Last weekend I went on a trip to Manchester to visit two of my friends from high school, as it was one of my friend’s birthday on Friday.  Of course before birthday celebrations could begin, I had to get there. L is studying in Manchester (the Royal Northern College of Music if you must know; yes I am like a proud mother) and A is studying Psychology in our home city of Leeds so basically L was sat waiting for the emergency calls to come in as we veered widely round the north.

I managed to get onto the train fine, despite having to wake up far too early for a Saturday morning.  I made friends with a woman on the platform doing that thing where one person talks to the hi-vis vest people and the other happens to be on the same train and so also listens in, thus bonding the two people together for the rest of the trip.  Why I can talk to this lady and yet can’t speak to people in my seminars is lost on me.  It was as I settled into my seat that I realised I had crossed Nottingham at 7am with a bottle of wine and thought that it was the closest I was getting to a wild student lifestyle.

However here’s the thing.  Manchester has many stations.  I was told to change at Manchester Piccadilly to get to Manchester Victoria where my friends were because that is what the Trainline told me to do and I instinctively trusted the Trainline because Train is in their title so they should know about that shouldn’t they?  It’s basically their job description.  I decided to check the platform so I could run straight over and this is when I made a discovery.  There are no trains between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria.  They don’t exist.  This was something of a shock, as you might be able to guess.  Why you would advertise a train service THAT DOES NOT EXIST and then BOOK SOMEONE ONTO THAT TRAIN is really beyond me.  At this point I would usually panic but I had been awake several hours and was on the more dozy side of tired so I did the first thing that came to mind.  Outsource the problem and hope it goes away.  I texted L for help.

Quickly L decided that if I was to talk the tram I could somehow end up in the backstreets of Sheffield (which I felt was underselling my skills.  I could end up in the Gulf of Mexico I am sure).  I was instructed to stay on the train to Manchester Oxford Road and to await further instructions.  L was Q without the technological abilities and I was James Bond on a mission, but with a penchant for following the rules.  So nothing like them really.

This was when we realised A had been awfully quiet.  I jokingly said that perhaps I was the diversion from the real problem which was that A was on the wrong train.  Then we were quiet for a moment as the real possibility of that sunk in.  At this point I had to get off the train and so all I could really do was wait.  And wait.  And then I was bored and wanted to see my friends so I took a taxi over to Manchester Victoria.  Turns out A was on a slightly later train and can indeed safely navigate her way through an hour train journey.   Also turns out she had told L and L had forgotten.  We are not particularly good at organisation.

So I managed to get to Manchester.  We wandered round, went on a blind-book date at Waterstones, ate a lot of junk food, and best of all, we went to the Cat Cafe in the evening to watch E.T.  The cutie that was Joel was our best friend but that was mainly because we had popcorn.  He really wanted the popcorn.  He was very offended we would not give him the popcorn.  We came into his house and we dared to not give him what he wanted?  What cruel humans we were!  There was also Aslan who decided that as all the cats were sleeping, he was going to play with the nosiest toys and run around like a madman.  It was very cute and I will be visiting the Cat Cafe in Notts soon!

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Joel the cutie: This may look sweet but actually we’re restraining him from advancing on the popcorn bowl

I will be making a post about the other cafe we went to because it was super awesome so keep ears out for that and if you have read any of the books we picked up I’d love to know what you thought of them!

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