Bicycle Race

Friday, 25 June 2010
It has been a pretty busy week this week up in Manchester, filled with lots of interesting experiences. My time in Manchester is done for now though, which I have mixed feelings about. I enjoyed my time in Manchester but I am also looking forward to living down South. Currently I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Birmingham while Luke has a job interview before we meet up with Lindsay and head to Warwickshire.

The weather has continued to be lovely, which Luke and I have been taking full advantage of. Been watching a lot of footie (that's football aka soccer for all you Yanks) and having barbecues. I'm also proud to announce that both the USA and England are moving forward to the knock-out round in the World Cup. USA at top of the group no less, not bad considering many thought they might not make it to the next stage.

Sunday was of course Father's Day and we spent it with Luke's granddad at Luke's aunt's house in Middlewich (a town about on hour outside of Manchester). It just so happened that this weekend Middlewich was hosting a boat festival (it sits on a canal), so after our lunch buffet Luke and I walked down to have a look about. It was interesting, mainly because of the people watching, there were a lot of gypsies (gypos) about, one even with a horse tied to the side of their boat!

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable things to happen this week was on Monday. Luke and I joined Ben and Helen, his flatmates, for a bicycle ride to Reddish to do a spot of fishing. What's more impressive is we biked eight miles to accomplish this, I haven't ridden a bike since I was nine except one small bike ride in Sardinia last year to the store which was less than a mile away. Ben let me use his new bike to make up for my disadvantage. We caught a few things, not as much we expected but at least we caught something this time! The ride back was rough, my backside was extremely sore and a few of the hills left me feeling out of shape but the accomplishment of the long bike ride was worth it!

Wednesday had an eventful ending to the day, Luke and I were just deciding what Family Guy episode to watch to fall asleep to when we hear the startled shouts of Ben from downstairs, "HELEN!" We looked to each other in confusion before a second shout came from Ben, "HELEN, BRING WET TOWELS!!!" Luke realized what was happening before I did. Sure enough as we ran downstairs and into the kitchen we were greeted by a massive cloud of smoke as the smoke detectors started going crazy.

The small fire had already been taken care of by the time Luke and I arrived, but the amount of smoke it created was unreal. Ben had turned the grill on intending to make a late-night snack before deciding to just have a bowl of cereal, and had completely forgotten to turn it off. So, Helen and I ran around the house opening all the windows and doors while Luke fanned the smoke out and Ben kept turning the smoke alarm off. We'd been at this for about two minutes when Luke's last remaining housemate, Adam, came downstairs in his dressing gown rubbing his eyes and utterly confused. An amusing end to the day to be sure.

Today is Friday, and like I said I'm sitting in Starbucks waiting for Luke's mum to arrive, which should be any moment. Luke should be done with his interview in a half hour and then the three of us are going to do a spot of shopping before Lindsay drives us back to Southam, where Neil will pick us up from tonight. Going to be spending the weekend near Milton Keynes with Neil and Nicola, which I'm excited for, haven't seen them since Christmas!

Erin x

Simply Red

Friday, 18 June 2010
There is a saying here in England, that the southern Englishmen like to say "It's grim up North". This saying applies to the people, weather, etc. etc. After spending the past three days here in Manchester I must argue the contrary. The weather has been absolutely lovely here. With the exception of today it has been bright sunshine, barely a cloud in the sky, and incredibly warm. I'll give the English this, they take advantage of the nice weather more than your average American. The parks are filled with people sunbathing, having little BBQs and playing sport.

Yesterday I was amongst those people. Luke and myself went down to Platt Fields with two of his flatmates, Ben and Helen, for a spot of fishing and sunbathing. It was Helen's first time fishing and while we were all hopeful of catching something, Helen and I soon gave up and just laid back to enjoy the sun, Helen with her knitting and me with a book. The boys on the other hand were not so willing to give up, they kept switching bait and location hoping to coax the fish out of the lake.

We weren't able to catch any fish, but I was able to make an observation of the English people. I never realized how helpful the English are, or at least how helpful they try to be. We were down at Platt Fields for probably near five hours, and at least once every fifteen minutes would be approached by some one inquiring if we'd caught anything. When this inquiry was met with a disheartened 'no' there was a standard set of responses we would get. 1) What bait were we using? When the boys told them, they would suggest something else to try. or 2) They would point us in another direction of the lake and suggest we try to fish there since they had seen some (insert name of the fish they saw here). A couple of middle aged men, who looked the least likely to be of any help, stop to chat to us for five minutes offering a number of helpful pointers.

In America it has always been my experience that people will more or less let you get on with it, whether you succeed or fail is not their concern. I do not mean this as a criticism of America, it is just a different attitude. I think Americans find it rather rude when they are offered advice without asking for it, that the person giving you the advice must think you're an idiot. Here it is simply just friendly advice. Whether you take it or not is up to you, but at least the people feel they have done the neighbourly thing.

