This weekend I had arranged to venture to the North West of England to visit my parents and to see my brother David.  It all started Friday 14 January boarding the 13:00 service to Manchester Piccadilly.  The weather in London was drab, spitting with rain and the skies that murky grey overcast colour.   So I had another reason to enjoy my trip north, in addition to being excited about seeing my parents after not seeing them for close to 9 months now.

The journey up on the train was pleasant; the train was not rammed like it would have been during the Christmas period.  The train pulled into Piccadilly just after 3pm with my brother meeting me at the station.  Off we went dumping my bags at his flat before heading out for a well deserved pint or two.  It was one of his friend’s birthdays over the weekend, so it was more than a few drinks.  Wasn’t the wisest of ideas having only consumed 2 pieces of toast and a cup of tea all day!

The drinking session finished around 7:30pm.  I couldn’t believe how tipsy I felt at such an earlier hour.  Dinner was from Subways….a foot long cheese steak with salad on Italian herb baguette.  My, my, I haven’t been to a Subway since the uni years, so I enjoyed it.  Rest of the evening was spent with my brother catching up on all the events and relaxing in his flat in the city centre.  He is so lucky to live in the thick of it, to have the same thing in London would be ridiculous!

Saturday I departed for the next leg of my trip to my father’s house.  Another train ride away, and just as we exited the train I could see him driving into the station with the grill on his S-Type Jag sparkling in the afternoon sun.  I do love it, it reminds me of Inspector Morse’s car as it’s the same colour and has a similar classic look.

To my dad’s house we went.  So much had changed since my last visit, the most noticeable thing being the Pagoda that my dad has spent considerable time designing and building in the garden.  I had forgotten how big the garden is, and the great times I had when I was a little boy playing with my brothers in the back garden.  I still remember my birthday party in the garden when I must have been 6 or 7 years of age.  Hahaha, it took me years to stop telling the sleeping policemen joke my brother David told me on that fateful day.  Anyways, I digress.

Saturday afternoon was spent catching up with my father over several cups of tea, coffee and biscuits.  Talking on a whole host of things ranging from business, to life, to plans for the future and the such like.  It was great to see him after such a long period of time, and hope one day he will decide to come down to London and visit.  David and I learn’t about my step mothers forth coming trip to China and her intentions to travel around the UK with her daughter and mother when she returns.  We had dinner before heading to my mum’s house.

Arriving at my mum’s house, Corky, their dog was only to eager to greet us as we walked through the front door.  The living room has recently been redecorated with the chimney breast repainted from a deep red wine colour to a mid shade green which really looked nice with the fire on, and offset the dark wooden mantle piece of delightfully.

A big hug for my mum, and the tea, coffee and cake came out.  She has recently been getting into baking and knitting again, both of which she is excellent at.  She has chocolate cake with Terry’s chocolate topping on the top in a rich chocolate fondant, yum yum.  Then there was the walnut and date cake, which was also delicious too (which I tried on Monday evening, with yet another cup of tea).  There was me talking on and on about this and that, how things are going in London for me and to put my mum’s mind at ease that yes, I am settling down in London and that all is well now that I am single, and have been for a while now (hopefully that will change in the near future – but I want to find Mr Right!)

Later that evening the Glenfiddich came out, one of my favourite tipples when in the north of the country.  The rest of the evening was spent playing with Corkie, seeing the different outfits and jumpers that my mum has been knitting, and I have to admit, I was jealous – Eric, my brother David and her have an array of jumpers that have been knitted by her creative hands.  Well time to lose weight and put my order in for jumpers and cardigans to be knitted for autumn/winter this year.

Sunday morning woke for a lazy day.  Coffee and tea on tap…. I would expect nothing less – I mean it’s a northerners past time! Lol.  My mum was cooking a lovely Sunday dinner, roast pork with homemade gravy, roast potatoes, Brussel sprouts and an array of other vegetables.  The red wine, Oyster Bay that I had brought with me went nicely with the meal.  Felt like the good old days having dinner with my family, just a shame my eldest brother Paul wasn’t able to make it.  But alas, I will catch him next time I am north bound!

That afternoon David returned back to Manchester and then it was just the 4 of us, my mum, my step father, me and Corky.  Corky is a great sport!  Always running around, wanting to play, wanting to be cuddled and fed… when you eat he wants to eat – you have an apple, he’s going ‘wheres mine?’ (well that’s what I interpret from the way he looks at you, those eyes saying…pls…pls… give me!)  It was great relaxing.

Monday was the day to look around the town centre which I used to frequent with my parents for all those 18+ years I had been there.  It felt weird, everything looked so small – I remember it being a lot bigger, however, I think my perception has changed since moving to London.  Dinner was braising steak, potatoes and vegetables and lovely onion gravy.

Tuesday the day of my return to London, we headed to Liverpool for me to get the train.  Off to Waterstone’s and coffee at Costa Coffee we went.  It’s the third time I have been there and been leaving for London, saying my good bye’s there, rather than at the train station.  I have to admit, I hate saying good bye’s, that’s why I tend to avoid them when I can.  So a big hug for my mum and London bound on the train.

Thanks bro, thanks mum, dad, Eric and Corky for making my time spent up in the north so special.  Love to you all and see you soon.  I will miss you so very much.

BENJAMIN

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