“Let’s go to the swim show” said Victoria. This was well before Christmas. She then reminded us in the New Year. Tickets and hotels were booked well in advance to secure cheap seats. It as a bargain. £40 return each and with booked seats. Ali, Miche, Victoria and I were travelling from London. Emma would join us for the evening in Manchester.
We agreed to travel on the 9am train from Euston to Manchester. The journey takes just over two hours. Victoria had booked her seat separately and had announced she would have to be boring and work on the way up. So she decided to sit on the seat she had booked in the quiet carriage. How was she to know that the train before would be cancelled and she would be sharing with a load of football fans who were already partaking of a beer or two.
Ali, Miche and I had a table and were sharing with a young lady who appeared terrified for the whole journey. It was on this journey that I first learned of the game “cards against humanity”. I have yet to play but I have been promised a game when we go on an extended tour later in the year. “ Not entirely appropriate for a train journey” Miche informed me.
We arrived in Manchester a little later than planned. I asked a policeman for directions to the hotel. He was not sure so we headed hesitantly in the direction we thought best. Victoria took charge noting shops of interest on the way.
We paid an extra tenner for an early check in and shoved the bags in a room and hailed a cab to Event City – the venue of the swim show.
Excited and with our spending heads on, we entered the show in a state of anticipation. And what a let down it turned out to be. The type of show was obviously dependent upon the type of magazine that one read. Well that would be a sports magazine as there was not a model, a kitchen an ideal home in sight! That would also be a sports magazine of limited range as neither was there football rugby or any team sport for that matter. It may have been better named a Tri show. Which it undoubtedly was if you read 220 to Triathletes world. However if you subscribed to Cycling Weekly it would no doubt have been called the “Bike show”.
We were underwhelmed. Spending opportunities were limited to around 10 stalls (at least for swimming) But there were some good photo opportunities. Not least this famous swimmer who Victoria nearly missed as she was rummaging through a bargain bucket. I cannot for the life of memember his name. But Victoria was clearly pleased not to have missed him.
With disappointment rife we decided there was only one thing for it. We headed to the bar. Fancy having Gin for sale and no tonic. Having lost the will to live the order was changed to beers and cider. I am not sure where the stall holder went in search but she is still MIA. (missing in action – although to be fair that may be overstating it. There was no sign of action. Rather she was M)
A few beers later we decided to head back to Manchester to the pub. Victoria closed her eyes and made various gesticulations as we passed the Manchester football ground.
Not one to miss a photo op though and I am sure you will agree that they are. Although for a moment we thought we were now at the car show!
(Please click on the image to see it the right way round – If you dare!)
And so to the pub we headed. A few more beers were ordered and at long last a G&T. All a tipsy by now we were surprised that Victoria had spotted in the aforementioned shop a Manchester snow globe. This she intended to add to her not inconsiderable collection of globes from around the world. No point buying them as a gift. They only get to be added to the collection if it is a place she has visited herself.
She sent off to the station in good time so she could make her purchase. It later transpired that she need not have bothered as her train was delayed. For ages! She text us to say she had not bought the snow globe as it was £14.99 and she could not quite bring herself to pay that.
We went back to freshen up and wait the arrival of Emma. She joined us and we went for a quiet and memorable dinner at Pizza Express. Not that memorable as it turns out. Having not drunk for weeks, the 4 ciders and 3 gins had resulted in my being a tad forgetful. And a wonderer. Still it was great to meet Emma who had not only turned up but she had me a gift. A beautiful hand knit purple jumper. I love it and have hardly taken it off since! Thank you Emma. It is great and a most excellent fit.
I went MIA myself after walking Emma back to the car park. Ali and Miche had called me but my phone although by the side of my head as I lay asleep on my bed, remained unanswered. Not so much missing then as sleeping it off.
The next morning Ali Miche and I went for breakfast and then went for a wonder around Manchester in search of snow globes. Most places were closed but we stumbled upon a brilliant junk shop. It appeared to be the front for a large collection of vintage porn which was stored at the back!
Back on the train to London and the uneventful journeys became highly eventful in the face of weekend train works!
A good trip out and we all agreed we needed to do it again!