My recent trip to the UK feels like it's slipped away now replaced with the busy-ness of regular life. So it's a bit of a treat to write this blog to recap the highlights.
The main reason for going to Manchester was to celebrate my parents 65th Wedding Anniversary.
I know. Pretty epic.
The idea was to go on a family holiday to the Lake District to celebrate. I mean, it's not every day your 80+ year old parents celebrate their 65th Wedding Anniversary dressing up as a Geisha and a mad Scottish man. We're all still slightly unsure of what my dads fancy dress outfit actually represented but that's my parents for you. Playful. ALWAYS a step a head of us. And generous to a T.
YOU CAN TAKE THE GIRL OUT OF MANCHESTER BUT..
I got to hang out in my hometown of Manchester with my favourite daughter (ha ha my only daughter) Galar, currently based in the UK. Those of you with children based overseas will know this is another level of parenting that you have to navigate yourself through. Meet up with my oldest school friend Cath and generally acquaint myself with my old haunts.
I love going back to Chorlton-cum-hardy where I grew up. Beech Road is a stone's throw away from my parents bungalow and I've loved watching this trendy road evolve each time I go back. There's now a cafe called: The Laundrette which I remember as a child really WAS a Laundrette!!
The thing I love about Manchester is the random street art. Posters on lampposts, amazing art on roller doors even signs like: No 11 Passage take my breath away! It's so English. So delightful and oh so inspiring. In the early days of living in NZ I rubbished my hometown a little. But now I know it was just my way of making sure I didn't rush back full of homesickness only to find I'd made a mistake (I'd been there done that when I lived in Jamaica). Now I can fully appreciate the beauty, culture, energy each Country has to offer. And be hugely grateful that I get to spend time in both.
When we were in the Lakes we were all waiting with baited breath for the 10th great-grandchild to arrive. My niece Gemma didn't disappoint us by producing baby Albie, the ultimate - what-do-you-get-a-couple-who-have-everything-wedding-anniversary-gift. Well done Gemma, for taking one for the team and planning ahead by 9 months ;-). A little crowd gathered around my dad's phone as she whats-apped the announcement. But as she was about to inform us of the gender of her precious bundle of joy, we got the circle of doom and the internet stalled. We all shuffled as a unit across to the other side of the room to where the young ones were (born with the ability to sniff out internet hotspots) as Gemma came live again.
My mum snatched the phone out of dad's hands and yelled: WHAT DID YOU HAVE???
When Gemma (who must have had a birds eye view up my mum's nostrils) yelled back: IT'S A BOY!
There was a collective cheer from the Lake District crew that could be heard across Lake Coniston and beyond. Apparently, the midwife who was still in the room with Gemma in sunny Dorset asked: What was that?? To which she replied proudly. It's my family.
IT'S MY FAMILY
And that sums up my trip. It was ALL about family.
And ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS there for each other.