To teach my Spanish amigo the cold and wet lands in February, the real England of her language lessons taken in the warmth of Puerto Mazarron, we flew into Manchester to tour Liverpool, Shrewsbury, Gloucester, Bristol, Southampton, Portsmouth and London.
Priority shopping for the girl was a waterproof coat that went to her calves to keep her jeans dry, thick gloves, warm hat and pack her walking boots and double thick socksOur flight was from the new Corvera international airport. Only 30 mins drive away and looked impressive when I’d dropped/collected others there.
Only one over-busy Costa, a WH Smith’s and vast empty halls with roller shutters waiting for franchises to fill them meant no pre-boarding shopping for the bottles of ’43’ and wine that we couldn’t bring with us (Ryan Air carry on bags fare at £20 each meant no check-in luggage – oops).
We arrived an hour early for priority check-in, but it was already being called. To get super quick turn around times they have you on the steps watching the plane fly in
At Manchester we were collected by Blakey and enjoyed his, Kath’s and Fletch’s company for a few days.
Fletch is a trained SADA rescue dog, he’s been lowered by helicopter into people search situations, and has the greatest of nature. Blakey and Kath were minding him while the owner assessed other rescue dogs in South America.
The sun was out for the well wrapped visitor, and stayed out every day until the day after we flew out of U.K.
The trip around Wallasey/Liverpool took in the famous Cavern Club and sea time on the Mersey Ferry (Prisci learnt the phrase “standing there like one of Lewis’s” in one picture)
The evening meal at the Blakemore’s was Kathy’s fish pie, a new favourite for Prisci. We had breakfast at the Merebrook pub and set off for Wales.
Blakey dropped us at my cousin Joan’s in Lloc (near Holywell) and we took a walk with her over the mountains
Prisci had found the Liverpool accent easy to tune into, now had the Welsh of Joan, Howard and my cousins family – Barry and Sian, Robert, Linda and their twin 21 yr old daughters.
From Joan’s we visited Chester, walked the Roman city walls and Cathedral and two tier shops there
I cannot visit Joan without wanting to spend some time on the tools. She had hair tongs that fused her electricsA dishwasher that was jamming and her ride-on-mower had a starting problemI had time to fit two external double sockets to her gardens ready for things for the twins 21st birthday party.
I treated all to lunch at what Howard said was a little eerie. The Pet Cemetery has a great restaurant and good views. It’s different, and shows how much of an animal lover U.K. folk are.
Then we were off on the train to Visit Valerie in Shrewsbury.
The train was announced delayed at Flint, and I gambled on the viewing distance down the straight track being clear enough to pop back over the bridge to the toilet. A convoluted security system for the loo where the guard asks you to go and knock on the door, checking it’s free, back to tell him and then he releases an interlock, took a while. I was mid-stream and I heard the train mid-station! Prisci laughed as I ran over the bridge zipping up and waving at the guard to please open the doors again to an already late train.
In Shrewsbury (actually Ruyton Xi Towns) we enjoyed Valerie’s cooking, wine and meeting her son Peter again. The dining room impressed Prisci
Peter took us to the pub that the highway man Dick Turpin used, and we used the seat that was his favourite moulded into the pubs fireplaceAnother walk in what was warm sunshine still
And then onto Stourport-on-Severn to visit Sally and Martin
The first week was buses and trains, now we had a hire car and a busy week down South.
Overnight in a pub before Bristol and a drive vía Salisbury to PortsmouthWeather still holding out
The next few days were London sightseeing – London Eye, Madame Tussaud’s, Abbey Road, Buckingham Palace ……
Before leaving the area we had a night with Ron at his place in Croydon, a meal out to say thanks for the hospitality and then on the bus to the Croydon/Luton Parkway airport trainLuton airport was a surprise for me, good facilities and easy to get to.
Two weeks after starting out to show Prisci how deserved is the GB moans of being cold and wet (why Spain fills up Nov to April) she decided we’re all fibbers – not a drop of water on her coat and never felt even a draft.