What I Got Up To During My Stay In Manchester...

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I was asked by my firm if I wanted to attend another course at the Stockport office, to learn more of the advanced work for my job. I agreed to do it, as I was told that I'd get a pay rise once I've done it, and my job title would change as well. 

So last Sunday a lady taxi driver came to my house to pick me up to take me to Heathrow airport. The name of the taxi company made me laugh, as they had the same name as a popular video game called GTA (Grand Theft Auto). I told her that I hoped she did not drive like they do in that game! She laughed and said lots of people said that. She also said some people phone them up making jokes about GTA all the time. The taxi driver was quite friendly and chatty. 

On the way we stopped at a petrol station in Guildford, so she could get some petrol and food. 

She got a bit lost taking us to Heathrow, and accidentally drove into a car park, but we got to the right terminal in the end. 

I did not take much with me, and I managed to fit all my clothes and things into one hand luggage sized bag. 

It was a bit of a hassle at the airport. It took me a while to find the right code number to get my printed flight ticket out of the machine. The code was on an email which the secretary at work had sent me, as she had booked it online for me. 

The security at the airport made me put all my toiletries in a clear bag. Then they confiscated my shaving gel because it was 175ml instead of 100ml's! I was a little annoyed about that, as it was a good quality shaving gel, and they did not pay me back for what they took from me! 

I then had to have my bag, coat, wallet, mobile etc scanned. I even had to take off my shoes and have them scanned too! 

I eventually got to the departure lounge. I had to sit there for ages, as my flight was delayed for about an hour due to the bad weather. I had to call the cab company at the Manchester airport to let them know I would be an hour late for my pick up. They were alright about it. The plane eventually arrived and then took off with me on it. 

I was given some sandwiches and tea once we were up in the air. It was the first time that I've flown at night. It was nice seeing all the street and car lights on the ground below. Once we were above the clouds I could not see anything out of the window, apart from pitch blackness. 

It was a bit of a bumpy landing and it swerved briefly as it touched down. I was very glad to get off the plane. 

I got to the arrivals section at the airport to look for my driver to take me to my hotel, but I could not see anyone holding up my name on a placard. I eventually found a desk for the cabs at the airport. The lady at the desk called for a cab, and waited outside the airport with me until the taxi arrived. 

The taxi took me to my hotel in Cheadle. I checked in and went to my room. It was very nice inside, as I had a huge double bed all to myself. 

I unpacked all my things. I was very tired, so I ordered some Chicken Caesar Salad and red wine to be brought up to my room. The girl that brought my food and wine to my room was very nice, as she was blond and good looking. I gave her a £1 tip, I was hoping to bump into her again at the hotel that week, but I sadly didn't. 

I got a bit tipsy on the red wine and took some stupid looking pictures of myself on my mobile, one of which I sent to my friends saying "Cheers from Cheadle! LOL!" I look really knackered in the picture with baggy eyes. See the picture below. 

Cheers from Cheadle!

Someone at work made this picture out of my mobile photo! 

I got up the next day and I had breakfast in the restaurant at the hotel.

The taxi then came at 8.30am to take me to the office in Stockport. The taxi driver was in a mood at first; as he was suppost to pick up two other people at the hotel who were also from my firm at 8.00am. They did not have the curtsy to call the taxi company to say that they had cancelled the pick up. So the driver lost some of his fare. The taxi driver had to go all round the back streets to avoid the traffic to get me to the office in Stockport. 

I got through the first day of the course ok. 

I had lunch with Emma and Jenny, who I last met at the Stockport office during my time there last year. We had lunch at a nearby pub called The Flying Dutchman. I went there nearly every lunch break during my time there. I had a big plateful of scampi and chips with salad, and a glass of whisky and coke. I also tried a cocktail in the pub called Cheeky Vimto, which was made of Port, Vimto, and WKD Blue. The drink was quite strong, but nice, it made me sleepy when I returned back to work. Jenny was always falling asleep during the course, so maybe it was not just the drinks at lunchtime making us sleepy when we were doing the training. The two girls ate really weird food. They have chips with gravy, and also ate 'barms' which are chip butties with cheese and bake beans inside! Yuck! 

Emma and Jenny were really sweet actually. They bought me loads of drinks and showed me round Stockport and Manchester. Emma's boyfriend gave me a load of free packets of biscuits, as his Dad works for a biscuit factory, which was great. I have attached a picture of Emma and Jenny below. 

Jenny and Emma

Liz came up from the Guildford office too. She was in the same hotel as me from Monday until Thursday. Liz was really stressed during her time up north with me, as she did not feel happy training some new people to take over her job in the Stockport office, which was due to future redundancy. Liz is being made redundant in February. I've got to wait until July next year before I can be made redundant. Liz did not go out with me during her time in Stockport, as she was a bit ill and depressed all the time, which was a shame.

