27.11.19 — Travel

A Non-Stop Visit Home

First thing’s first: hello there again! If you checked my site over the last couple of days, you may have been greeted by a rather terrifying security message, but I assure you that there’s nothing to be worried about – I just forgot to update some security settings. I’m now back online, and just in time to tell you about my latest crazy weekend…

As the title suggests, just last weekend I made a whistle-stop trip to England, during which I packed as much as I could into a mere 36 hours. After leaving the office at 3pm, I nipped by my house to pack (I am a very relaxed traveller these days), and then headed straight for the airport for 6pm in order to catch my 8pm flight.

Landing in England around 10pm, I didn’t waste a minute in leaving the terminal and searching for my parents, who kindly drove over to Manchester to pick me up. The car journey back to Burnley provided a good chance to catch up for a while, as we arrived at home so late that after just an hour of chatting over a drink we all headed for bed.

The next morning, I was up bright and early and hitching a lift down to Burnley Town Centre in order to get my haircut at my 9am appointment. I chatted for a while to my hairdresser, finally had my mop chopped, and then headed into town to sort out some issues with my bank and then for a quick reunion with Amber and Jess!

An old phone box in Burnley on a wet, cloudy day.

Burnley was as grey and damp as it always is.

The three of us were reunited in Little Barista, a lovely independent coffee shop in the town centre, and had a rousing chat over some festive hot chocolate and herbal tea. This was the first of many catchups which was to be cut too short, however, as I soon had to be driven back home by Jess in order to re-pack (yes, already) my bags and head out for lunch with my parents.

Lunch really couldn’t have been at any other place than JJ’s, an unsuspecting canteen at the side of a rural road which serves up some of the best classic British dishes going. I was soon devouring some of their infamous homemade steak puddings, complete with chips, mushy peas, and plenty of salt and vinegar! The meal was delicious as ever, and served as as a fitting but somewhat premature farewell to my parents, as they dropped me off at Danni’s house for the next part of my speedy adventure…

I couldn’t go wrong with a weekend full of good food, old friends, and meeting new dogs.

Whilst being reunited with Danni, I was also introduced to her new dog, Lottie, who didn’t take a shining to me but was gorgeous nonetheless. We caught up at her house whilst awaiting the arrival of Abi, whose birthday present we had all prepared – a customised bottle of vodka! When she showed up and received said gift, it was soon evident that it would be joining the three of us as we headed on to our next destination: Leeds!

Once in Leeds, me and Danni checked into the hotel we’d booked, sneaking Abi in as a cheeky extra guest for the night. Dropping our stuff off and buying some drinks for later, the three of us then (eventually) managed to catch a taxi up to Belgrave Music Hall, one of my favourite haunts from my uni days and one of the finest purveyors of pizza, burgers, and chips in all the land.

Me, Abi and Danni have a beer in Belgrave.

After some drinks and burgers accompanied with a huge tray of delicious “session fries” (chips topped with pancetta, pickled jalapeños, and a whole host of other tasty delights), me and Danni had to set off at quite a pace: we’d a concert to get to!

The concert in question was Sigrid, who I’ve been a fan of since stumbling across her on Spotify earlier this year. We did end up arriving quite late and hence had to take up our position at the very back of the stalls, but we had a great time anyway, jiving along to a host of her best hits.

Sigrid performs at the O2 Academy, Leeds.

During the concert, Abi had headed back to the hotel to get ready and bring us back some drinks, and we were then reunited in the streets of Leeds to head out on the town! After an impromptu photo session in Victoria Quarter, we headed on down to Call Lane and some old uni haunts, as well as some new clubs that I’d never been to before.

As the three of us are getting old and wizened, the night didn’t go on for too long, and we were soon back at the hotel and waiting for our food delivery. This delivery, it turns out, was not to be, and so we were left stranded and food-less, a solution to which I found in marching myself back to the train station and picking up a McDonalds for the three of us.

I tried my hand at a spot of festive photo-bombing.

Danni stands under an illuminated reindeer antler decoration, whilst I crouch on the floor nearby.

The next morning, we all woke up surprisingly fresh, although I had a suspicion that my clear head could easily make way for a lingering hangover later that Sunday. There wasn’t much time for contemplation, however, as I’d to be up, showered, dressed, and at Layne’s Espresso for brunch with Luisa, Rhea, Em, and Lincoln by 11:30am. I really didn’t stop during this trip!

Adding to the weekend’s food woes, I received a message from Rhea whilst en route to Layne’s to inform me that she and Luisa were already there, but that the place was packed and that I should probably have booked a table in advance. Panicking, I was saved when the two of them rang another local spot in a moment of quick thinking, and I promptly informed Em and Lincoln that the location had changed. Hurrah, breakfast was saved!

The reunion thus took place at Wapentake, a lovely and relatively new little bar that I’d never been in before, but which served us all a delicious slap-up breakfast. By this point my head was beginning to pound, and so I ordered a Bloody Mary to go with my full English, a choice I soon regretted as I was reminded just how spicy they can be…

Me, Rhea, Luisa, Em, and Lincoln have breakfast at Wapentake.

I had a lovely chat with the four of them over breakfast, with the whole group letting each other know what they’d been up to and how adult and work life was panning out for them. All good things must come to an end, though, and alas I eventually had to leave for Leeds Train Station and head back to Manchester for my return flight.

Leeds Train Station.
A stop on the Leeds to Manchester Airport line.

As you’ve probably noticed from the sheer speed through which I have run through all of my activities, I was absolutely knackered after cramming three cities and a shedload of events into a mere day and a half. Needless to say, I dozed off a while on the flight back, but even so this week I feel like I am still recovering from the exhaustion!

It was all worth it though, as I had an absolutely fabulous time, and I’m now just looking forward to this coming weekend of total relaxation at home. I’ll certainly need it too, as this week at work we’re super busy with lots of exciting new projects coming in. More on that to come!