Good morning, hello and welcome back!
On the 6th August, 2022, in the afternoon (5pm), I left the Isle Of Wight headed for Essex, where I'd stay the night.
7th August, 2022 - Day 7: A Birthday Like No Other!
Early the next morning, we'd hit the road and head up to a Holiday Inn in Manchester.
It was about 4 Hours and was a good journey.
During which, we stopped off at a petrol station, and as we were finishing up/about to leave, in pulled a very old classic car.
Upon later research, it turned out to be a 1932 Rolls Royce Phantom II, first registered in May 1989 - what happened for 57 years, nobody knows - but in the condition its in, I'm going to say that it was cared for for many, many years.
In the beginning, all three of my friends (the one having a birthday and two others) were going to get to a coach to Manchester, but one had a change of heart and decided to join me in the Skoda.
We'd arrive at the hotel first, but would (rather quickly) turn around and drive back to one of Manchester's train-stations to pick my two friends up.
After a little bit of confusion picking them up, they'd all get in my car and we headed back to the hotel.
After a few minutes of unwinding and recovering from a long journey, we then discussed what we'd do that evening.
We eventually decided to go to Wetherspoons...but this, in itself turned out to be one hell of an adventure!
With a total of 9 different Wetherspoons, we were absolutely SPOILED for choice. 5 of these 9 were inside the Manchester City Centre/inside the ring-road/within walking distance.
If my memory serves me correctly, on the night, we visited three.
I honestly cannot remember the building names to save my life, but as far as I remember, the first one didn't sell food until later on, the second was much more expensive than the first,
With access to Trams (and ubers!), we visited the Bishop Blaize (not serving food), Sedge Lynn (had main-course - Mixed Grille) and I think The Seven Stars which I had a chocolate fudge cake in. (I believe we originally visited this one second, but the price was a lot higher compared to the others - I can't honestly remember!
At some point during the night, the boys and the birthday lady split up - we were given a couple of hours to do as we pleased - so we explored central Manchester, found a crazy-golf (I think aimed at younger children) as well as a ten-pin bowling alley with ping-pong/pool tables there as well.
It was here I had my first taste of alcohol - and quite honestly, probably why my memory of the night is so shocking!
We were in the bowling alley and I wasn't that thirsty, but my friend, Jack was and ordered a mocktail - it looked very appealing and I asked if I could try a bit, and he said "yes".
I tried one or two sips but was mostly distracted by my phone - the drink I had drunk was delicious. The waitress then came over and said that she had accidentally served us the cocktail version of the mocktail we ordered and apologised prefusely, I knew I was driving back to Essex and Surrey the following day, so I was very concerned if my driving would be affected and where my alcohol tolerance was at (since I haven't touched a drop in almost 5 years - and even then, I tried a sip of prosecco at an event).
She then served the mocktail we ordered free of charge.
Following this, we'd head back to the trams and the hotel after a good night (we met back up at some point, but I don't remember when.
8th August, 2022 - Day 8 - Manchester Madness And A Brilliant Birthday
On the 8th August, we got up relatively early, and headed out for breakfast at the only place we knew: Spoons!
We had a Small Breakfast at the Eccles Cross Wetherspoons and then boarded the tram-replacement service bus to Media City UK.
Heading into the bus-stop, I didn't actually know what "Media City UK" was - other than a tram-stop in Manchester, but I very quickly found out that it was where the ITV and BBC studios are - and where shows like: Blue Peter, Coronation Street Ceebeebies, Dragon's Den, The Voice,
many of the BBC Radio shows.
Following this, we went to an imperial war museum, which really hit me.
War is constantly in the news, on TV and in history books - but until you see products that people actually owned and that were found in the war-fields, and you can see the damage to products, it all seems a bit distant.
The products retrieved - is the owner still alive? Where were they when they lost it? How did they lose it? There's so much history and context between the items in (war) museums - but it really does make you feel for the people at home, and the innocent people that suffer from the affects of war.
There was a beam from the World Trade Centre in the museum and it was very weird and eerie to think that prior to 9/11, the last time that beam was seen was during the construction of the towers. The builders being the last ones to see that beam untouched and standing tall and strong.
To end our trip in Manchester, we had spoons (once again). Over the course of 48 hours, we had breakfast, lunch and dinner at spoons!
