02.01.18 — Journal

Flying Home for Christmas

To kick off 2018 I have to wish everyone a happy New Year, but I also have to bring this blog up to speed with the events since I returned from the Basque Country way back (well it feels like it) in early December!

Traversing the city

Of course the last few weeks of 2017 were pretty busy at work, with plenty of projects to switch between, and even a surprise package landing on my desk from England! My mum sent over a wonderfully christmassy shirt, twenty euros and an extra special surprise of some shiny festive underwear – with a good few giggles ensuing in the office…

Early Christmas gifts
The building near work comes down

Outside of work life, the city has been getting pretty festive and we’ve been doing our best to bask in the ambience. This has involved both strolling around the freezing cold of Madrid’s streets, and convening when possible for impromptu dinners across the city.

Someone took to decorating the street
Festivity in the city centre

One weekend my friend’s friends came to visit from Austria, and so we all headed out into the city to explore, eat good food and soak up the Christmas ambience. That particular evening the light was quite nice, and whilst heading down to the station to catch my train home, I took a few pictures along the way…

Looking down into the south
Tapas for days
The train station
The sun sets

As the last week of work neared, it was soon time for my first Erretres staff Christmas meal, which involved us all hopping on a bus to a Cuban restaurant in the city centre. Once there we were treated to a fabulous array of dishes, and with mojitos on tap I suddenly felt I had total command of the language, and we all stayed out chatting until the early hours.

Wintery road to work

Before I even knew what was going on it was my final day at work, and to celebrate the occasion I made sure to fashion myself a fabulous outfit from some tinsel that I found at PoundLand…

I made myself this tinsel monstrosity and I was quite proud of it.

My tinsel monstrosity

After leaving work on my last day I headed over to my friends for a catchup, and wound up being fed and watered before having to dash off to the airport to grab a flight to Manchester. Once I landed I didn’t really have time to do much, opting rather to head for bed and wake up bright and fresh on the Saturday.

That first day I relaxed and had coffee and a good old catch up with Bam, who I haven’t seen since she rocked up to visit me in Madrid back in November. Once my entire family had gotten home we were reunited over some drinks and played plenty of Scrabble and watched plenty of TV, and pretty soon it was Christmas Eve and I went off to visit my Grandma.

Christmas day kicked off with presents and merriment, but then my mum had to head off to work so me, my dad and sister hopped in the car and headed over to Bradford to pay a surprise visit to my Grandma and Grandad. We had a lovely few hours there, and then headed back home to pick my mum up from work and have our customary Christmas curry.

The Briggs family

In case you were confused, we have curry every year on Christmas day because my mum usually has to work, and so once she’s home to make life easier we just order from our favourite curry place – one of the few places actually open on Christmas day. Naturally we never miss out on the traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, as we’re always sure to do this on Boxing Day – as evidenced below…

Mum and Dad have a drink
The family gathering

Well, truth be told I actually forgot to take a decent photo of the main course, and so what you see above is actually the world’s most gorgeous cauliflower soup, and another tradition which we have every year courtesy of a family friend who makes it herself. The one meal I did manage to snap a photo of was the leftovers meal the day after, the day before I headed over to Leeds to visit Izzy and have a catch up in my old university city.

Gravy galore

The few hours I got to spend in Leeds were a blast, with me and Iz heading to get coffee and brunch at our favourite haunt, Laynes. After this we headed up to Belgrave where we had our goodbye drinks earlier this last year (this will be happening for a while), and I had a bit of English cider after the strong stuff up in Asturias.

Delicious rarebit and good coffee
A cold Burnley

The next day I was in the hairdressers pretty early, before grabbing a McDonalds breakfast at 10:29 (a world record, surely) and hopping on a bus to Manchester. I had a lovely day in store, visiting friends and then meeting up with my dad to enjoy his Christmas present – a meal in the city and then a musical at the Royal Exchange Theatre!

Me and my dad at the Royal Exchange

After a delicious slap-up tapas meal at Lunya, we headed into the theatre to begin watching their production of Guys & Dolls. By the inteval we had both already agreed that it was a pretty amazing production, and by the end we had laughed so much that my throat was hurting! It did go on for a good while, so it wasn’t until the early hours of Friday morning when I got into bed.

That said, Friday morning was pretty damn hectic as I managed to oversleep as my friend came to visit, and then had to scramble to pack as quickly as possible before saying my goodbyes and being whisked off to Manchester Airport to get my plane back. Once there I made good and proper use of the new KFC in Terminal 3, before a pretty uneventful flight and Metro journey back home to my flat.

So there it all is, albeit slightly rushed this time – I have to ensure that I get this posted as fast as possible before things start to back up! For the moment I have just seen in the New Year with friends and finished my first day back in the office, so it’s back to my daily routine and so a relatively early night for me – but maybe just one more episode of Jane The Virgin