Trip Start Jun 30, 2012
Trip End Aug 03, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Samut Prakan,
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday - journey to Manchester

Last morning in Derby and goodbyes all around. Finalised the packing at Robin's as there was some clean washing to add. Quick trip to the coop to get something I needed a some odds and ends for Robin - pears for Miriam, sausages for the dog.

That reminds me - ancient Meg, the dog has become very fussy in her old age. She will only eat human food and likes a bit of variety. Fried egg sandwiches, tuna and weetbix, sausages and rice, fish fingers etc. Rob had a bit of dog food open and didn't want to waste it, Pip was saying "she won't eat it" but Rob insisted. As Pip decanted dog food into her dish Meg discovered a reverse gear no one knew she had! it was so funny! So some human food was found for her after all.

Kirsten was up when we got back so we said our goodbyes. Then just as it was time to leave Rob said - come into the lounge Miriam has something for you. I couldn't believe it - is she in there - does she want me to come in? The lounge had been Miriam's domain during the days and I had carefully avoided it. She finds it so difficult for anyone to see her and I wanted to be so respectful of her concerns and not put any pressure on her.

So I walked in. Miriam was seated on the sofa with her head down and long hair covering her face. Very thin of course. She was holding a card in her hand and inched it in my direction so I reached out and took it. I had already written her a note to go with a very small gift I had ready for her. I placed that on the sofa. Miriam of course didn't speak. I thanked her for inviting me in and told her how proud we all were of the progress she was making. I was in tears I was so touched. What a special goodbye. rob was all choked up too.

Then it was time to be off to the station. I was traveling to Manchester by train and had a change at Sheffield. Big hugs with Robin then onto the train. Got myself confused at Sheffield and went to the wrong platform but had plenty of time so no problems.

On arrival in Manchester I found the left luggage office and deposited my stuff there as I had decided to go for a wander. The station is massive - size of a small NZ town. I wanted to see a real Apple shop - not the fruit the computers. There was one in the Arndale shopping centre which was in walking distance so off I set w my trusty iphone pointing the way, enjoying the mixtures of old and new around me.

If Manchester-Picadilly railway station is the size of a small town, the Arndale centre is the size of a small NZ city! Found the apple shop and had a browse and a little spend then headed back a different route, picked up the luggage and headed for the tram platform according to Geoff's excellent instructions. It was after 4 by then and there were lots milling about as there was some sort of Olympic match in the evening (rain was starting to come down in buckets - poor sods!) - those were hearded off into their own tram so mine was fine - got a seat and there was room for my luggage by me.

Geoff and Ann were waiting by the tram. Had met them once in NZ almost 10 years ago. It was a short drive to their house. Lovely little house with lovely garden - nice and easy keeping all flat.

As the evening progressed we had a really good time looking at the family tree as Ann had done a lot of work on it - we were both there with our ipads and the computer. Ann photocopied some certificates she had which were of interest to me. We finished up heading to be quite late. One cute thing in their house was the downstairs loo - they had put it under the stairs in the old coal cellar - it was tiny but very handy when I woke in the morning to find the upstairs bathroom occupied.

Geoff drove me to the airport in the morning and helped wheel my luggage almost to check-in. Certainly didn't have to worry about early starts and awful traffic by spending the night there.

Ann is going to have another go at having her bypass op this week. It's been put off twice. She goes into hospital later today with a view to having her surgery in the morning. Let's hope there are no hold ups. She seemed well but she just has to watch what she does or she gets angina.
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