02.02.19 — Journal

Leaving England

I begin writing this blog post from a quiet corner of Manchester Airport Terminal 3, where I’m rather content to have found a bench on which to set up my iPad. As zen as my little spot may be, it can only mean one thing: it’s time for me to move countries once more.

It’s quite lucky that I managed to make it here when looking at what the weather has been up to over the past few days, as my hometown has been getting progressively snowier as the week has gone on. The problem has been that the snow has been thick enough to cause disruption, but not quite dense enough to enjoy sledging and snow angels and other such frivolities.

My back garden is lightly sprinkled with snow.

Naturally I’ve been taking the opportunity to say goodbye to friends and family since I revealed my return to Spain, and I kicked things off with a lovely afternoon cake and coffee with Jess and Amber at a local pub. We had a lovely chinwag as we critiqued each item on our dessert sharing platter, and we all agreed that the BBC should really give us our own TV show where we discuss desserts. Watch out Mary Berry…

A selfie of me, Jess and Amber.

After we’d said our goodbyes, I was picked up by my dad and whisked off to see my grandparents in Bradford. We sat with them for a good while, chatting about my upcoming adventure and catching up over some delicious shortbread, but I we were soon on the move again.

As I was hobbling due to a minor operation on my toe, my family graciously made the quick trip over to Horsforth and dropped me off at my friends place. Here I spent the evening with Em & Lincoln before heading off to bed after a few ciders and an intense game of Catan.

An orange and blue sunrise behind a hill, with houses in the foreground.

The morning after hailed the arrival of Monday, so I left as the two of them headed off to work, checking myself into a greasy spoon for a sausage and bacon butty to start the day properly. After breakfast I caught a train into the centre of Leeds, settling in a coffee shop to relax until lunchtime.

I met Danni for lunch, which was a quick McDonalds in the train station due to the amount of time it’d have taken me to walk to her workplace. We had a good laugh over a burger, and then bade each other goodbye until Wednesday evening – but more on that in a mo.

After then spending another few hours in the coffee shop, I hobbled painfully slowly up to Belgrave, where I’d arranged to meet all of my uni friends who were still around in Leeds.

Once people began rolling in from work, we all grabbed ourselves a cheeky pint and a few slices of pizza, and reminisced about university life and how far we’d all come since then. All too soon, however, it was bedtime for everyone and time for me to catch the late train back to Burnley.

We all reminisced about university life and how far we’d come since then.

With my dodgy foot keeping me pretty stationary, the week was spent quietly preparing my move at home. On Wednesday evening, me, Danni, and Abi met up at a pub in Burnley for my last set of goodbyes, before winding up in McDonalds for a McFlurry. I did take a selfie at one point which, although it seemed passable in the dim light of the pub, almost gave me a fright when I looked at it on my iPad just now…

Thursday signalled the start of the serious preparations for moving to Spain, as I began to collect all the clothes, electricals, and books which I’ll need to survive out there. I had a treat lined up too, however, as my mum had managed to get us a table at a lovely little tea rooms just outside of Burnley.

A Victorian style British home interior.

I’d never been to Number 62 before, but all I’d heard about it were rave reviews from my friends and family – especially from my mum. I’ll admit now that it certainly lived up to the hype, as I was treated to what seemed like an endless stream of delicious food, all accompanied by a lovely big pot of strawberry and kiwi tea.

An afternoon tea topped with a lit sparkler.
Tomato soup in a floral cup, topped with croutons, cheese and chorizo.
A selection of mini desserts.

Some personal highlights include a creamy tomato and mascarpone soup, homemade coleslaw, a chicken and chorizo sandwich, a warm scone, and a meringue filled with caramel, cream, and chocolate.

After devouring as much as I could, and boxing what remained up to have later at home, Thursday soon turned into Friday – my last full day in the UK. I can’t say that it was all too exciting, as I spent the day hurriedly packing my suitcase and obsessively weighing the thing – I didn’t want a repeat of last year’s baggage fine when I left Madrid!

Me, stood outside of my shed. There is snow on the ground.

I couldn’t leave without a photo with my shed.

As I sat with my neighbour in the afternoon to bid her farewell, I managed to completely miss a gorgeous purple sunset – but fear not, for my keen-eyed sister Ellie did me proud and snapped a few pics from my window. All credit to her, then, for the shot below!

A sunset of bright purple and orange colours.

As the evening came around, I finally finished my packing, and we settled down to my favourite meal for a sendoff tea – mum’s delicious stewed beef and onions with mushy peas and mash. We’d then to see her off to work for the night, and I headed off to bed after a couple of episodes of Nailed It on Netflix.

This brings us to the here and now, as I sit watching planes take off and land right outside the window. I’ve a timer set for the moment they’ll be announcing my gate, and I’ve picked up a bottle of water to see me through the flight – this flying lark is second nature to me by now!

Of course I’ve now got a crazy few days ahead of me, as I check in to my Airbnb this evening and spend tomorrow prepping to start work back at Erretres on Monday – it’s all going to happen so fast! As ever, I’ll be back with updates once things have settled down somewhat, and I look forward to sharing some updates from the slightly warmer streets of Madrid!