It was an incredible trip away, really fun - and interesting to discover more of Manchester than just the 02 Arena (One Republic Concert)
I did lose my tram ticket at one point, but since we were at a station, it was easy enough to buy another. The trams and eating/spoons were probably my favourite part of spoons.
I'd have a long old drive back, first dropping my two friends off in Surrey, before returning to Essex.
9th August, 2022 - Day 9 - Taking A Step Back In Time...
On the 9th, another of my friends, Evie, asked me if I wanted
go out on a little road-trip to a viaduct, (we had been to a while ago) and being free, I agreed.
We took Evie's dogs and it was a lovely trip, although I did sort of have to rush to get some dog water and bowls, but with the dogs watered, all was good.
I had an incredibly fun time and it was good to get out, even if it was baking hot (I'd rather baking hot than freezing cold!).
After dropping Evie off, I returned to Woking (my former home town), as whilst driving Evie home, I spotted a classic Mustang.
My concern was that when I went home the following day, it wouldn't be there - or I'd forget to come past Woking.
After successfully snapping the Mustang, I had remembered that I past an AC-Cobra-looking car on my way to Woking, so I re-traced my drive and found it at a garage.
Also at this garage was an 1970'S - 1980's Aston Martin V8.
Via doing a number-plate search, I could find that the AC Cobra lookalike was a replica, and found nothing on the Aston Martin. A classic Defender was also present.
After this, I headed back to Essex for the night
10th August - Day 10 - Another Birthday Celebration (ABC)
On the 10th, It was my friend's daughter's birthday, so we decided to go out to Smyth's to see if there was anything she was interested in.
Originally, the plan had been for me to pick Evie up/for Evie to attend my friend's daughter's birthday, but unfortunately she wasn't available throughout the 10th
There was, however we returned to the house to discuss it with her grandparents.
Since I had nobody restraining me, I went ahead and added to my collection of diecast vehicles.
By 3pm, I was still out enjoying my friend's daughter's birthday - however I quickly realised that I wouldn't be making it home for 8pm.
Under normal circumstances, it's usually a 3hr journey - and I would have made it with no issue, but as I had some items left in my car (from friends), I'd have to make a detour to drop them (the items) off - resulting in a 5hr journey - and as I had to be there for 7pm (the ferry departs at 8pm), time sort of ran out.
11th August - Day 11 - Homeward Bound
After spending the night in Essex and having breakfast in the morning, I eventually headed off at about 8-9am.
My first stop was my friend, Jack's. After the Manchester trip the weekend prior, he forgot to take his portable charger (or I forgot to give it to him), so on the 11th, I returned it to him.
Evie was next. After walking the dogs at the viaduct, she had left the dog leads and a dog-toy in my car, so I went back to hers to drop them off. Of course, neither were in (coincidentally), so I had to drop them off to empty (or almost empty) houses.
With a pocket of time before I had to be in Lymington/the ferry port, I checked out the Meridien Modena Ferrari Dealership in Lymington (whilst it was open).
At about 4pm, I'd arrive, park up, pay for parking and then headed over the street to the Ferrari dealership and saw all kinds of cars I'd never seen before - I think after the 488 or so, I sort of lost interest in Ferrari, and didn't pay attention to their latest releases.
The only classic they had was a 328 GTS, but that was hidden away in a garage - come on Ferrari, we love your classics!!!
There was a Ferrari 2003 F1 car (Michael Schumacher) apparently gifted to them by Ferrari in 2003 - due to the lack of any sort of barrier, restraint or sign saying "DO NOT TOUCH", I assumed that it was a show-car - and, after asking the lady at reception, she confirmed that it was indeed a show-car, and that this model hadn't been involved in any races - but it was a replica.
So no, it hadn't come from a Grand Prix and just had the engine removed.
I eventually left to ensure I was in time for the 6pm ferry.
Before plans changed, the plan for the week was:
7th - 8th: Manchester
9th - 10th: Viaduct With Evie, before she'd come to friend's daughter's birthday
11th - Meet up with another mate (plans foiled)
12th - drive down to Reading and then onward to Falmouth.
I'm going to leave this blog here, as nothing overly interesting happened on the 13th August, but the 14th August was the day in which I travelled down to Reading to start a week of helping him.
I'm off on holiday tomorrow, soo if no blog, apologies, but whenever my next one is published, see you then!