Tuesday, 25 January 2005

Weekend Away

Quite a busy week. Managed to survive the week without taking any more time sick, but still have an awesome cough.

Went up to visit my mother at the weekend, all the way up to Liverpool. Long journey up on Friday evening, but we escaped traffic so weren't really held up, as such - its just that she lives 350km away so it was always going to take some time. Drove on the new M6 Toll road for the first time, not that we particularly needed to since it was past 9pm, but it was very good. Almost like driving in France! Stopped at the Service Station there just after 10pm, to find that the Wimpy had just closed. So we ate the "house" food, which was very expensive. Arrived in Liverpool between 11:30 and midnight, after just over 4 hours on the road, and went straight to bed.

For my mum's christmas present, I'd bought some stuff for her computer. She's not overly computer literate, and as well as installing this new kit I set about downloading all the available service packs etc. Over a 56k modem.... So, with one thing and another this computer was basically on the phone all day getting patches. Very agonising, since it was probably only about 50-60MB overall. Makes me appreciate broadband that much more!

Saturday we didn't get up to much. Alice and my mum were "bonding" (for some reason Alice loves it up there). In the afternoon we went to visit my dad, and I showed Alice (a) where I lived when I was a boy, and (b) where I went to school. Quite funny, because as we drew up outside my childhood home we saw our old next-door neighbour, so knocked on her door and said hello. We left that house in 1985, so it is twenty years since I saw her. She's now 84 years old, and doing very well for herself.

On the way back to the "new" house, I drove Alice to Liverpool Airport, so she could see a plane taking off. As luck would have it, we pulled up by the terminal and tere was a plane, taking off. So Alice was happy...
Saturday evening Jacqueline and I went to the cinema to watch The Aviator. We looked at what was on (on a rare night of freedom), and really this film seemed to be the best of a bad bunch. As it happened, Jacqueline did quite like it, but it wasn't my cup of tea at all. Also, we went to a local cinema which, although a member of the Odeon group, looked like it hadn't changed since I had last been there, over 20 years ago. The decor was very shoddy, and they wanted £1.80 for a 500ml bottle of water. Not only this, but they had a "doors open" policy, and obliged everyone to stand outside the cinema until ten minutes before the film was due to start! And it was a freezing cold night. I mean, it was like being back in the 1970s. Fortunately we arrived just a couple of minutes before they opened the doors, so didn't have the chance to get cold. Also, I managed to park right outside the cinema. But really, it was very disappointing and just shows how much the leisure industry has, in general, progressed over the last few years. Incidentally, there were only about fifty people in the cinema - obviously there aren't many other people who will put up with it either. It'll probably be closed down by the next time we visit...

Sunday we did a quick trip out to see my grandma - Alice's great-grandma - who lives in a town towards Wigan. I have to say it is a part of the world which has very little attraction for me, always seems very grey and depressing. Still, we got that trip out of the way, bid our farewells, and started the trip back to the sunny south - via IKEA!

We went to the Ikea in Warrington, which was absolutely manic. It took ages to park, and even then it wasn't in one of the designated spaces. Still, once we got in I found the back door of the restaurant - completely by accident - which meant we bypassed all the queues at the front of the restaurant and were server almost immediately. The highlight of the weekend - meatballs and chips! Mmmmmm...

Fifty pounds and several bags of odds-and-sods later, we were heading south. Again, little traffic, and we were only on the road for about four hours again, even despite Jacqueline missing the turn-off to Salisbury. It really amazes me how Jacqueline manages to get anywhere - she can drive a road 100 times, and on the 101st time can still take a wrong turn. Incredible!

Anyway, back to home Sunday night, and back at the client's Monday morning. Uneventful week thus far.

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