On a scorching hot day in August we landed in Manchester; the start of our UK adventure. After some initial confusion we found Wayne and I think his first impression of me was that the suitcase was bigger than me! Slightly embarrassing - but girls need STUFF for a month away! We sorted ourselves out with booze at the local Tesco and headed back to meet Lindsey. Although I'd met one of Gareth's friends in Dubai, Andy, this was the first set of UK friends I was meeting and I have to say I was a little nervous! I needn't have been; they were so down to earth and welcoming and completely set me at ease (Might also have been the white wine in my hand!). After a few quiet drinks in the house and Gareth regaling them with tales from Dubai and Ireland we decided to head to Canal Street. I was very excited about going out in Manchester; I have great friends from there and had heard great things!!
It was a lovely summer's evening so we had a few vodkas by the canal, watching all sorts of unusual people who would never been seen in Dubai. More than once I stood at the bar beside 6 foot women with deeper voices than Barry White. Wayne tried to offend me, which I just found entertaining and I think I received one of the best insults ever when he called me "A tranny from Middle Earth,". I had to high-five him for the thought behind that but unfortunately missed, which we thought side-achingly funny at the time. A few more cheap double vodkas and I was ready to show the camp crowd my singing chops. I'm not sure I was camp enough! A beautiful blonde in staggering stiletto's handed me the mic to do my rendition of "Valerie"; very hazy memories but I did have some lovely (gay) boys following me around for a bit afterward so perhaps I did ok. We wandered through a few different bars, were point blank refused for G.A.Y despite Gareth and Wayne's ardent displays of affection towards each other, so we took a long, long walk to The Venue. I had lovely chats with Lindsey along the way, whilst the boys hi-jinxed along the streets of Manchester.
The Venue was brilliant - what I remember of it - indie tunes, double vodkas for a pound, much chaotic dancing. Obviously The Venue thought so too as they published this, unknown to us, on their Facebook page!!
Definitely my kind of place! We had more long walks around Manchester to find a McDonalds, but Wayne insisted on carrying our bags and coats - I had to grab mine back when my Dubai-acclimatised skin started to chill. We ate some disgustingly cardboard food (good to know some things never change anywhere in the world) and finally fell into a taxi around half past.....Half past what I don't know! It was a wonderful welcome to the UK for me, and I definitely have to have another night in Manchester when I get the chance!
We gratefully fell onto the blow-up bed and passed out only to be woken by the smell of bacon sarnies. We wanted to move these two to Dubai - never mind have them just visit! Wayne even dropped us into town to have lunch with some of Gareth's former work colleagues. I was really hungover and definitely couldn't face a lunchtime drink before we caught the train through the Pennines to North Yorkshire.
Big thanks to Wayne and Lindsey for such an epic night!!