Friday was spent rushing around, packing everything I thought I might need and making a HUGE packed lunch (good call as its turns out – I had enough for the journey home). A friend helpfully points out that a local garage rents out Tom-Tom sat -navs. Sadly I will be 50 miles away before they even open. One for next time maybe. Eventually I manage to get to sleep.
Saturday morning I awake at and have a decent breakfast and check my turnips (Animal Crossing: Wild World). Then I washed, dressed and loaded the car, with more luggage than I normally take on a long weekend. A quick text to Richard Eichmann to wake him up, and I’m off.
The drive to
And he’s been awake for 10 minutes when I arrive.
After a panicked search for his passport (he looks younger than he is, and worries about over-zealous bouncers) we give up and set off.
The bulk of the journey is pretty smooth sailing, if tiring, and we also discover than when you get further west than
We got to
It’s when we exit the M62 and enter the greater
Richard: “We’re looking for a turn off for the
Me: “Errr. We have two exits labelled for the hospital.”
Me: “Neither of then. Oh bugger, let’s stay on this road. What are we looking for next?”
We get directions from a local who was very helpful but seemed incredibly puzzled that we were asking, and eventually find the hotel. And the full car-park.
Minutes away is a bit of waste ground marked as a car park. Except it closes at five. And doesn’t open on Sunday, so I can’t leave it locked in overnight. The owner suggests we leave it in his car park and keep an eye on the long stay by the hotel.
It works out OK in the end, and I get a space.
We spend the next couple of hours chilling, watching some film with Judi Dench and Stephen Fry in, and speculating why the lobby of a
We get tarted up and head for the proposed meeting in the
We get to the
We head off to the Mandarin, and get there as planned for 8. This is probably the most sociable part of the evening and much chat ensues. Although Bex does the rounds the seating plan sort of splits us into two camps, but it’s all good. We are joined soon after by four locals and another
Clubbing is where is sort of goes a bit Pete Tong.
We huddle in the corner and finish our drinks before moving on again.
On the way to G-Bar we are offered pills by some very friendly locals, right there on the street, but they seem OK with our refusals.
We stop for a cash machine, and I finally get to have a chat with Jane. Smart girl, and very nice.
We get to G-Bar and it’s a fiver to get in. We try
I try downstairs with Richard, Chrissy and Beth. There’s much more room, but the music is crap. I get chatted up by a couple of blokes, but I’m not interested. Well I say “chatted up” the second bloke had an impenetrable scouse accent, so he may have been offering me drugs or discussing Proust.
About 2 we find Joanna and Val going home, so walk back with them to the hotel. And meet the hen night also turning in! They’ve had a pretty good night at least.
Sleep is easy but I have to get up at 7.30 to feed the meter. I’m not alone! No idea why I can’t just buy a two day ticket, but there you go.
We get up around and head off. After a crappy Big Mac at Lymm, we hit the motorway. After turning off and heading for Knutsford we miss a turning and are only back on track and hour later. The Dales are trickier this time with fog and rain, and by the time night falls we are only as far as
Overall it was great to see everyone; even if I didn’t get to speak to everybody I wanted too. Nice to put names (and voices) to faces. You’re a lot taller than I expected Bex – must be all those photos with Siobhan!
So in closing – congratulations to Becky on a tricky job (herding cats springs to mind). Next time though, a more anal-retentive approach to researching clubs might be a good idea.
I might be in touch with some of you later in the year if you want to meet up for drinkies in smaller groups.