A Weekend Up North

Saturday, 30 July 2011
Another weekend spent away, this time it was in Manchester to visit Luke's dad and his family, and finally get around to celebrating our marriage. We left a few hours after Luke finished work, hoping to escape some of the horrendous Friday night traffic. While the traffic was better than usual, it was still awful (M5 and M6 are never fun, especially on a Friday after work). It didn't help matters that our sat nav was going absolutely bonkers trying to take us who knows where. At the very end of the journey, by some sort of miracle, it finally told the truth - but by this time Luke was taking no notice of it and we ended up in West Manchester, the exact opposite of where we needed to be. This added nearly another hour to our already tiring journey. So it was three and a quarter hours before we finally made it to the hotel where Luke's dad had put us up for the weekend. I thought I'd crash as soon as my head hit the pillow, but it was a restless night, probably made so by Luke deciding to watch what appeared to be some thriller with Matthew McConaughey and Al Pacino.

Raspberry and Bits.
I felt much better the next morning. After a full-English at the hotel and a quick gym and sauna session, we met up with his dad, Lesley, and Luke's half-sister, Georgia. They took us to a delightful pub for lunch called The Cross Keys in a town they are thinking of moving to, called Uppermill. It was in Uppermill that I learned a new English phrase, which is becoming increasingly irregular. This happened at an ice cream van when Georgia asked if she could have one with 'raspberry 'n bits', which I found out just means raspberry sauce and sprinkles (or 100s and 1000s as they're called here). I don't know why they don't just call them sprinkles instead of inventing multiple ambiguous terms for the same thing! I have since asked around with people back down South, and have concluded that 'raspberry 'n bits' is most likely just a Northern thing. Whatever you'd like to call it, it was my first time having it, and it was lovely. I also had mine in an 'oyster' which is not in fact a mollusk but a type of cone shaped like an oyster, but then covered in chocolate, coconut, and the inside filled with marshmallow. Never have I found ordering ice cream to be so complicated.

Georgia, Luke, & Dougie

That night, with Georgia left in the care of Lesley's parents, we went for a very nice meal out at Albert's Shed in Castlefield, a neighbourhood of Manchester. We were joined by Luke's grandparents (Malcom and Charlotte), Uncle Gary, Aunt Julie, Julie's husband (Dave), and their two kids (Sam and Sophie). It truly was a spectacular meal, I had rabbit gnocchi for my starter and venison with a port/blackberry jus as my main. After dinner, we made our way to a pub just around the corner that had been there since the Victorian era. It still had little buzzers, which didn't work of course, to call staff to your table. I don't know why they don't do that any more, but I suppose they would be misused by some drunkards. 

Throughout our time at the pub, a group of about six or seven kept staring at us and would not look away. I met a couple of their stares hoping in embarrassment they would look away, this did not work as they continued staring. The last straw was when  Julie, Dave, and the kids had to leave to catch the last train home. They begin mocking our conversation, imitating our voices. One continued to stare by this time I'd absolutely had it. I asked him if I could possibly help him with something. To which a look of shock dawned on his face as if he'd only just realised that yes in fact I could see him. "No, probably not," was his only reply. "Then wind your neck in." Within two minutes, their party had left and I felt a little vindicated for being made to feel like a zoo animal for an hour.

The next day was an absolutely lovely day. Whether in England can be a little temperamental, but on days like last Sunday you remember why it is you put up with it. The sky was a clear forget-me-not blue and the sun was warm enough to warm you but not unbearable. To make the most of it, Luke and I took Georgia and her little friend, along with Louie (the dog), Luke's dad (Dougie) and Lesley on a walk around the old railroad track. I of course, expected this walk to have as the location implies an old railroad track, it did not. Apparently the track was removed long before Luke's or my time, to make way for a public footpath, which are another thing I love about England. The day ended sunning in the garden with a beer and a sausage sandwich before Luke and I made our way back down South. The perfect end, to a lovely weekend up North.

Remembering Norway.
22 July 2011

Erin x


  1. Hillary said...:

    HI! I found your blog on Expat blog. I'm moving to Nottingham England in a couple of weeks with my husband who is playing for the local team. I'll have to catch up on all of your posts for sure!! Feel free to stop by my blog any time if you ever need another American friend living in England :o)

    Following a Fox:

  1. Erin said...:

    Thanks Hilary! I'm glad you enjoy my blog and that you were able to find me. :) I've not been to Nottingham, but I hope you find it as amazing as the rest of the country! I'll have to check out your blog. Best of luck!

    Erin x

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