Tag Archives: travel

Lies, Lates and Where is it’s .

We set off at 7.15 am to cover the 15 miles or so to Chester. We’d never been to this particular venue before so I suggested Lady J used her sat-nag. Things did not go well. The Transylvanian voiced minx inside the box was having an off day.
When we go to Chester we start the journey by turning right and heading for the expressway. Ms Dracul asked us to turn left instead and head for the Coast Road.
Much to Julia’s chagrin I suggested she obey instructions as I had no idea which part of Chester the hotel was in. We were due to arrive by 8’am so the ladies could go to the hairdressers.
By 7.40 we had reached a point where the back road into Chester was close and I suggested we prepare, but no, the beguiling voice sent us left onto the motorway. As there is an alternate route into Chester I wasn’t worried until Vladina told Julia to go round the roundabout and take the third exit. Panic set in because there was a new roundabout ahead and the third exit took us onto the main motorway to Manchester. Strange mumblings came from Julia’s mouth as she took the road before I was able to shout “Ignore the wench, she’s playing with you.” We had got a few hundred yards when the voice with a throaty chuckle told us to “Turn round when possible”. We took the next exit( miles away) and out friend directed us back onto the opposite side of the motorway to retrace our steps. It’s now 8.15 and I’m having trouble keeping calm.
Back to where we were the disembodied idiot told us to turn right and approach the roundabout taking the third exit again. I knew it was wrong as I could see the Chester Road close by on the left but by now we were in her thrall. Right it was and the third exit loomed. Hoylake said the sign. We both knew that’s on the Wirral peninsula but we carried on until the fiend said “In one hundred yards you have reached your destination, you have reached your destination.” It was a lay-by near to a huge brick wall which somehow didn’t seem right. Reaching over Julia I gripped the sat-nag with the intention of throwing her out of the window but knowing the litter laws and the fact that police cars can hide behind an autumn leaf I just turned her off and suggested we turn the car round and I’d navigate. Ten minutes later at 8.30 we dew up at the hotel. Within 5 minutes I was esconced in our daughters room as they departed for hair-do’s and nail buffings.

All Wedding days have hiccups, so glad that ours were over I sat on the chaise longue  and nodded off. Soon enough the distractions returned and I headed down to the bar for coffee. It wouldn’t take Julia long to change so she joined me for a cuppa and we laughed about the mornings events until it was time to get dressed. Back in the room the cameras were flashing as each new person appeared in their finery. Without noticing the time arrived for the bridesmaids and Julia to depart. Half an hour later the phone rang to  say our car had arrived.A Rolls Royce no less.
The driver suggested taking a slightly longer route so we could pull up outside the church on the slide Yvonne would alight. We were pulling up  outside the church when there was a lot of frantic waving for us to go round the block again. I saw sheer panic on Yvonne’s face for a moment that Ugo hadn’t turned up bu she knew that couldn’t be the case so rolled down her window. It transpired Ugo was patiently waiting our arrival but his mother journeying from London hadn’t arrived. Back up went the window and e set off to go round the block when Yvonne realised she didn’t have her bouquet. We dashed back to the hotel where I ran ( or limped) inside and shot upstairs shouting ” I couldn’t do it, I changed my mind” at the reception staff. The electronic key wouldn’t work. Back down, key registered and back up again for the flowers. Another dash back to the car to arrive at the church at 3.20 for the 3.00pm marriage. Word came that Mum was on the way so we’d give her till half past then we’d have to start. I used the time wisely, I stood beside the car and had a calming smoke.
At 3.30 we went in. Yvonne on my arm looking a dream. Mum hadn’t arrived but we couldn’t hold the queue up any longer or we”d be having joint weddings with the next couple. Even worse was he Best Man was now missing as he’s gone to find his mother and bring her. The ceremony was just drawing to and end as they appeared. ” Don’t worry Dad” said Yvonne, “It’s  just African time, it’s much more relaxed than ours.”
It transpired that the car she was travelling i got lost and the best man went out to guide them in. For some strange reason they’d taken time to park their car and travel with the best man. Later as we went for the wedding breakfast there were spaces at the table as they’d decided to go and collect the car they’d abandoned. They arrived back just a we were finishing our main course and had to catch up.
The day itself was wonderful. The weather had saved it’s best for us and the wedding party all looked great in their assorted finery.I confess that Julia and I were both glad to change into easy flowing African outfits made for us when the dancing started.