Myself and Liz had dinner together in the hotel a couple of times. The first night we had a meal inside the pub in the hotel. I had a nice cooked meal version of the Ploughman's Lunch, which was different, as it was inside some pastry. The second night we ate was inside the posh restaurant at the hotel. Our meal there was quite expensive, but paid by my firm, so it was alright. 

A few of the taxi drivers I had during the week were a little dodgy. One driver I had (who had a shaved head and was big built) was telling me that in his previous job at a factory, they used to smoke weed at work to keep awake during their night shifts. The same driver also said that during their Xmas parties they all got drunk and had big punch ups, which was to settle any problems they had with each other during the year! 

On Thursday night I went out with Emma, Emma's boyfriend Chris and Jenny from work. I was a bit cheeky, as I used the firm's taxi account to take us to Manchester, Stockport and back to my hotel in Cheadle. The last time I was there I had a driver, so I had to use a taxi this time round to get about. 

During my night out we met in a pub in Stockport, which I think was called St. George. I drank four glasses of whisky and coke and a glass of vodka and coke there. The girls drank loads, and they also had some cocktails. Emma's boyfriend Chris turned up at the pub later on. I liked Chris, as he was a really nice guy.  

After we had our drinks, I called for a taxi to pick us up from the pub in Stockport, to take us to Manchester. 

Our taxi driver was hilarious. This was because he was foreign and a bit deaf, so it took him ages to work out where we wanted to go in Manchester, which was near the Christmas German market. He kept misspelling the name of the street on his satellite navigation system, which was also funny for a while. We told the taxi driver to pick us up again at 10pm.  

Both myself and Emma were dying to use the toilet because of our drinking and the length of time we spent in the taxi.  

We all dashed into a Debenhams store, but we got a bit lost inside there at first, which was funny. At one point we got in a lift, but the alarms went off, as what with Emma, Jenny and other people inside, the lift was too heavy to go up! So we had to get out of the lift and use the moving stairs to get to the right floor for the toilets.  

After that we walked round Manchester. It's a really lovely city and very similar to London. We saw a creepy foreign guy busking, who looked a bit like Rasputin, with a weird grin on his face. He was playing an odd instrument, but you couldn't see his hands playing it, which made us think there was a CD playing out of his speaker. He did turn round for us though, which proved his hands were doing something! Emma gave him 26p. A picture of him is below. 

Creepy busker in Manchester

Adam Turner at work made the busker look like my hippy friend Frog!

We then walked on and saw an outdoor ice rink, which looked really good by the way it was all lit up. I have a picture of it below.

Ice skaters

The German Christmas market was amazing. All the stalls were along the street in little wooden huts. One of the stalls had glowing rocks, which looked very pretty. There were lots of interesting food and drinks. Emma bought a German sausage for her boyfriend Chris. Jenny bought lots of things including many sweets and a wooden toy frog, which made 'ribbet' sound. I bought a load of stuff too, including sweets and a 33% proof bottle of honey flavoured alcohol drink! I got so many things that I could not take it back with me on the plane, so I had to post it back to myself at the Guildford office in a big box, via the firms internal mail, including some paperwork to disguise it! I've attached some pictures taken at the German Christmas market below.

German market stall

Stall selling glowing rocks

More of the glowing rocks

Stall selling hand made German toys

We next went on a big ferris wheel, which was a bit like the London Eye. It was very windy up there, and a bit scary! Chris was scared, as he does not like heights. The following images are the view I had from the wheel.

Ferris wheel in Manchester

Closer to the ferris wheel

The view from on the ferris wheel

Manchester from up high on the wheel

View of a high building from the ferris wheel

Looking down on Manchester

I flew back home on Friday. The security at the Manchester airport thoroughly searched me. The plane was an hour late because of the weather.

When I got off the plane an airport bus picked me up and took me across the airfield. 

The taxi at Heathrow was waiting for me. The driver was holding up my name on a placard, so was easy to find this time round.  

It was raining really heavily on the way back across the M25 motorway.  

I got home just after 8.30pm and I was very tired. I was glad to get back in my own bed again that evening.  

I worked out the cost of my flights, hotel bills and the taxis and it has cost quite a lot for me stay there.  

Manchester is a great city, and the people are a lot friendlier up North than what they are down here in the South. I wish I could swap the population around, so the nice Northerners come down here, and the sulky Southerners go up there.  

Nothing much else to report, accept that I might be going up there again for another course in January!

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