Like a kid in a candy store

Trip Start May 30, 2013
Trip End Jan 13, 2014

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, August 1, 2013

1st of August, we flew into Manchester in the afternoon with my two loyal cousins waiting for us. We flew german wings from cologne and it wasn't a bad airline, got a little meal, baggage and extra legroom for a good price - the short flight went off without a hitch. It was nice seeing Grant and Paul again, I saw Paul a month and a half ago, but I hadn't seen grant for almost three years - it was like the time had never passed.

I called this blog entry 'like a kid in a candy store' because Stuart was the kid and Manchester was his candy store. Don't get me wrong I have seen Stuart's face light up a few times on this trip, but nothing gave me goose bumps and satisfaction like seeing his face in old Trafford - Manchester united (soccer) team's stadium & at the ashes (cricket) Australia vs England. He truly was in his element.

Our first night was just a relaxing one, went to the pub for dinner and Grant caught me up on his life from the last time I had seen him. We also did a spot of shopping, Stuart got some more books to hopefully get him through til October, and I got a white shirt to go with my new maxi skirt. I know that detail seems insignificant, but I have not shopped at all on this trip so far and was so excited to have a new outfit. I had done a little online shopping and sent it all to Paul and he kindly brought it to Manchester with him, it was so exciting seeing everything and trying it on, I felt brand new again. I may have a much heavier bag, but it was worth it! After shopping it was an early night for us as we had a big day ahead of us, a full day at the ashes (cricket) test series - Australia vs England - day two.

The ashes was a day out with a twist, there is like a little carnival outside of the stands where you can win prizes and play games all day. We played one before the cricket started, it was a large blow up globe that you stand in with 3 different coloured foam balls being pushed by air all around you, with 60 seconds on the clock you have to get as many points as you can. I beat Paul, grant and Stuart by getting the most points out of us four on 48 points. It was really good fun!

Those of you reading this who know me, know that I'm as much of a cricket fan as I am a professional musician. Saying that though, I really had a good day. The weather was beautiful, so beautiful that all of us got burnt somewhere on our bodies with Paul winning the award of getting most burnt. British skin - just gotta love it. I did a lot of breaks outside the stands, because there was just as much atmosphere out there, grant and I were not as into cricket as the other two so we caught up a lot with each other by getting food, water, sun screen and ice creams for the other 2 cricket fanatics. My two very big highlights were; (don't expect me to use cricket lingo here and tell you my highlight was when an Australian player got a 6) when everyone around us got so intoxicated they decided to use all the cups on the floor and make a beer snake that went across the lower end of the stands all the way to the top of the stands, that's some impressive engineering there! Other highlight was all the costumes we saw politicians, news readers, prisoners, clowns, tights that just should not be worn on men - rephrase that, tights that should not be worn on anyone and the list continues. The atmosphere at the cricket ground was just an experience in itself and was amazing to be apart of.

After a long day we took our sun kissed selves to the pub that was fast becoming our regular for some dinner. In our defence we did try nandos, but they were packed and it was going to be up to an hour wait for a table. In England Nandos is more of a restaurant than a take away joint, it is much more upscale. It was a good night of laughs and a few photos to remember that we were there. We got to bed fairly early again as it was an early start to get to old Trafford stadium for the Manchester United tour.

Out of the four of us, this tour meant the most to Stuart. He has been a Manchester United fan since he was born, it seems it's hereditary as both his father and brother share this passion too. It was a good tour, it started off in the museum and we read stories about players, saw mountains of jerseys - and I mean mountains and read some interesting newspaper articles. I did learn about the plane crash that took down the whole team in 1956, they were leaving from a small airport in Germany when bad weather unfortunately got in the way and the plane went down and killed a lot of the team. They had to work their way back up again after this tragedy and work their way back up they did. The atmosphere In the stadium was amazing, there was no one there and yet you felt the screams around you, the tears of joy when they won and the angry fist pumps when they don't. Once the tour was finished we got to spend a little time in the shop, I wouldn't even call it a shop it was rightfully named a megastore, anything and everything that could have a Man U logo on it had it. Teddy bears, whistles, t shirts, underwear and even condoms!

Once Stuart shopped up (which is highly unusual for him) we had to get our bags from our hotel and make our way to the train station. Some dramas with the train as there always is with British rail - someone was hit by a train between London and Manchester, this meant grant and Paul's train got cancelled. They were able to get on ours though which worked out better in the end so we could say goodbye in London. It was a hollow feeling saying goodbye to my family, I miss them a lot when I'm in Australia and it was so good to see them.

We had a pretty early night after our Indian curry together and some tv shows as our next adventure was about to begin. Top deck tour - Britain and Ireland for 14 days.
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