Diary of an English woman’s holiday in England
So I haven’t actually posted properly for AGES and part of the reason is because I went home to England in February.
I was finally going to have the chance to experience what it’s like to holiday in your home country. I’d lived in South Korea for almost a year and it was time for me to come home on a 3 week holibob.
I’d spent 5 months getting really excited about seeing my family and friends. The only downside to this trip was that Ash and I had been given different holiday dates from our separate schools, which meant he’d been back from his 3 week holiday for 4 days and then I left for 3 weeks!
I left our apartment early and caught the KTX faster train to Seoul. Met my NZ friends at Seoul station to say goodbye as they were leaving Korea and then got the train to Incheon airport.
I had to catch two flights. The first was 11.5 hours. I got off in Amsterdam shattered and waited a few hours for my connecting flight to Birmingham, England. After a one hour flight I was back in England. It was very surreal understanding everything I was reading, not being shoved around with my suitcase by brightly coloured ajummas or having children gasping at me.
Anyway I’ve tried to summarise my activities in to a little diary. So, here’s what I got up to:
Wednesday 30th January – Arrived home, met by my sister Liz and niece Brogan and driven from Birmingham to Coventry. Got very excited when they gave me a packet of Salt and Vinegar Walkers and a bottle of Lucozade. My parents were still on holiday so was met by my other sister Sharon who showered me in late Christmas gifts and more Lucozade. Ate my first crisp sandwich in a year and went to bed (tried unsuccessfully to sleep through due to jetlag).
Thursday 31st January – Chilled at my parent’s and saw both of my brothers (Desmond and Kevin). Went for my first pub dinner, at The Greyhound in Coventry with lifelong friends Lisa and Jennifer and their husbands and another lifelong friend Annie. Ate Steak and Ale pie with mash potato and drank a proper yummy cider!
Friday 1st February – My lovely friend Craig came from Manchester to Coventry en route to his holiday. Took him sightseeing in Coventry, had lunch and laughs and sent him on his way. Went out for dinner with my brothers, sister and their (grown up) children in the evening but was so jet lagged I couldn’t even drink alcohol!
Saturday 2nd February – Caught an early coach up to Manchester for big friend’s reunion and party time! First I went to Laura and Steve’s for lunch and played with their gorgeous toddler Amber. Then to Alan and Nailah’s little girl Poppy’s first birthday party. Then to the apartment building where a few of my friends live and my wife Julesy made me dinner.
Later in the evening we went to The Kings Arm pub in Salford, one of my faves in Manchester. There a big group of us had drinks, caught up and had fun. Afterwards we went to Bohemian Grove, a club night at Islington Mill, where I got extremely drunk and emotional!
Sunday 3rd February – Licked my hangover wounds and then went to meet some friends I met through Ash: Ant, Annie, Katy, Dave, Meg, Joe, Ian and Lorna, for a smashing Sunday lunch at Gorilla (owned by Trof for those in the Mancunian know). Collapsed in the evening and ate lots of cheese.
Monday 4th February – Went for lunch with my old workmates. My parents were staying at my aunts near Manchester after flying back from their holiday, so I caught the tram over and had a reunion with them! They drove back to Coventry with me in the back later that evening.
Tuesday 5th February – Stayed in Coventry with some friends and family.
Wednesday 6th February – Met my old school friend Krysy for lunch and a catch up.
Thursday 7th February – Once again caught the train to Manchester. Met my friend Jess for lunch and had dinner with some buddies before staying at Jules’ house, ready to go on our weekend country getaway the next morning.
Friday 8th February – Woke up unbelievably excited. Jules and I went to meet Tracey at the train station. We were going to a mansion in the countryside just outside of Chesterfield to meet up with about 20 other lovely friends for a weekend of fun and frolics together. Arrived and the house was AMAZING! Met the owner who was a bit weird but nice.
Anna and Jules made us all a mean chilli that evening and we ate it around a very grand dining table in the dining room. After that we all got very drunk, danced around to 90s music, frolicked in the hot tub, investigated all the rooms in the house and whoops, got told off for having a sub woofer speaker on too loud It was a late one!
Saturday 9th February – Pretty much everyone was feeling hungover and rough so most of the day was spent lying down and groaning. Anna, girl Rowan and I decided to investigate the local village and pub but made a wrong turn (the house is between two villages) and ended up in a weird area being stared at!
We finally walked to the right village and met some of the others for hair of the dog in a local pub before going back to the house.
