I awoke with a start in my Istanbul hotel room half an hour after my alarm went off – I was too tired to hear it. The shower idea was scrapped as I hurried to get myself and my luggage respectable and downstairs in time for the 5.15am airport transfer. Dad was a bit more organised. So much for me giving him a knock on the door to make sure he was awake.
During the wait for our 8am flight we cleared out our remaining Turkish coins. Mundane fact: bottle of water from the food outlet 2.50 TL; bottle of water from the dispensing machine 1 TL.
I surprised myself by staying awake for the whole flight which was long enough for me to watch almost two movies. Not sure Mike would support getting out the dvd for the romantic comedy that I could not finish due to the rude interruption of landing in Manchester. The breakfast options weren’t great (though on the whole I thought Turkish Airlines were pretty good) so I was starving by the time we touched down.
And even more hungry by the time we made it through all the immigration queuing. I had also acquired a meaty headache on the flight and did my best not to look suspicious under the gaze of immigration officials as I shuffled around in discomfort.
Mum was meeting us at the airport and she turned up not long after we did, which was well timed since dad and I were about an hour later than expected. The English weather was at that stage dry but cold. Though rain was out there lurking.
From the airport we picked up the rental car that we would use for the next 17 days. The woman at the counter did an upgrade job on us and I’m not convinced we made the right decision, but for a small additional amount each day we got a Mercedes sedan. Automatic and diesel. Neither of these are my normal preference, and while I am doing the bulk of the driving, if mum and dad get behind the wheel an automatic is what they now drive back at home, and the lady said that diesel was so much more efficient and we should in theory need to fill up less often. OK then.
After more paperwork and a lengthy wait for the car to turn up, and after solving a couple of mysteries (where does the GPS plug into? how does the handbrake work? how do we get out of this &*$! carpark?) we were finally on our way. Albeit not very far.
We were staying just out of Manchester in a nice, traditional b&b in Eccles. Mum chose this because a Coronation Street scene was filmed there. At this point it probably goes without saying that mum rather likes Coronation St.
Dad on the other hand was not keen to stay in such close proximity to where Coronation St is made. But, Manchester happens to be the city in which his grandmother was born. So he could cope with being there one night.
The rest of the afternoon was mostly relaxing at the b&b, though I did venture out to satisfy my fix for chocolate and an energy drink. The weather also relaxed and decided to get a bit rubbish.
We ventured out for dinner locally, to an Italian restaurant. Being there was a mix of entertainment and feeling uncomfortable as our waitress, who we thought was lovely, got repeated bollockings from the proprietor, a gruff elderly Italian man who sat in the corner.
In the remaining daylight we went in search of the house where dad’s grandmother was born. This was only partially successful.
The next morning it was still actively damp. I suppose we had to strike ‘English weather’ sooner or later. We could afford an hour or two in Manchester before heading south. Off we zoomed, in noisy diesel fashion, to The Quays where we roamed around in the car until things of interest popped up.
And that was it! I’m sure Manchester has more to offer but again, that was our schedule.
Onward to Bath!