Stafford and Manchester England

Trip Start Apr 11, 2006
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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, June 11, 2007

Sawadee Krab,

Well setting down in the 'old blighty' ‘mother England’ ‘pommy land’ ‘the old dart’, the home of Bangers and Mash was a great feeling. We arrived courtesy of Air New Zealand, but were shocked with our air hostesses. Not that they were bad or anything, or we had difficulty understanding their peculiar Kiwi way of speaking, well actually we did have difficulty understanding their peculiar way of speaking because they were all English ‘ya alrigh luv’. Not only did they speak funny, but they just did not fit the usual stereotype of an air hostess. Now let’s face it one of the reasons we males fly is to try and crack on to the hosties – unless you are Ralph Fiennes we males usually fail – miserably! But it is the thrill of the chase (no matter how doomed the chase may be) we try our stupid smiles and ridiculous one liners and feel it was all worth while when the hostie smiles sympathetically back, I wonder if that is how Ralph started. However these English lasses all seemed to have gone to school with my mum, Jenny Craig had never been a part of their vocabulary and they seemed better suited to life as an English barmaid or an extra in Coronation Street. It is the first time I have never perved on the hostie and had the horrible feeling the hosties were undressing ME with their eyes – what on earth do they think I am!!

On landing at Heathrow Jess and I were eager to use our British passports, but that would leave Diane to use the alien line and we would then have to wait for her to be processed. So we decided to wait in the colonial alien line with her and use our Australian passport. We exited the plane and to our horror realised we must have caught the wrong plane we were in Afghanistan, or India, or Pakistan, or was it Jamaica, no it must be Saudi Arabia, NO!!! It was in reality a combination of all the above and I was actually in sunny London. Then it hit me – Air New Zealand had secretly captured all the Anglos Saxon English people and had them flying the skies over Nul Zeelund, forever slaves. This had left the Non Anglo Saxon people to run wild and multiply now that their natural predators were off waddling along the aisles at 30,000 feet. It must be a job for Dr Who?

I decided I would try and communicate with one particular man whose hair had still not dried even though he had wrapped it in a towel. I thought very carefully about my words and decided a conservative and formal approach would be best. ‘G’day mate, ow ya goin, struth ya hairs takin its time ta dry’. Worked like a dream, won him over straight away, unfortunately his reply was in his native tongue and I had no idea what he said. ‘Bollocks ya twat’ came his reply, must be Hebrew or something. Off he strolled and I noticed he was not alone with the hair drying problem, also a razor would not have gone amiss on a few of these males, ooooppppps sorry maam, eeeeerrrr I mean a few of these females.

We joined the queue and after 20 minutes we were at the front of the line. There were about 20 customs officers working the passport queue, we knew they were customs officers because they had badges telling us so – they are all in plainclothes here, someone told me that it was so they could sneak up on suspicious people ……………….. they were all looking at Diane very strangely. Then Di spoke to me and I saw them all relax ‘that’s why she looks strange. She’s Australian’. 19 of the 20 Customs officers were of the non white variety, good to see no racism here, we prayed that we would get the white lass, you know for old time sake and all that, for all we knew she could have been the last of her tribe and this would be our last opportunity to be served by someone white – bit like the Mohicans.

‘Is this were we get our passports stamped’ I said. "Rather’ she said. Rather than what I wondered. ‘Here for a holiday are you, uuuuummmmm!!?’ She said must be eating lunch I thought, as she sounded like she had a plum in her mouth. The luggage with all our stickers of China, Vietnam, Laos, etc must have given it away – sharp as a stick in the eye this one. ‘We have come to see the Lord of the Manor’ I said. She let her glasses fall to the end of her nose and looked over the top of them unsmiling and gave me a cold stare, obviously she did not know my Uncle Colin or then again maybe she did!!!! Then she did what only Postal workers and custom officers can do so well, she stamped about twenty things in under two seconds. The problem is you just cannot see what they are stamping as they hide it below a ledge, you just here bang, bang, bang, bang……….bang…. as the stamp strikes repeatedly. You get your passport back with a single stamp in it………..what the hell else got stamped. One day I will join Customs just to get to Stamping School.  

We were met by my Uncle Peter and his wife, Aunty Maureen, yes Peter is the world famous Town Crier of Stafford. ‘What does your Uncle do? Mine cries’. We were soon off up the M something or other. Jess and I, more so me than Jess, screamed in delight whenever we saw a signpost to a place that had a football team, ‘look there’s Luton, or Oxford, Reading, Watford, Birmingham, Stoke, aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! What fun.

