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"|
|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.