We left the park at five, and that night Luke and I made a lovely supper of Thai Prawn Curry. I'll try to remember to put the recipe up here at some point. We've made Thai Prawn Curry a number of times, but I have to say this was easily the best we've made. The portions were huge but I ate every morsel, it was just so amazing. We added a few extra ingredients this time which I think kicked the dish up a notch, like lemon grass and some random Thai root that I'm spacing the name of. My mouth is watering again just thinking about it...

Yesterday was an amazing day in Manchester, but it easily ties with my first day here. Luke had to return a book to the university library, so he used this as an opportunity to take me on a tour of the University of Manchester. I've been to the university before, but during a cold wintery day, so I wasn't able to appreciate the beauty of campus as much. We went into Whitworth Hall and I felt as if I'd stepped back in time, or perhaps more accurately stepped into Hogwarts. The building is around 150 years old one of the workers told me. It's hard to believe considering that UNLV is only 50 years old and I highly doubt has any of it's original buildings.

Told you it was Slytherin House

Inside Whitworth Hall aka "Hogwarts"

Me in front of the GIANT organ

Luke at University of Manchester

University of Manchester

Our tour of the university concluded with a little look at The Manchester Museum. I was expecting it to be small and rather insignificant but was happily mistaken. The museum is only three floors, not as impressive as the other museums I've been to in England but still had it's share of interesting artifacts. I especially enjoyed the Ancient Egyptian wing which had actual mummies out for display - including mummified shrews and crocodiles.

We took a bus into the centre of town to do some shopping for Father's Day, since we're seeing Luke's dad this evening, and a spot of lunch at Nando's (A Portuguese chicken restaurant that is beyond amazing!)

As for today, Luke has gone down to Birmingham for a job interview so I'm here at the house doing a bit of writing and reading, listening to music, and watching the Slovenia v. USA of the World Cup. It's the perfect day for it, with the cool breeze coming in through the windows and a scattered rain showers, so relaxing.

Erin x

Three Lions

Monday, 14 June 2010
Well I made it across the pond with very little trouble. I was able to sleep fairly well on both my flights, which is good considering I barely had any sleep the night before. I can only make one complaint on my travels and that was with my seat. When booking my flights I had explained, or rather my mother since she was the one speaking to them, that I had problems with my left knee and therefore had to be seated on the right side of the plane so I might stretch my knee into the aisle. The agent got this backwards. I was going to ask to switch sides on my transatlantic flight but Delta had overbooked and people were quite agitated so I chickened out.

Mustn't grumble, what matters is I have arrived. I've spent the weekend staying with Luke and his parents in Southam, Warwickshire but tomorrow Luke and I shall head up to Manchester with his cousin, Becki. I've had an eventful weekend that surprisingly has not been dampened by jetlag. I arrived Thursday at noon, Luke and his grandpa picked me up from the airport, but we didn't get back to the house until about half-two, customs and collecting my baggage took a good hour. Lindsay, Luke's mum, had arranged a nice light lunch with pate and cheeses.

Friday, I just unpacked and that evening went to dinner with Luke, his mum and Ian, grandad, Becki, and Ian's parents Pam and Mick. Just went down to one of the local pubs, The Bowling Green, so I could have a taste of English cusine. I had liver and onions, which were made with lamb's liver. It was good but certainly not as good as my mothers, I think this was partially due to the fact it was lamb's liver and not beef. I had a giggle at the menu when I read about one of the desserts called 'spotted dick' which apparently is a type of sponge cake with raisins in it if I'm not mistaken.

Saturday was a big day as it marked the first match for England in the World Cup. It was a particularly big day in this household as it just so happens England was playing the good ol' U.S.A. I felt very outnumbered being surrounded by England flags everywhere, Lindsay gave me an American flag to wave and I decided to count the dog on my side as an American supporter. Within the first five minutes England had scored a goal and I braced myself for what I assumed was going to be a humiliting defeat. However, America did not disappoint me, as I must confess I'd been predicting for the past two days. They managed to score a goal, but this was only due to the England keeper's, Robert Green, fumble.

After the match, Luke, Becki and I walked down the the cricket club. For those Yanks who have no idea what this means, cricket is a huge summer sport for England of which I'm sure I'll have a countless number of posts on in the coming months. I still don't understand the game, no matter how many times Luke or anyone have tried to explain it to me. Lindsay has told me to not worry about it though, she's English and doesn't understand the 'bloody sport'. The club is just where all the members of the team and their familys go to hang out and watch various sport together and drink, of course. I didn't get teased too badly by the people down there, most of them were too ashamed of England to say anything to me about the tied game. Therefore I was able to leave the club with my head held high knowing my team didn't perform nearly as poorly as they had been expected to.

It's been a lovely couple of days here so far. Whether has been nice, although it has been threatening today and yesterday evening. Still it's warm and I've managed to take the dog on a number of lovely walks in the English countryside. Like I said tomorrow, Tuesday, I'll be heading up to Manchester, which means I get to see Luke's dad's side of the family and get a lovely curry on Curry Mile. I'm quite looking forward to it!

Erin x
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...