Loch which was in the wrong direction. Hilarious as Ami is always right, according to rule number 2. Had a drink with Moe (From Adelade) and a few other people at the Hostel, wasn't a big night but they were great people.

Drove from Edinburgh to Blackpool (Just east of Manchester on the Coast) the next day, about a 4 hour drive. We were staying with some of my family in England, Michael and his family, they live in a place called Lytam St Anne's. We had a great time, and they really spoiled Ami and I. First time I have been out for dinner since the first night of my holiday. It was a really relaxing time and they have some great kids, its their youngest Sam has her 12th birthday on Monday, so we are going back (In Manchester at the moment) for that.

Michael son Kris, took Ami and I out on the Blackpool town, with his girl of the moment. Blackpool is notoriously rough, I was instructed not to make eye contact with any guys or girls, or I might end up in a fight. Its just not done up here. But despite the rough nature of the place we had a ball, ended up going out the Walkabout pub, which is nothing like a pub in Australia, they only thing it has in common is it serves VB. Left there and went to a place called Club Sanuk, Ami went to the toilet as soon as we arrived and by the time she had returned we had been kicked out. The bartenders wouldn't let Kris pay for the drinks and then Kris' girl started a fight with the bartender and was muscled out. It was hilarious.

A few days later we headed down to Manchester to stay with the Family of my Dad's best friend from School, Phil. I have kind of grown up with their children Jenny and Joe, well every time we were in the same country. They have a beautiful house in the south-east of Manchester, a place called Gee Cross. I haven't seen Joe for about 10 years, at that time he was about 4 foot height, the same as me, now he is 6 foot and it was a total shock I couldn't believe how big he was. I had caught up with Jenny when she had come to Australia, with her best friend Rachael, about 3 years earlier. She stayed with us for about 2 week and I had taken her out on the town a few times. Jenny wanted to return the favour and had planned a big night out, that night.

We had dinner with the Phil and Chris and Jenny, again feeling spoiled to have a home cooked meal. Ami wasn't feeling well so she stayed home, but we headed down to the local pub and I met some of Jenny's friend Rachel, Jo and Lisa. I had been drinking with Jenny and Rachel in Australia, when they travel around for 6 months. As my best friend Marc will attest, they can drink. We went out to the local pub, its was only 500 meters down the road, but we drove. No point walking when its freezing cold. Had a few drinks at the local pub, then we headed out into Stockport. First to a place where there were 1 drinks, which is incredibly cheep for the UK, not when its compared to 2.50 AUD. But with most of the drinks at $3 for anything basic its pretty cheap. It was a nicer place to go out than Blackpool, you could look at people in the eye and they wouldn't want to fight. But as the girls put it, there are a lot of "Slags", which can be interpreted as incredible short skirts and forward girls. The girls are like predators, you make eye contact with them and they approach you strait away. I had to laugh that only 2 girls that did this were both 17, one of the girls informed me that she was having a kissing competition with her friend. She wanted me to be no 5, I politely declined the offer, felt like she was going to punch me in the balls if I laughed, which was my initial response. Jen's friends weren't in this group, they were all really nice, and kept me away from the worst of the girls. And also kept me constantly filled up with drinks, I had something in my hand every night.

Joe arrived with a friend and we headed to a nightclub, it had a classier crowd than the first place. As you can see by the photos, we all had a ball and had a lot to drink. As can be seen when Jenny started kissing her friends. Only Kidding, it was just for the photo. I had a great night, it was great drinking with Jenny and Joe. As it always is, its the company that makes a night and I had some great company.

After waking with a bad head, Ami and I had the fun task of trying to drop our Hire Car off. We had directions but no Map, it was a bit of fun, Sat Nav would have saved lots of Arguments. The major problem we had was with a "Gyration", the instructions mentions this Gyrator, but we had no idea what it was. Turns out that its a round about that not round, most people we ask have never heard of it. Eventually found it and returned the car safe and sound. We were near Old Trafford, the Man United home ground, so we went to have a look. Being cheap backpackers, and the bus being $10 AUD for a 4km trip into Manchester Central, we walked. It took about an hour, not that Ami noticed, her friend Roly was out drinking in Melbourne and he had decided to call her. Ami gave him my UK mobile no and they had a 45 min phone conversation. I think he is going to have a bit of a shock when he see his next phone bill, I think it will be around a $150 phone call. Had a wander around Manchester for a few hours, it was raining, so we quickly found Picidilly Station and caught a train back to Jenny's House. We spent the next few days hanging out with Jenny and Joe, went out for lunch to a place where there had been a shooting last time Jenny was there. She must have liked the place...

On Mothers Day, which was Sunday the 26th here we headed back to Blackpool for Sam's 12th birthday. For Mothers Day dinner Ann-Marie cooked a huge meal, it was massive, Ami and I were so full we almost couldn't leave the table. At about 5 that night, I was so tired from all the eating I need a power nap, only to wake up at 7 hours later at Midnight. I was awake for an hour then fell asleep until 9 the next day, tat like 15 hours sleep. My body must have been doing some serious catch up. On the Monday, Sam's, actual b'day, we had a huge present opening. She received some great presents, including a laptop from Michael and Ann-Marie, she loved it all. We had a great day playing around with Andrew and Sam, go-karting, basketball and netball. Another relaxing night as we prepared to head back to Manchester. It was a great few days in Blackpool again and we have to thank Micheal and his family for being so hospitable.

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