Saturday night was the main event of the weekend and we had a fancy dress party after dinner. I have never laughed so much as when we were all sat in the front room watching ‘Take me out’ in fancy dress. The theme was circus/freak show and everyone got in to the spirit. Click on the gallery and take a look at our costume pictures, there are some right corkers. I love my friends but they are a bunch of weirdos. Thanks to the amazing photography by Rowan Williams. Copyright Rowan Williams.
My BFF Jules led an amazing spoof exercise class to 90’s music and we danced around with Clarky’s bike light used as a make shift disco light! It was so much fun! To top off an already amazing night, my friend Tim, had told me he couldn’t come. However at 11pm on the Saturday I got a brilliant surprise when he turned up, having caught a late train all the way from London!
Sunday 10th February – Said some hungover sad goodbyes and spent the whole day snoozing and feeling rough!
Monday 11th February – Cleaned the house and left. Went to collect a Geocache with Jules, Tim and Tracey, then said our goodbyes at the train station and went back to Coventry. Got to spend a bit of time with my parents that night but nowhere near enough.
Tuesday 12th February – Caught yet another train, this time at lunchtime to Brighton via London. I went to visit Ant and Annie who had not long moved down from Manchester. In the evening we went to watch Brighton Hove Albion vs Blackburn and got a bit tiddly!
Wednesday 13th February – Walked in to Brighton centre with Annie. God I love Brighton, with its cool little shops, beautiful architecture and vast choice of delicious restaurants. We waited for Ant to finish work at lunch time and went to an amazing cheese shop/restaurant in Hove. Stuffed ourselves absolutely silly with cheese and wine, ate some delicious cheese in truffle oil and also some absolutely disgusting Stinking Bishop. We were lucky that the table next to us were having a lesson about cheese so we could listen in on the experts who knew literally everything.
Afterwards we walked along the sea front, played games in the amusement arcade on Brighton Pier, ate delicious ginger biscuit flavoured ice cream, went for a Fish and Chips dinner and then went to see Robin Ince do stand up. He was excellent but we were so tired Ant and I kept nearly falling asleep!
Thursday 14th February – Ant walked me to station and I caught the train back to London to meet Gemma. Went to a really good light exhibition at The Hayward Gallery with her, Laura and girl Rowan and then for a mooch and tea and scones at The Tate Modern.
We met Tim later for a very romantic (not!) Valentine’s dinner at a little Italian restaurant, before spending the evening in the pub and then back at Tim and boy Rowan’s (who we woke up!) drinking and dancing- on a school night too. I think Tim and Gemma might have hated me the next day. Rowan definitely did! Sorry ginger brother from another mother!
Friday 15th February – Spent about a million hours trying to get back to Coventry where my dad picked me up over half an hour late. Chilled with my parents and sister at home and my nephew Kyle bought my beautiful great niece (I know right! I’m too young to be a great aunt!) Lola, who is three round and I played shop with her for ages. So cute!
Saturday 16th February – Did a bit of shopping with Liz and my brother in law Fred, before meeting my niece and her boyfriend. Most of my extended family went out for curry and some drinks that night. My brother Kev wasn’t there though and that’s why I think it ended up being a tame one 😉
Sunday 17th February – Spent the day catching up with my family.
Monday 18th February – Went shopping for souvenirs and emergency supplies like HP sauce with my sister, then took my parents out for a farewell lunch. Managed to have a quick natter with my mate Jen who lives up the road in the evening too!
Tuesday 19th February – I’m probably a bit silly for doing this but on Tuesday I caught another train up to Manchester and spent three hours in agony getting a tattoo on my leg. I love it though! Shame I can’t flash it too much in Korea. I managed to quickly meet Craig and Jules before getting my train home for goodbye hugs. Then spent the evening with my parents and getting visits from my brother’s family.
Wednesday 20th February – Up at the crack of dawn to get my flight back to Korea for my second year teaching.
It’s crazy how quickly those three weeks went. I had an amazing time but as you will have read above it was crazy hectic. I’d have liked an extra week to spend more time at home but cest la vie! I think I pretty much managed to do everything one would want to on a trip to England. Spent time in the Midlands, went to The North, experienced cool cities, stayed in a mansion in the country, went to see a football match, spent a lot of time in pubs, went to the seaside and played in amusement arcades, visited London, went to art galleries and walked across tower bridge. I even rode a red London bus!
Thanks to everyone who made this trip perfect. It’s made me value my family and friends even more (I wasn’t sure that was possible) and has made me realise that it doesn’t matter if I live on the other side of the world they will always be there for me!