Proud Dad and Beautiful Daughter

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Shhh, It’s a secret !

Sometimes you know it’s going to be one of those days. Things had started well. Yvonne and her boyfriend Ugo had arrived on Friday morning to pick us up for our weekend away. OK, we weren’t going to what might seem to be the most exotic location in the world- Bradford- but ‘Wowcher’ had been generous with the price and the pictures of the hotel looked promising. It’s the first time in years I’ve managed to get Lady J away and with her health issues we needed a family break before seeing the oncologist next week.
Anyway they arrived and we set off. Since Ugo considers eating an Olympic sport and he’s constantly in training we decided to stop off for a late breakfast on the M62 just North of Manchester. Afetr facing a meal with real fortitude it was time to resume the journey. I had been outside having a cigarette when my three amigos came out and we started to head back to the car.
Being on my crutches I’m slower to move off than most but I’d also paid a visit to the service station shop to buy little holiday gifts for everyone.For Ugo I’d chosen a watch. He held back with me as he put it on and the women walked ahead. Ugo had just said to me ” I need to have a word please, you know how much I love Yvonne” when the converstaion was broken up as a car window lowered and someone gestured to us and called out ” Scusi, scusi, una momento por favore.” Ugo, being a kind hearted eating machine thought that directions might be needed and walked over. Less sure of the purpose, I followed behind.
“I am Cosi fan tutti” said the gesturing arm ” I work for D & G in Milano and I over here in Manchester for big conference. I have a watch left over worth foura hundreda pounds, is yours for sixty eh.” The car was parked beneath a notice warning people to be careful of unlicensed traders in the car parks and so Ugo politely declined and the gesturing arm withdrew.
He carried on talking to me as though there had been no interuption. ” Well, I’d like your permission to ask her to marry me.”
I judged it unseemly to kiss him and then cheer so I responded that it was a lovely idea and I approved.
“I’ll ask her tonight at dinner then when I find the best time. Will you look after the ring for me please until I ask for it.” I agreed.
We arrived in Bradford and pulled into the hotel car park just as a police van pulled to a halt sirens blaring outside the wall, next to a bus that didn’t seem to be going anywhere. It didn’t seem to bode well for the stay but we decided to go in anyway. I’m going to be honest and say it wasn’t the most appealing exterior I’d seen. But inside it’s a four star hotel with a five star staff.
We spent the afternoon walking through the local park, round the boating lake, looking at the art exhibition in Cartwright Hall and having a nice coffee. As we walked round we spied out the land and looked for the sister hotel to our own where the evening meals are available. Finding it wasn’t too far away but from the outside just looking like a normal home we decided to risk it and when we got back to our hotel asked them to book us in.

Seven o’clock and two episodes of Big Bang Theory later we’re all ready to go. The taxi arrives and we pile in arriving at the Lister hotel about 10 seconds after we left the Cartwright Hotel. What a difference the inside of the Lister brings. It’s spotless and what seems like a professsaional maitre D leads us to seats. Is Ugo sweating?
We order the drinks and then I nip to the gents closely followed by Ugo who wants to know when is the best time to do the deed. “Perhaps after the main course and before the sweet” I tell him.”I’ll give you the ring then.”
Wonderful starters, tremendous first course and Ugo excuses himself to go to the loo. ” I won’t waste the opportunity” I say and Lady J looks askance at me and suggests I cut down on my drinking as though lime and lemonade has a lot to answer for. I depart , pass Ugo the ring and leave a brief pause before following him back to the table.
We order dessert and somewhere the angels are gawping in disbelief because Lady J has declined.
Ugo turned to Yvonne his heart in his mouth which doesn’t leave much room for his tongue and starts to tell her how much he loves her. His hand reaches for the box holding the ring and Yvonne starts to shake. “Will you do me the honour” he says as Yvonne shakes some more and repeats her new mantra of ” You can’t be asking me that, oh Dear, not now, oh he’s on his knee, get up Ugo” and promptly turns to face the wall covering her mouth with her hand as she cries with what I pray is joy. I grab Yvonne’s free hand and ask her to turn round as everything is alright. Lady J holds the other hand away from Yvonne’s face gently and turning to me says
“You knew and didn’t tell me?”
“That’s what secret means Dear” I answer edging away from the fists.”Come on Yvonne, this is lovely.” Whereupon Yvonne finally turned round and accepted the ring from Ugo with a resounding YES. Sighs of relief from the truly helpful staff who were now able to serve the dessert.
We returned to our hotel where they had heard the good news. The Bradford jungle telegraph seeemingly works even faster than our local Mothers Union. We were even bought a round of drinks which was a great gesture even though my stomach lining may never be the same again.
Today we have made sure BT’s profit for the next quarter is assured, I have been forgiven for not warning everyone of Ugo’s intent and we spent a great time at Skipton Castle and the town market. Yvonne has finally stopped shaking but is walking round with one arm displayed in front of herself so she can see the ring and accidentally prod others to make sure they don’t miss it to.
Tonight three of us had a drink in the bar while Julia rested. We head home tomorrow morning after breakfast. This has been a great experience and will no doubt end up in a book somewhere when I start writing again.
I would like to thank Ruth who took so much time to download information on local activities for us. The young lady at the bar in the Lister Hotel was helpful too. The staff behind the bar at the Cartwright Hotel have also been kind including I’m told Ruth’s better half.
The owner of these two hotels has put a lot of time , effort and capital into creating an understated but perfect atmosphere in both. The comfort and cleanliness is second to none.
If Bradford’s your destination then bear these places in mind.

