Annual trip back to the UK
I never thought it would be possible to ever empty our house with 25 years of stuff (and stuff is definitely the right word) in it. It was not easy, with furniture still being sold on eBay just a day before we had to be out, but eventually we managed it. I had gone through the emotional side of things when i packed my stuff up last year, not expecting to see the house again, and in truth was mostly sad at having to smash up some of the furniture (like my 23 yr old bed!) for the skip, since we didn't sell all of it. The bright side is that we did manage to sell most of for just a few pounds each -but at least someone will make use of it all in the future.
With that done my mum could relax somewhat and we took to the country with Beth for a good B&B, pub meals, long hike, pretty old villages, shopping and homemade chocolate fudge. Fantastic! A very British thing to do in a very British area (the Cotswolds -between Wales and Oxford).
A few brisk muddy morning runs with Dad later and then I was off up North. The best thing in all of Manchester is Jen's (and Becca's, but she ran away when she heard I was coming) endless cups of tea and cooking (I helped, although it was only a salad!). The next best thing is drinking in a pub, playing some pub games, losing and chatting with the Boys: Tom, Chris and Phil. Ria provides constant energy and entertainment and it was the perfect reunion moment.
Wonderful to know that some things don't change and though only a 1/yr occasion nowadays (unfortunately, but such is the reality when living in China) seeing friends is what life is about, not emails! Thankfully the unmarried of us were still the majority (not the case at the bigger reunion last weekend that I missed) but those of us who were single were not! Do young British people get married any more? In lesser numbers than our parents' generation, but they definitely do.
Awaking to find last night's clothes on the floor not smelling of smoke was a great start to a sunny day and trip home via Ian & Hannah's in Stourbridge. Smoke-free nightlife is fantastic -though now high streets are distinguished by small groups shivering outside the entrance smoking. I should have invested in the companies that sell big outdoor heaters that many bars have bought. Even the pubs in Stourbridge (where i seem to spend far too much time, and where Ian seems to live!) have them!