Last All Dayer in Manchester

Yesterday I went on my last All Dayer in Manchester with Paul, Dunk and Adrian.

Feeling a bit under the weather – I think the stresses and strains of the last few weeks are beginning to catch up with me – I decided to get some fresh air by walking down into Shaw to catch the train. I also promised myself I’d “take it easy” today, which surprisingly enough I managed to do. 🙂

Soon after setting off the heavens opened and I was wet through by the time I got on the train to Victoria. Arriving early, I grabbed a huge coffee in Costa Coffee and read the freebie edition of the Manchester Evening News before meeting up in Sinclair’s. ~o)

After a quick pint of Sam Smith’s we decided to jump in a cab and make our way to Oxford Road, starting with lunch in the Kro Bar beer garden. Although the weather was lousy we found a sheltered spot with a patio heater and enjoyed our meatballs and chips. =p~

Heading back towards town we stuck our head in a couple of new places but, since they didn’t have any cask beers, we skipped them and ended up in Kro2 Bar and then the Lass O’Gowrie. We skipped a number of plastic pubs, popped in to the Thirsty Scholar (but left when we found out they had no decent beer on) and then into one of Adrian’s favourites, The Salisbury, under the railway arches, where I was lucky enough to find Old Peculier on tap. :d

I can’t remember where we went next: I know we tried the Peveril of the Peak at some point, but it was closed. We might’ve gone to the Briton’s Protection, or it could’ve been back to the Town Hall Tavern for a pint of Deuchars. Either way, we ended up somehow in St Anne’s Square, where we sampled the spicy sausages from a stall on the Dutch themed outdoor market. For Sure!

At this point I remembered a great little bar called Cask, which Dunk and I found accidentally on a previous All Dayer. We vaguely remembered that it was somewhere off Deansgate, near the Science Museum, so we headed towards Castlefield and found it without any trouble. Like last time, we sampled their Budvar Dark in the little beer garden at the back. The clouds had cleared by now, so we then went on to Dukes 92 and had a pint by the canal, then tiptoed over the lock and started on our way back towards Victoria.

At Exchange Square, Paul suggested going on the Big Wheel. I’ve not been on it before – no chance of getting Sara on there – so I thought it was a great idea. Apparently it’s going to be dismantled and moved abroad next week, so I’m glad we got a chance to do it. The views were simply stunning. b-)

A last beer in Sinclairs before Dunk has to dash off to catch the luxury bus to the sticks, Paul and Adrian go for the night bus to Oldham and I head back to Victoria for the 22:19 to Rochdale. Unfortunately due to an oversight on my part, I find that it doesn’t go via Shaw so I’m stuck with the prospect of waiting for the 23:21 train. #-o

I’m not sure how my beer-fuelled brain came up with the notion that jumping on the train to Greenfield, rather than waiting, would be a good idea… but I went with it. By the time I arrived in Greenfield and walked into Uppermill, I realised it wasn’t the greatest idea I’d ever had. Nonetheless I was home and in bed before the correct train would’ve left Victoria, albeit £8 lighter due to the somewhat longer taxi ride. :>

All in all another great day out in town. It’ll be murder trying to get back over for the next one – someone else will have to do the blogging honours – but I’ll be there in spirit. 😉

No hangover today either.

Non-Stop DIY

It’s been non-stop DIY since returning from Rome:

  • We have painted the entire house, inside and out.
  • Despite the poor weather, I finally managed to stain the upstairs window frames and gloss the stonework lintels.
  • All the carpets have been ripped out and new, plain ones have been fitted throughout. It looks really nice and modern now.
  • New vinyl flooring has also gone in the bathroom.
  • All the skirting boards have been cleaned and, where necessary, varnished and refitted properly. This took absolutely ages, due to having to remove paint speckles from last time we decorated.
  • Replaced the trim around the kitchen worktops with new decorative beading.
  • I’ve built and fitted a new bath panel and surround. I’m actually really pleased with this job – I’m not normally the handiest of people but the finished product looks superb.
  • Replaced curtains and fitted new blinds.
  • Fitted a guard over the central heating flue in preparation for the British Gas safety check*.
  • The back garden has been cleared of rubbish and the patio has been scrubbed.
  • I’ve cleared out the gutters and attempted to fix the leaks.
  • All the boxes of stuff that I planned to Ebay have gone to friends, charity shops or the tip. The loft has also been cleared.

There are still a handful of outstanding jobs but we’ve done as much as we can for now. We’ll get back on to it at weekend.

Trying to get everything finished in such a short period of time has been really tough, but it had to be done in order to maximise the rental potential. Sara and I have been absolutely knackered for the last fortnight but the place looks great now. #:-s

Tomorrow afternoon we’ve got an estate agent coming round to give us a rental valuation, so we’ll find out whether it’s been worth all the effort. $-)

First Leaving Do

I took Friday off work to go on my first leaving do: an “all dayer” in Manchester with Rob, Stu and Phil. :d

We took the train and then spent the afternoon/evening working our way along the Printworks » St Anne’s Square » Deansgate » Bridgewater Street » Peter Street » Cross St circuit, as well as visiting a few old favourites such as the Marble Arch Inn and the Temple.

