I have a confession to make. Ever since my sister’s wedding, I’ve been feeling a bit homesick.
It’s easy enough to buy real English muffins, some Cadbury’s chocolate or an overpriced copy of the Guardian here in Prague these days should I feel the need to. However, I think the fact that I really might spend the rest of my life in a foreign country — albeit a rather nice one — has finally sunk in, with the result that I crave the company of family and friends in England more than before.
Fortunately for me, the nice people at jet2 came to the rescue by offering me a free flight home in exchange for a post about my adventures — so here it is.
Reason Not To Take A Taxi to the Airport #2194
After Taxigate, I went to the airport on public transport.
The bus was super-crowded and I had to stand but I focused on the fact that I was saving at least 400 CZK. I spotted a woman on board with a huge carrier bag rather than a suitcase. It was obvious she’d been sleeping rough. Most likely she was only heading to the terminal to spend the day somewhere warm. When we all got off, I dithered, then decided to chase after to give her some stravenky (luncheon vouchers).
The motto of this story? Don’t bother with taxis — you might miss the chance to do a good deed. Even Czechman approved.
jet2’s safety announcer is Northern!
I recently interviewed David Cerny, the infamous Czech artist responsible for “>that floating obscene hand gesture. He was sweary and hungover. Between expletives, he remarked on my “very British English. You know, like someone on the BBC.”
This might sound like a compliment. Except it’s not. I don’t speak English like a typical BBC news presenter. I sound Northern. I say ‘bath’ rather than ‘barrrth’. My Salford-born mother might have said that we were ‘upper working class’ but she’d disown me if I started trying to ‘sound posh’.
Anyway, the safety announcements on planes are usually made by BBC sounding types. Not on jet2. The voice asking you to stow any hand luggage in the overhead lockers is Northern! In fact, it was Dave Spikey who shot to fame on the cult British comedy series, Phoenix Nights.
Thanks Jet2 — I felt one step closer to home, even before take-off!
Me-time in Manchester
What did I do when I actually made it to Manchester?
Not a lot really.
I had grand plans. A day trip to Liverpool to visit the Tate and the Beatles museum. Some retail therapy in the massive Arndale Shopping Centre. Exploring Manchester’s hip and happening Northern Quarter.
Ok, I admit it. Most of the time I sat on my friend’s sofa, watching bad British TV, drinking tea and eating cake. Here’s the photo evidence:
I did make it out on a few occasions. There was Sunday lunch with my parents — who paid, naturally. I took the tram to Piccadilly Gardens, popped in a couple of shops, then decided my break was supposed to be just that — a break — not an exhausting shopathon. I did have a bit of a wander around the Northern Quarter. I can report it does have some rather nice shops and cafes.
I did take advantage of the generous 22kg baggage allowance by stocking up on a few hard to get bits and pieces: lots of British magazines, some special toiletries and paracetamol (a complete bargain at only 16p a packet). However, the main point of the trip wasn’t retail therapy. I wanted to spend some extra time with family and friends face-to-face, not tons of cash. The fact that my visit happened to coincide with one of the worst storms in Britain for decades made staying indoors all the more appealing.
Check out the grey sky — and the cotton mill converted into fancy apartments, one of many in the city:
One Final Plug for jet2 — and a Question
I was pleasantly surprised by the generous amount of legroom on those Jet2 flights — which I’m also happy to report, both ran on time.
Commercial break over.
Czech readers, I have a question. On the plane journey home, I read Stuart Maconie’s very funny book, “Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North”. He’s from Wigan. You might not find that fact particually amusing but if you’re from the South, the very mention of the word ‘Wigan’ would make you chortle. Loudly. It’s something to do with the fact that they’re fond of pies, apparently.
Is it possible in the Czech Republic to make people laugh just by telling them where you’re from? Enlighten me in the Comments section.
This post was sponsored by jet2 who very kindly offered me a free flight home to Blighty in exchange for a bit of publicity. However, all my opinions remain as ever, my own. Just in case you were wondering.