Remember the 90s when Manchester became the capital of the world. I was so proud to only live an hour away, home of the Happy Mondays, Afflecks palace and more. I luxuriated in josticks and garish huddies, o such happy days, nostalgia beckoned. I decided to take the boys up there, partly with the intention of seeing my Dad, but that s another story.
Things got off to a flying start when we arrived at Euston, only to find that we had been sold the wrong ticket, I was raging, the queue at the ticket office was long, patience has never been my strong point, much less so following the arrival of the boys. After considerable deliberation we decided to get a later train, which obviously meant a later arrival. In the meantime we ate our combined bodyweight’s worth of food at Nandos.
Once we arrived, older boy became our tour guide. Despite my six month spell of working in Manchester twenty years ago, older boy in fact knows the City far better than me, due to numerous football excursions with his Dad. Indeed he delighted in showing me the various sites and in navigating the tram system. I was suitably impressed and proud. Despite the changes, I felt very at home in Manchester and the abundance of brightly coloured hair gave me the impression that Manchester is my type of place.
Nothing comes without its issues, following on from the train ticket issue, our next problem was the boys’ unsuprising inability to be quiet. I was suitably mortified when the security guard hammered on the door of our room because the boys were making too much noise. Once he had gone, all older boy had to is “well what’s he going to do about it”. I fear this line could be used in negotiations with teachers and bosses in the future. Indeed I hope this a line which has been saved just for me.
After a full, tiring day out, about 100 yards from the hotel older boy declared that he was desperate for the toilet. He couldn’t possibly wait and needed to take the room key and go ahead. In the meantime, me and younger boy made our way back to the room, this had taken us a good few minutes and I was appropriately concerned when older boy wasn’t in the room on our return. Indeed he was nowhere to be seen and I started to imagine worst case scenarios. On the one hand it was therefore lucky when he turned up a couple of minutes later, but he appeared to have been caught in what can only be described as a mysterious poonami. Older boy claimed that when he flushed the toilet, all this poo just came out of nowhere, I wanted to believe him but couldn’t help being a bit sceptical. I did the usual Motherly business of disposing of the clothes which were no longer fit for the wash even and insisting on a shower, older boy was surprisingly willing given his usual cavalier attitude towards personal hygiene. I suppose you could say that we leave our mark everywhere we go.
The following day both boys wanted to visit football stadiums and had the childlike, ambitious belief that we could fit in visits to Old Trafford, Burnley FC and the Etihad stadium. Obviously this wasn’t possible and in the end we typically ending up agreeing on a visit to Burnley, even though it was the furthest distance away of the three stadiums. After a 54 minute train journey we arrived at Burnley and predictably after a considerable walk, whereby older boy showed off his satnav skills again, the stadium was closed and all the boys could do was stand outside it. Still, they had seen the only wooden stadium in the UK. It was time to do an about turn and head back to London.
Madchester indeed, our time there made me realise how much I have missed you and I hope to return soon.