The weather wasn’t the best for a Friday afternoon pub crawl, but we had a good old chinwag and some great beer in fantastic pubs. Time really seemed to fly and, before I knew it, we had to catch the last train back to Oldham. :-s

Sara tells me I was quite drunk when I got in but, with so much DIY to do on Saturday, I couldn’t afford to have a hangover. Surprisingly enough, I managed to avoid any adverse effects by taking four aspirin and two litres of fizzy water before I went to bed – I’ll have to remember that one. :p

It’s really weird to think it might be years before we get another chance to have a few beers together, if at all. :((

Survived the Dentist

About a month ago I blogged about needing to go to the dentist. Well today I’ve finally had the work done. :-ss

I knew nothing at all about the appointment, so I didn’t lose any sleep worrying about it beforehand. Sara sprung it on me as we left work tonight and took me straight there, where I went directly to the chair without any queuing or hanging around. :-s

Lots of injections to start, followed by countless hours of “being brave” (OK, about 50 minutes). I tell you, I was sweating like a blind lesbian in a fishmongers. :d

I need to go back tomorrow to settle the bill – obviously I didn’t know I was going so, as I realised afterwards, I didn’t have any means to pay! :”>

Manchester United 4 – 0 Charlton Athletic

My last United game at Old Trafford for the forseeable future. :((

With Liverpool poised to pinch second place if United slipped up, we really needed to win the last game of the season. Charlton had nothing much to play for except a bit of pride and a good send-off for Alan Curbishley, leaving after 15 years in charge.

Before kick-off the main talking point was Ruud van Nistelrooy’s bust-up with Fergie after being named as a substitute again. There’s only one winner in these arguments – as Paul Ince, Jaap Stam, David Beckham and Roy Keane learned – so that’s almost certainly the end of Ruud’s United career. 😮

The game itself was quite entertaining. Giuseppi Rossi (aka “Joe Red”), replacing Ruud, looked very lively throughout and had a few good chances. I also have to give credit, for once, to Keiran Richardson; he really looked up for it, hitting the bar with a screamer in the first half before scoring a similar goal late in the game. Saha and Ronaldo both had very good games, grabbing a goal apiece.

The highlight was Paul Scholes coming on as a second half substitute, much to the surprise of those who thought he wouldn’t return from the mystery illness that he was rumoured to have. The crowd were further lifted when Ole Solskjaer also made an appearance later on. :d

The 4-0 win was well deserved today but although the final league table shows only an 8 point gap between United and Chelsea, you can’t help thinking it wasn’t really that close. I’m sure Cheleas had plenty in reserve if needed, even if we hadn’t slipped up against the likes of Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Blackburn and others earlier in the season. [-x

Still, I enjoyed my second-last trip to Old Trafford (I’m not going to Roy Keane’s testimonial match but will be going to the England vs Jamaica game next month) and I have lots of happy memories to take away with me. 🙂

Viaggio fantastico a Roma

This week we took advantage of another Ryanair sale to take our last European mini-break. Italy is a place that we’ve always wanted to visit, so we booked £10 flights to Rome on bank holiday Monday. b-)

The early morning flight from Liverpool got us to Rome Ciampino airport by 10:30am. Deciding against Ryanair’s reccommended €13 bus to the city centre, we walked out of the airport and hopped straught on to a €1 public bus to Anangina metro station and then paid another €1 to get us to the city centre. With Rome’s crazy traffic, I’m sure we were there at least an hour before the people who opted for the expensive “convenience” of the Ryanair bus. 😉

Our hotel – a very funky place called Franklin Feel The Sound – was situated a few minutes from the Ottaviano metro stop, within easy walking distance of the Vatican. After checking in we headed straight back out to explore Rome, enjoying the lovely weather.

We did as much sightseeing as possible during our short stay (including the Vatican, Colleseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain and many more) but two days really isn’t enough. Some of the queuing at popular sites, such as the Sistene Chapel, was ridiculous – we could easily have spent an entire day waiting in line there, so unfortunately we weren’t able to see everything that we wanted to see. #:-s

We walked miles and miles, frequently jumping on and off the crowded metro to get around. We ate authentic pizza and pastas – it will never be the same again at home. We sat in bustling piazzas watching the world go by, enjoying outrageously-priced beer (€8 for less than a pint!) and soaking up the glorious sunshine. :”>

It was all wonderful and we’ll really miss being able to do this sort of thing so easily when we emigrate, but we’re happy to have ticked “Visit Italy” off our list of things to do before we go. :d