Jackie & Luke's Adventures
Well a few but not all of you may have heard about our horrific but increadably funny journey over here. First of all we go to fly out of Melbourne and after a really well held together send off party (no tears) we were kindly informed by Qantas that we had a three hour delay before take off (we were already through customs and therefore had nothing to do but spend money, eat or be bored). We fly to Singapore, I actually forgot how crowded those damn aeroplane seats are and my knees were cramped the entire way. At Singapore when we left for the second part of our flight we were once again delayed as passangers from another delayed flight had to join ours, so after another 1 hour delay we finally took off. After a very sleepless night (I got 1 & 1/2 hours if that and Luke got maybe 4 hours) we touched down in Heathrow. We arrived at 7:30am our original flight was scheduled to depart at 7:40am to Manchester. Once we cleared customes (yes I got the long que being an Aussie and Luke got the 2 second que, damn poms) we had missed the flight and we re-scheduled to the next flight at 8:40am. Once again another delay and I am beginning to wonder if flying is really the way to go??? We finally depart for Manchester a 9:05am. Upon arrival we go to collect our bags and Lukes name is called over the speaker (they found the drugs!!! - Just kidding- PROBABLY SHOULDN'T JOKE ABOUT THOSE THINGS) here I am thinking great a problem with Lukes bag, well its not just one bag its both our bags, apparently they were left at London even though the chick at British Airways assured us they were on board our flight - nice! So stinky tired and on the verge of delerious we make our way to the most fabulous, posh and nicest hotel in Manchester I am sure - The Palace Hotel (Thanks Ann & Pete), looking like absolute crud and I am sure smelling worse we roll in. They cant check us in until 2pm but they will try to get us in earlier, so we go to the nearest internet cafe and e-mail the parents or relo's in my case as mum and dad STILL DONT HAVE THE INTERNET (hint, hint). We go back down to the hotel and they advise us about 10 minutes later they can check us in (they may have had complaints from other guests in the bar about the smell). So the concierge (I like that word) took our bags and would not let us carry a thing, we got to our room and when he went to open the door it sprang back, so being far too over dedicated to his job he put his head there to stop it, we were begging him to give us the bags, the silly old codger wouldn't let us help him. Then we flaked a bit went for a walk down Cannel Lane (Rainbow lane or the batting for the other side area if you know what I mean) and took in a bit of the city, still smelly and exhausted. At around 4pm we were concerned our bags still had not arrived and we were told they should arrive around lunch or just after, so we spent approx 15 pound and half an hour trying to contact BA before Luke had enough and sought the help of the locals. The girls at reception at the hotel were fantastic offering us all their assistance in contacting BA and being completely understanding. We finally spoke to some-one other than a machine and were told they were en-route and should arrive shortly. They arrived finally at 6:30pm. So I showered while Luke slept and then I had a knock at the door friends we had arranged to catch up with were wating at a cafe across the road and had dropped a note at reception, how very posh. So in a flash were were ready and popped across the road the meet Alex and Little Alex. Two really fantastic, intelligent, fun and welcomming people who I will never forget (Thanks Guys) After a couple of drinks they gave us a guided tour of the nicer area of Manchester and we went to Pizza Express for dinner. Manchester is a beautiful place. The following day we walked miles and miles took in all the city had to offer it was great. What is my perception of Manchester? In daylight its a dirty city however it is a busy city with alot of interesting things to see and do. It seems to be a social hub and definatley looks cleaner at night. Some areas seem a little dodgie so I would check with the locals first to see where is safe. Luke and I took out of our five paths of night travel two creepie ones however with no problems but I dont think I would head into those areas again (go with your gut feelings always). The hotel at Manchester was definatley a highlight and catching up with Alex was wonderful. Would probably be more interesting if we had more time to really search into the history of it all. But something I would like to make all aware of is the area where the IRA bombed I think back in the late 90's is now a thriving social hub, so up your nose to terrorism. So on the Saturady Carly and Andrew Lukes Cousin and her Fiance' picked us us from Manchester but not before one more drama. The safe which all our valuable possesions were securely locked in decided it didn't like us and broke down when we called the reception the night prior the girls said some-one with the machine to re-program it would be in in the morning so when they came in the morning they also could not get it. Eventually a maintenance man had to come with a mallet, chisel and crow bar!!!! How very much our luck. We are currently staying at Luke's Auntie Wendy's & Uncle Johns, with Carly and Andrew for company. They are fantastic. So welcomming and really good people. Wendy is just like Ann (Luke's Mum) they make me laugh. We are in Shewsbury/Telford some other liitle place with a different name, its all so confussing these tiny little areas all have different names. But it is just like a suburb of melbourne however surrounded by vast areas of what they call greenbelts. The government forbids building on these areas even though they are all living ontop of one another because they want to preserve the land and also according to Lukes Uncle Des to force people to re-build or develop derelict areas and abandoned buildings. Interesting, these greenbelts make for beautiful sceenery however very confusing if you are a female as we females, all (beleive it or not) navigate by landmarks, not street names, but streetnames would not do you any good anyway because they all seem intertwined, un-marked and the same, with huge round abouts that are that big you cant even tell they are round abouts, its all mad. Toady we visited more of Luke's family who have all been friendly and ever so generous. We also went to Iron Bridge where Luke's Dad grew up. A very pituresque riverside town, which is cute with is readbrick, cottage style, slate tiled and high pitched roofs with cable ends old fashioned houses and buildings. I am sure it is rich with Heritage, speaking of which the Bridge itself is heritage listed, originally built in 1775 but not completed I think until 1779, it was a demonstration by the local iron workers of their ability and creativity. It was the first iron bridge ever built - apparently. We will be attending Carly and Andrew's wedding on Saturday, we are praying for good weather. On Tuesday we will catch a train down to London where we will be staying at a Travellodge for two nights whilst we explore a little and go to a first contact meeting (they set up bank accounts, give you a mobile phone sim, discount cards, etc...) then on the 17th we will be going to Wimbledon, approx 15 minutes out of London to start work at the Fox and Grapes pub, wher we paln to stay for approx 6 months. From what we have heard, quite a poshy area but apparently where we are in the Common they recommend to be security conscience as a woman was stabbed to death 49 times I think back around 2000 and the crime rate is rather high, so I will be careful but remember the only things that ever make the news are bag things, so keep an open mind. Well I have been typing for an hour and I am w***ed, so good night all, take care, we will e-mail again within the fortnight hopefully next time I will keep it short. Hope you all enjoyed my funny little tail beacuse already it has been an experience.