We’d been in the UK all of about 30 minutes when the wisdom of a couple of pre-trip decisions became evident.
Firstly, it’s fair to say that the length of travel took its toll. Moggy was feeling sick before we left Melbourne, Elby crashed towards the end of the long leg to Dubai, and Mollie was feeling ordinary as we crossed the Black Sea. So it’s fair to say that, by the time we touched down in Manchester, our decision to book a motel near the airport rather than immediately catch a train north looked like a ripper. I reckon I’d have had a mutiny on my hands if we had to go further today!
Secondly, and predictably, a couple of our main bags failed to make the connection between Dubai and Manchester. They are still finding their way to us and we are assured that we will have them back later this evening. So again, we’re patting ourselves on the back for having the foresight to carry a few items of each other’s clothing. Thankfully, the bags that arrived with us contained sufficient reserves for us all to shower and change into fresh clothing.
In fact, I could almost sneak a third success story into the pre-trip planning regime. We were concerned about occupying ourselves during a 7 hour stop-over at Tullamarine yesterday, so after some research we booked a room at the Park Royal on a daytime hourly rate (which an un-named associate assured me is a spin-off from continuance of the oldest commercial transactions. He may know these things; I couldn’t possibly comment). Anyway, it turned out to be a fine idea. We all had a swim. The girls lazed in the room while Mog and I sat in the bar for lunch and watched the VFL football on the big screen. Then we all got to have a shower before the long flight. I commend the place to anyone with a long stopover in Melbourne.
So we’re now parked up at the airport motel in Manchester, feeling clean, hungry and very tired. Room service is one its way and I can see most of the team being asleep before 6pm local time.
We have a casual start tomorrow, a quick stroll along the “Skywalk” to the airport train station for an 11am departure to Darlington - so, hopefully plenty of rest will be garnered. While on the subject of trains, I’ve had nothing but ease and assistance in dealing with thetrainline.co.uk in booking and purchasing train tickets for our journey. This afternoon I wandered over to the train station and, following a couple of simple instructions, printed out tickets I had booked and paid for 2 months ago.
One final observation on arriving in Manchester on a showery afternoon of 11 degrees Celsius: Manchester airport looks for all the world like Tullamarine, and the weather was so Melbourne like, that we wondered if we hadn’t spent a very long time in planes to wind up exactly where we started. I’ll include a picture from the hotel window.
So, more in the next few days from “oop north”.
I hope those bags arrive soon. My eyelids are getting VERY heavy. As I type I can hear the slightly snorky breathing of sleep - and my watch says 4.50pm!