We finally bit the bullet and took a trip to Frank, Helen and the two boys in Macclesfield en famille. The six of us headed down to Cork airport last saturday morning bright and early.
The Servisair genius at check-in put us in three separate rows. She was either as thick as two short planks or bitter over her fabulous career. Either way, Catherine had Fionn, I had Ois & Shibs and poor Oscar had to sit on his own for take-off. We managed to get on the plane without too much hassle. I’m sure there were plenty of dagger looks into the backs of our heads with people muttering “did they have to bring alllll their children?” and “would they ever hurry the fuck up and sit down”. I know I do when I’m travelling alone.
We then realised the plane was half-empty so I was tempted to get off the plane and bitch-slap the cow at check-in. But the very nice BMI Baby ladies on the plane let us move around after take off. I think Osc was secretly delighted that he was in his own row, particularly when I told him that I was 14 before I flew anywhere.
The flight passed without incident apart from Oisín insisting he needed a slash as we were landing. They wouldn’t let us move and I started seriously wondering how much urine the puke bags might take before bursting. But the wee star held on until the terminal.
We got a Corolla Verso which is very swish inside compared to the Zafira but a bit smaller so the bags were a squeeze. I had printed out AA route instructions door to door and headed off confident that the trip would take 30-40 minutes even if Catherine fulfills the “women can’t read maps or directions” stereotype perfectly.
As we approached the exit roundabout, we saw a sign for the first town we needed to get to, but when we reached the roundabout, it was nowhere to be found on any of the signs. Panic. Take wrong exit. U-Turn, take another exit, damn damn we’re on a motorway, no fuck, I don’t want to go to Birmingham, or poxing Sheffield, exit exit. OK, we’re on the A34, that sounds familiar. Bugger, wrong direction, another U-Turn, sign for Wilmslow, hurrah my built-in compass managed to get us on the correct road without having any clue what direction I was pointing in or where Macclesfield actually is.
Highlight of the car trip was seeing “The Cock Inn”. Someday we’ll get the opportunity to stop near there and ask someone “How far is the cock inn?”. Yep, all the maturity of a 12 year old.
We then passed thorough Over Alderley, Upper Alderley, Nether Alderley, Mini-Alderley, Semi-Alderley, Under Alderley, High Alderley and Congleton (pronounced “Maudelin”). About 1.5 hours later we arrived. We hadn’t seen James since he was a squirt and he has turned into a strapping young 3-year old boy. We’d never seen Mattie and he is a wee bundle of grins and took to us all like old friends.
Constant rain meant we couldn’t really go anywhere but we were happy to hang out and catch up. Our monsters were happy to demolish the other kids playroom. Oisín thought he had died and gone to heaven when he saw the box full of Thomas trains.
The main thing that always strikes me about the UK is that all of the old bits are of such fabulous quality - the houses, the roads, the playgrounds, the parks. It’s a pity the new bits from the 60’s onwards all look so cheap and nasty.
A night of lovely food and booze ensued after a bracing walk in the lashing rain to a playground.
Conor woke up the following morning feeling like one of the children was jumping up and down on his head. In the voice of Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons “Worst Hangover, ever”. Can I just offer my undying gratitude to the creator of Ponstan?
Helen stuffed us again with yum food and we headed off early afternoon. We made a half-arsed attempt to find Old Trafford and failed. We both got a tingle of fear/excitement when we saw a sign for Moss Side. Oooh, are we in a bad area? Ooh, scary pyjamas.
Of course the damned flight was delayed but our gang behaved quite well despite them not being able to understand how you could get a burger and not get a toy. We arrived back on Sunday around 10:30pm. Exhausted and kinda chuffed at how well it had all gone.
Big Thanks to the Manc Crew for putting up with us. Twas a brave offer to invite us over. We’ll do it all again when they are in college.