Florence to crazy Manchester
Trip Start Feb 02, 2010
97Trip End Feb 02, 2011
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The last two days with Gauss and Eugenia were really good fun. I did another vegetable lasagne cooking session and we spent the night out on the balcony with Gauss and Gio playing cards and laughing ourselves silly. The next night Gauss and Eugenia prepared us a very good tasting and interesting dinner. The main feature of the meal was Broad Beans eaten straight out of the pod with a dip of salt and a bite of cheese. We also got to try some traditional home made sausages and pickled vegetables
We had a quick power nap before getting up at two-thirty AM to catch the bus to the Pisa airport.
When we arrived in England it was such a beautiful sunny warm day we decided to walk a while away from the airport before we started hitch hiking. The first things I noticed about Leeds was the rubbish everywhere and the masses of daffodils growing wild and in gardens. Another thing I noticed was how bright green it was. We walked for about three hours through some beautiful countryside and wealthy looking suburbs. It was exactly what I imagined England would look like – just like in the English horse riding magazines I used to read, wishing I had such lovely open countryside to ride through.
We found a spot to hitch hike and it wasn’t long before a friendly man with tattoos and half a finger missing picked us up and dropped us out of his way
It wasn’t too long before a tow-truck driver picked us up. He didn’t say much, just drove along listening to 'teeny bopper’ R’n’B. He dropped us at a place were we had the shortest wait – just outside a BMW shop a man with a bomb of a car picked us up. He dropped us at a motorway entry where we had no luck until we walked up to a petrol station and asked a man for a lift. Very fortunately he was going almost exactly where we wanted to go and was happy to give us a lift.
We found where we were staying, with Richard, and old housemate of mine from back in the good old North Melbourne days with no trouble at all. It was a long and narrow house in a very nice, wealthier suburb of Manchester. It all looked exactly like some reality television show. Naturally, being a Saturday, Richard was out cycling so his housemate Steve let us in
We walked up and down the street and found some deliciously battered and deep-fried fish and chips before heading back to Richards. It was really great to see Richard again; when we lived at North Melbourne it was such a circus. It was nice to be back in that again and remember all the funny things we used to joke and carry on about, like ‘Particle Schwarms,’ (know to most as swarms).
In those few days… we ate a lot of condensed milk, almost every meal I think. Richard has a big stash of it in his fridge. We ate masses of pasta and bread and cheese and tomato pasta sauce too. We laughed a lot. We went to an art museum and the very nice local pub. We watched a movie or two but not before Felix pulled the telly apart to try to fix the inbuilt DVD drive, the solution ended up being to cut a hole in the side of the telly to wind the DVD out by hand.
Felix and I spent an afternoon in Platt Fields Gardens watching the strange people of Manchester pass by and reading the new books we bought in a second-hand shop
The second feral human I saw that completely amazed me was in McDonalds today, we were using the free internet there to figure out what to do after our very disappointing hitch hiking. A girl with quite a walking disability was coming down the stairs, every step was an effort and it looked like it was taking a lot of energy. The cleaning lady had placed a sign and two bollards at the bottom of the stairs to close the upstairs for cleaning. So this girl got to the bottom of the stairs and it took her ages to get the bollard out of the way so she could get to her walking frame. Just as she was about to step into her walking frame some guy shoved past her and pushed the bollard back into her way
My feelings have really been hurt by the large number of very unpleasant people here; I really thought the people would be nicer and a bit less feral. We have encountered some really lovely people, Richard’s housemates were some of those and a waiter in a fish and chip shop had very nice manners and looked like a good guy, but most of the young people we’ve seen and heard are rough looking, swearing, filthy looking people. Every second girl walking around Manchester is a scraggy looking tart with a baby (Disclaimer – Floss’s opinion). We saw a man and a woman arguing over what sounded like his threats to kill her. In the same McDonalds as before a homeless man who could hardly speak was refused a glass of water. At night the city is practically locked up like a prison. Every shop has bars and roller doors covering every window and door and from the stories we’ve been told it seems if you leave your car unlocked for five minutes everything will be gone. I think the reason it upsets me is because society is deteriorating into a filthy squabble
So we have booked a bus to Aberdeen now, I really didn’t like the thought of another day on the side of the road. And to not end on such a nasty note with all that slagging Manchester, I must say it is a pretty place. The countryside we walked through on our first day here was very picturesque, the yellow daffodils growing everywhere are so nice and the grass is so green. And staying with Richard was a pleasure. His hospitality was wonderful, he made us feel right us home, not in the conventional way, by being friendly, but by saying we MUST make ourselves at home and eat and wash and relax. He was insistent! Richard is someone I would always be happy to share a house with, I hope there is a time one day when it can happen again (and Felix could not agree more).