T-64 Sunday night was a nice night out. Me, Chris and James took a walk into Urmston town centre to meet up with Michael and Lucy. The night was spent taking the piss out of each other, the rest of the family and pretty much everything as we had a few social beers and a good chat. As it was Sunday the pub shut at 10.30pm, which was probably about right as we all got a chance to buy a round before we said goodbye to Mikie and Lucy and came back to Chris' house.
T-63 – 9 weeks to go and another Monday morning. I woke up early and had already decided I needed to get out and have a run. I haven’t run this year yet as I have been walking silly distances around USA and had the shin injury for the last few weeks, so I wanted to have a good week or two rest before I started to run. I wanted to go out, see how I felt and maybe do a 3 miler or so, with the aim to try and get some 10 minute miles under my belt in a week or two. But as I ran with my new phone with a mapmyrun application running I was happy to see that I was already doing 9 minute miles. I visited a few old haunts – Running past some old friends houses, the school where we used to play football, past my Aunty Brenda’s house, my old primary school and most of my old newspaper round, before passing the house we used to live in as kids and finally my old secondary school too. I was really surprised to see that I had done 5.1 miles in around 45 minutes. Much better than I could have hoped and proving that walking a good distance every day really does keep you fit!
|By the sea..|
|One of the 100 stone statues|
|A close up|
After a good warm down and a quick clean up I decided to get out again. It was a lovely sunny morning as I ran with the remains of a frost on the ground, so I had decided to get the train towards Liverpool and Crosby. On the beach there is a really unusual art installation – 100 full size human statues spread out over 3kilometres of beach all standing in a pose, facing the incoming sea. Some are half buried in the sand and others get swamped by the seawater as it comes in and as I passed were half submerged in the water. The ones that are far back are still very recognisable, but the ones that get covered in water are really eerie as they are covered in barnacles and the faces resemble some kind of sea monster. Its a really interesting hour or so walk along the wide beach and I really enjoyed the sunny weather, even though there was a biting cold wind. The sea was also coming in at an alarming rate – probably a couple of feet for every wave that came in and I had to make my way inland to stop getting wet feet – I was also glad that I bought gortex waterproof shoes when I was in San Francisco!
The evening was a quiet one – a bit of TV and a good dinner or pork, pea and rice.
62 days left in UK and Tuesday morning was a wrote off as I had a well deserved lie in till 11am. I then got the number 15 bus into town and met up with Jennifer Parsonage, from the Oz-bus trip. I hadn’t seen her since last March in Melbourne and it was nice to catch up – she actually arrived a little late after finding half mangled cat on her way into town and calling the council to let them know about it, but I didn’t mind and we warmed up with a coffee before spending an hour or so wandering around central Manchester and seeing a couple of the sights like the big wheel and Urbis before going back to the Coffee shop to warm up again. Then after a cup of tea we said good bye and I got the bus back home to get ready for the football tonight.
|Me and one of them|
|Our old house|
After Chris got home we got our warm kit on and went back out. 1st stop was the Melville Pub for a quick drink and then we were off again, stopping to pick up a pie and a chip barm (a northern chip butty) before eating as we walked closer to Old Trafford. Our final stop was Chester’s pub, a few hundred yards short of the ground for one final drink before we rounded the corner into Warwick Road (Renamed Sir Matt Busby Way a few years ago but always Warwick Road from when I was a kid) and joined the massive crowd slowly heading towards The Theatre Of Dreams. A quick photo outside and lucky stroke of a Police Horse and we rounded to the rear of et ground and The Stretford End, where we passed through the turnstile and into the hallowed ground. As usual the first view of the green green grass was immense and I couldn’t help but smile as we found out seats and waved across to Aunties Catherine and Eleanor from their seats.
|Me and Jennifer Parsonage in town|
|Inside Old Trafford - 'The Theatre of Dreams'|
The game wasn’t the most exciting but we enjoyed it as we beat Stoke 2-0 and also at the same time Man City were beaten away at Everton. The crowd left very happy, now that United are level on points with the 'Noisy Neighbours' at the top of the league. I haven’t been to a game since March 2007, so I was really happy to get back to Old Trafford for the 1st time in 5 years. Hopefully the next time I will get there for a game will be just 3 weeks away and not another 5 years!
T-61 and I was headed back to Northampton. I had a hire car booked for the next week, so went back into town to pick it up. It wasn’t a problem getting the car and just an hour later I was on the way back to Chris' house, stopping on the way for a quick jump shot outside Old Trafford. I picked up James form Chris' and when we went to get in the car we realised that the remote control for the central locking didn’t work. It wasn’t a problem as we can use the key to open the doors, but the alarm started to sound when we opened the boot. James had the idea to put the key in the ignition to stop the alarm but as he did so he turned the engine on and the car lurched forward as I had left it in gear. Luckily, I had also left the hand brake on, so the car stopped a few inches short of the gate post!! Phew.
Back in Northampton we had a really quiet evening before bed and the only thing I did on the Thursday was a 4 mile run around the local area before spending the rest of the day at home with Tracey.
Friday was a bit of a mare. I had tried to log onto my Savings account online, but the memorable information didn’t work, so I spent ages on the phone to Halifax failing the outrageous security questions – Do you know the date you started your bank account or the exact amount transferred into it when you opened it!? Me neither!! After finally getting sorted on the second phone call, I decided I needed a change so I spent 40 minutes in the building society in town, getting a cheque for all my savings which I then paid into my other savings account in a different building society – Halifax can go suck my arse!!
|Me and me orange hat!|
|The alarming hire car|
I had promised a lift to Heathrow for a flight later on, so we headed out at Friday rush hour towards London – but surprisingly the roads were really quiet and we made it to Heathrow and back before 8pm – an easy ride there and back. Its now Friday evening and the start of another weekend. Its going to be a lot of South Park, Football and lazing about. I have decided the next couple of weeks will be a run now and then and generally taking a holiday from my holiday from travelling... if you know what I mean!!