This was it – I was flying home to the UK for good! May the 4th was the day that Laura and I were returning and as we sat in the departure lounge of Charles de Gaulle airport waiting for our flight to board, our conversation topic turned, as it so often does, to talk of accents. I’d previously warned Laura about the Scouse accent “It’s like nothing you’ve ever heard before. Lots of hard consonants and it can move very fast.” Even I can’t understand some of the Scouse that comes out of places like Kenny. It was in this departure lounge where the first sentences in Scouse were heard. To me, sweet music to the soul. To Laura, a virtual feast of language – the look on her face was priceless as she turned to me and pointed, whispering “You really weren’t kidding!”
Arriving back on British soil, we went swiftly to bed as the long day of travelling had really taken it out of us. I had a mental list of all the things we needed to visit but not much of an actual plan so I lay there organising a mental calendar of what we would do when. Yet the best laid plans of mice and men…*
I’d forgotten how much I loved Liverpool wouldn’t be correct. I suppose I was just so glad to be back and I realised just how much I’ve missed Liverpool. I was as giddy as a school boy to go and see all the buildings and the places to eat and drink that I loved. We headed into town to meet up with Luke, then had a look around at some of the university campus (which I had forgotten how much I loved) and then down through Bold Street to see the Three Graces on the waterfront. There’s the Liver building, the Cunard building and I can never for the life of me remember what the third building is for or what it is called.
Over the few days we were in Liverpool, we packed our time with good food, better Italian food, real ales, coffee, a little bit of shopping, the Tate (which you must visit if you haven’t been recently) and Katie’s Gods and Goddesses fancy dress party.
Now, I had had it in my mind to go as Hermes, you know they one: winged boots, funny stick with snakes entwined around it, the messenger of the gods, and Laura had settled on Athena (something to do with owls, olive trees, a huge spear and shield and being the goddess of wisdom). Shopping for such props is a lot harder than I had thought. I mean, what kind of shop has winged footwear lying around? This got us thinking and then eventually we settled on a new costumed duo: George Bush – God of War and his sidekick Osama bin Laden. One Texan hat, stars and stripes bow tie, and a vaguely Arabic looking false beard later, we were set. Observe the results:
Along to all this excitement was the added bonus that was the general election. It was my first time voting, and as such a politics junkie, Laura loved it all. Shame about the gutless and spineless citizens who didn’t vote for the Lib Dems and it is now clear that those from the South are incapable of making the correct decision when it comes to not voting Tory. I blame the south of England for our current political uncertainty. (Yet another reason why the north is better).
James popped over for the day and we spent lots of time theorising over just how many rich, public school educated, snobbish, smarmy faced inbreds Tories there were in the country and how many seats they’d win. We stayed up for as long as we could but as a result of the public’s indecisiveness we had to go to bed and wait for the results in the morning… oh what joy.
Laura had never visited the principality, and also had never seen a real castle (!) so I decided that it would be a great idea for us to take a day trip to Conwy Castle in north Wales. Along for the ride were Luke and Paul and the day looked set to be a good one, then I got in the car to drive for the first time in over a year and had a few crazy moments (awful parking, almost running a red light, going the wrong way up a one way street etc.) Thankfully these little problems were ironed out pretty quickly but it was still a little bit of a mission.
As we were driving along the coast, we were able to see the sea which was quite a nice change from having been so far into mainland Europe for so long. I like to know that the sea is somewhere close if ever I need it.
The castle was pretty fun, even if Paul and Luke did scorn my historical commentary. Conwy was really windy that day though and when we went down to the waterfront to see the smallest house in Britain (which is a bit of an anti-climax if we’re all perfectly honest) we were frozen to the bone so we ran to the nearest café and warmed up.
On our drive back, we decided to go through Llandudo and then to drive up the Great Orm. We thought that Conwy was windy, it was nowt compared to the summit of the Orm. Sheesh. While Luke and Laura ran about taking photos and admiring the fantastic view, Paul and I did the sensible thing and ran back to the car to turn on the hot air. Win.
Coming next: The Travels II – The Drive North
*Yes, they really do gang aft a glee. It’s uncanny.