http://cartwrighthotelbradford.com/

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April Opens.

The first of April dawned as an unexpectedly nice day proving once again that the April fools were the forecasters. Instead of raincoats or possibly skis for the snow we were met with sunshine. No glorious heat except in direct sunlight but enough to bring smiles to the faces of people we saw.

We were expected at Yvonne’s in Chester for lunch. Until yesterday none of us were sure it would go ahead because of the possibility of strikes by the petrol tanker drivers. But just like the unexpected sun, the news that no date had been set gave us cause to smile. Yvonne was going to cook dinner for us after which we might get to look around some shops but yesterday had seen Julia with my arm up my back forcing me to get her a new camera. Because of the sun I suggested we took our camera’s with us this morning and on arriving at Yvonne’s I suggested we eat out and save her having to cook. I’m pretty sure I heard a faint cheer in the background.

Lucky for us Yvonne lives in a very pretty village close to the centre of Chester and it’s a very short walk with plenty of stops on the way. So, every 6 feet I got a breather and a rest while Julia took pictures on the new camera, or being all singing , all dancing, it probably did it on  it’s own. Yvonne took pics on my camera (I love you Fujifilm) some of which I display here in case anyone believes it only ever rains in the UK.

The five minute walk was over in about an hour and a half and we managed to reach a Primark store where I’d promised to help Ju find a warm jacket to wear. I’m sure she has some but since she can’t reach into the full depths of the Narnian wardrobe she can’t immediately lay hands on any, “And anyway” she said, “you always make me buy the suit jacket type and I want a change” as though I’d be listened to if I actually suggested anything. We found a nice jacket, quite suit jacket like, that she loved but I didn’t dare say was impractical in white. The jacket also became a new pair of jeans and some Palazzo pants (?)(don’t ask) a pair of flat shoes and a handbag, because we have to colour co-ordinate.

That five minutes shop lasted long enough for it to be nearly Monday but we managed to leave the store having purchased strong bags for the goodies. Outside the sun was still shining strangely enough and people were still smiling rather than rushing to start a new week’s work. Yep, still Sunday. Now comes the major decision of the day. A pub meal, a shop restaurant/cafe or a pizza parlour.  Well, the ‘No you pick’ argument lasted forever and though a Pizza Parlour doesn’t make a good old traditional Sunday roast that’s where we ended up.

Yvonne chose something that came with a great big hole in the centre badly camouflaged by a bit of rocket. I was stuck with the cheese and tomato ( no way am I goint to try and spell Marguerita because I’m sure there’s an H in there somewhere) and Ju had the same. I took my meds with a large latte while the girls had pop and hiccuped their way through the Hallelujah Chorus. We should have charged for cabaret. Then Yvonne had some kind of dough balls with a chocolate dip as we watched Ju’s face trying to hide an orgasm as she had coffee ice cream ( sorry, Gelato). It was all  I could do to stop her ordering again.

After dropping Yvonne at home we left and came home to Oscar, Penny , Amy and the joys of bedmaking. Following which Ju promptly fell asleep on the couch.

It’s been a grand old day.

On Tuesday evening we have the new scan to see what the state of play currently is. In two weeks we’re having our first weekend away in years. I’ll keep you all posted as to progress as usual.

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