We were staying in a retirement village in Stafford. My Uncle Peter lives there, and the village has a flat that visitors can stay in, we also qualified to stay there due to Di’s age. We were looked at with a great deal of suspicion until I said hello and then they visibly relaxed and you could here them saying ‘Australian, they are’ ‘ooohhhh I thought they looked a bit funny I did’ ‘nowt wrung withem lad’.  

Stafford is a nice little town and we were able to wander around some old buildings and along ancient looking streets – not that Stafford is an old dump mind you, it’s just that these are all heritage type buildings. The river and parks are nice. A lovely place Stafford is, right lovely.

But eventually all roads lead out of Stafford.



The crème-Della-crème of the trip so far came on a wet Tuesday morning and the trip was into a very wet and dreary Manchester, would you expect anything else from Manchester. All Jesse’s life he has been dreaming of the day he would venture to the Shangri-la called Manchester. This was mainly due to the propaganda I filled his head about the glorious Manchester City Football Club. It was wet and very cold, reminded me of Goulburn in winter, back in the days when it actually rained in Goulburn. Jess looked a little confused as we walked through the city centre to catch the bus to the City of Manchester Stadium, home of the mighty Manchester City Football Club. ‘What’s up?’ I said. He said ‘don’t get me wrong, I like it here, but why are all the people looking so sad, they look like the sad people in China’. I guess Manchester, rain, cold, sums it all up, but I had to agree they looked miserable – must have been Manchester United supporters.
 
It was wonderful running around the outside of the City of Manchester Stadium the home ground of the mighty Manchester City Football Club. Photos here and there, then into a huge shop and we beheld the ‘Holy Grail’ an entire store dedicated to the sale of Manchester City merchandise – does life get any better!! It was Jesse’s birthday the next week, so the purse strings were considerably loosened and he could have what ever he wanted. He started slowly but a couple of hundred pounds later and the lad was all smiles.



On finally prising ourselves out of the store, a well dressed man carrying a microphone and another man carrying a rather large camera came over to us. The man with the microphone wanted to interview us in regards to the then proposal that a corrupt lying ba@#@#d would be taking over ownership of the Mighty Manchester City Football Club. I guess I should not complain about the ex-prime minister of Thailand as due to the coup to oust him from government WE all got a day off and had a party. Other than that what else has he done, but steal, lie and cheat. Now he is the owner of the Mighty Manchester City Football Club and what did we think?? Well I told them, they worked for Granada TV, that the Manager was the priority, I kept it sensible and to the point. Jesse on the other hand was totally different when it was his turn to be interviewed, Jess let rip about how he was corrupt and hated in Thailand and he would end up stealing from the Mighty Manchester City Football Club and leave them broke. The bloke doing the interview looked surprised at first then he started to smirk when he realised that Jess was totally serious. The irony here is amazing; the two people they picked to talk to were Australians fresh from living in Thailand, talking about the corrupt Thai prime minister trying to buy the mighty Manchester City football club.

Whilst at the City of Manchester Stadium the home of the mighty Manchester City Football Club, we also did a tour of the stadium. Unfortunately some big poof was doing a concert there the next night and we couldn’t go into the dressing rooms, because the big poof had all his clothes and makeup there. This also meant we were unable to see the pitch as they were putting up the stage. There was only Jess and I on the tour and it was glorious sitting in the Director’s seats, I hope it was not Thaksin’s seat!!! Then it was off to the museum and the trophy cabinet. The museum was great but the trophy cabinet was empty, this will be the year though, stop laughing I have feelings you know!!!!

It was a great birthday present for the boy the trip to Manchester, let alone the presents he got in the store, a new Man city shirt, Man city polo shirt, Man City socks, Man City football, Man City mouse, mouse??? Yes mouse, the computer type. There was a Man City guitar he could have gotten, maybe after city win the premier league this year, maybe!! Unfortunately we had to fight our way home through the miserable Manchester people; they must have been United supporters, to get to our car. The trip back to Stafford was very wet indeed, little did we know that we would be in the middle of history as the rain would continue to tumble for a long time or as they say in England ‘It’s tipping it down’. You see this was going to be the wettest June in English history. Oh goody!!!! They will all be miserable. 

Cop Jai my friend and remember that the mighty Manchester City football Club rules.



David
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