North West of England

Trip Start Jul 01, 2006
Trip End Jul 07, 2007

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

I have never flown into Manchester airport and probably didn't appreciate it as much as Emma who has had far more experience. However, the weather was fine for the infamously meteorologically troubled Island. We caught up with a bunch of Emma's friends and, while I will let Emma go into more detail about our time in the North West of England, it was a pleasure for me to meet Emma's great Aunt Muriel who, while well into her post retirement years, has a busier schedule than people a third of her age.

Emma here. This is my first post so here goes.... The North West was a week long, great, mad, sweaty dash from one set of friends to another with a car purchase, passport renewal, and a few relatives thrown in for good measure. Highlights include: meeting two car salesmen called Clive ( so the rule that no-one in the UK is called Clive has exception for car salesmen in addition to the one for the actor Clive Owen); catching up with some beautiful little boys (Oscar, Oliver and Louis) and a little girl (Elena) that a couple of friends of mine had managed to pop out in the couple of years or so since I last saw them; the 30 degree weather ("It's how hot there???"); and seeing my fun, fun, fun, Aunty Muriel who made me chortle when, upon my spying an "old lady" hat and commenting that it looked like a tea cosy, promptly donned it and sang I'm a little teapot (see photo); and eating proper chips on Werneth Low (nearby hill); and listening to a drunken Clive and Neil trying to teach each other Scouse and South African respectively.

Also, I should note that upon returning to my old stomping ground, I discovered that things had quite literally shrunk: distances were shorter, people were smaller (esp. parents who are in about their 10th year of slow shrinkage) and buildings too. Perhaps when you've lived thousands of miles from your nearest and dearest an hour in the car to see someone even if only for a few hours seems no chore. With a certain amount of reluctance, but knowing it was one step nearer to France, we headed to London...

London looked rather beautiful in the sunshine. We stayed with Glen, Clive's brother, in his lovely, newly renovated apartment near Richmond and managed to squeeze in a lunch on the green and a mooch along the river to take in the sights and good weather. In the 48 hours we were there I managed to get to Waitrose three times - how amazing is that store?? In stark contrast to the two container ships a week supplied Cayman supermarkets. Had a rather unusual incident where, after we had parked our heavily laden car in an unauthorised spot outside Glen's place, his neighbours rather than asking us to move or leaving a note on the windscreen, decided to empty the contents of their fridge door onto it. Yes, a mere thirty minutes after it was parked there, and seen by Clive from 4 floors up, the frustration was clearly too much and they pelted our Berlingo with two (possibly Waitrose, and if so possibly laid by, corn fed, free ranging, Buddhist chicken laid) eggs. Clive was mad. I was mad but also rather amused - how can people get them into such a tizz that they decide to do that.... Anyhow, it was good to have caught up with a few buddies, some recently departed from Cayman, some old Uni friends of mine.

Clive back for a second, while in Liverpool where I learnt how to properly say "Spicy Chicken", we went to Crosby Beach which is where Anthony Gormely has sculpted 100 replica's of his body and placed them on the beach in his own artistic way. It is incredible to look at especially when the tide comes in and covers the sculptures.
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