Liverpudlians and Edinburghers.

It’s surprisingly somehow getting increasingly more difficult to keep these posts up, especially considering that I generally have increasingly more time to write about things. That fact, however, is perhaps why I’m having trouble getting things down in the first place. It wouldn’t be such a great read (for any party) if I wrote three posts about my time on the couch recovering from a cold and struggling to get mobile Wi-Fi up and running – though if there is a market for that sort of thing, please don’t hesitate to introduce me. The past week-and-a-bit hasn’t been exclusively drab, in fact I’d say some content is the extreme opposite. **

* It has now been a week since I started writing this blog post, so in this instance ‘past’ now means long ago. And I’m quite disappointed in myself for putting this off for so long. But finished late is better than not finished at all, right? *

I had a fairly long week planned, starting with a trip to Liverpool to see my godfather and his partner. The last time I went to Liverpool I was very young, so the city was almost completely new to my eyes. The last time I saw Richard and Julie, however, was only two years ago and it was one of my favourite (albeit short) days of that few months. So I was looking forward to spending time with them in their home city, right from the moment we managed to organise meeting up. We had a pleasantly long lunch in the sunshine and met up with two of Richard’s colleagues for a few shandies at the pub, and I (as I usually do in the sun) ended up with a tight red face. But since it was such nice weather, we had a mixed barbecue for dinner out in Julie’s back yard – an interesting choice for Richard, as he is admittedly horrible at barbecues. Over the brief time I’ve spent travelling, I’ve discovered a few things I love to do and will attempt to do more of when I get back home. Sitting out on the porch with the barby on, family beside me and a beer in hand is one of them. It was quite simply a very nice evening.

The best thing about having an architecture teacher as a godfather is that I had access to a walking, talking, human (not to mention genuine) guide to the buildings of Liverpool. Since I only had a day in the city, Richard offered to show me the wonderful architecture Liverpool had to offer – a small portion of which his grandfather designed. The waterfront is home to one of the most interesting sites I’ve managed to see in the UK: a dark courtyard of water walled in by rectangular prisms of red brick and concrete walkways. It’s a real shame I didn’t take any photos of Liverpool – the reason why is simply because I’m a bloody idiot, so please don’t ask – as I am probably butchering the description of this place. I didn’t even take any snaps of the exhibition I visited earlier that day in the Victoria Gallery and Museum. Although I’ve never been a comic book reader and fan, I do love watching the adaptions to film comic stories make. I was therefore intrigued to explore the small exhibition dedicated to the comic book artist, writer and mainly colourist John Higgins. It was interesting to see the variety of style, from Watchmen to Judge Dredd and more (that I can’t remember). Interesting would not be the word to describe the coffee I had at the museum café. Terrible would be more fitting.

Taking the train(s) to Newcastle gave me time to think about what I wanted to do for the next couple of days before heading off to Edinburgh. But since I had a cold, I leant towards staying inside and doing nothing. Well, until Thursday night. A mate of mine from uni had been in Newcastle for five months prior to my arrival, and we met to catch up and drink a couple of beers in town. It didn’t stop at a couple of beers, of course. We ventured to a few bars, one of which was particularly expensive and loud, and parted ways sometime early morning. I must’ve walked back to the flat in Jesmond; memory certainly served me well that night! The next day, I packed up my bag for the bus ride up to Edinburgh. For a weekend I was (almost) sure was going to be (partly) exploring the Scottish capital. But that’s not exactly how events unfolded. I’m very tempted to say these couple of days were far better than I could’ve ever predicted.

I was expecting to be met with my cousin, his fiancé and a nice meal either in their apartment or a pub nearby. My cousin Jamie picked me up from the train station, informed me that it would just be the two of us – Hannah was away on a hen’s do – cooked up some pizza and cracked open some beer. It was around 8pm that we decided to have a night in drinking, partying and playing around with Jamie’s DJ set. And (sorry to force the callback) the best thing about having a DJ as a cousin is that I had a personal, and quite good, music-mixer on hand. One of Jamie’s good friends joined us and our mini party lasted till the early hours of the morning. If two nights of boozing wasn’t enough, the third really did make it a bender. A chill lunch out turned into a few hours of drinks, and a short dinner was the only break we had before Jamie’s set at a bar he frequently DJs at. And as part of the one-man entourage, I received – well, I ordered them first – many free gin and tonics. Unsurprisingly, I felt utterly awful the next day. The train back to Newcastle wasn’t fun.

I can safely say that weekend was an absolute blast, even though I didn’t see much of Edinburgh beyond my cousin’s apartment and two bars. In fact, a large chunk of the time I couldn’t see beyond the immediate metre in front of me.

For the sake of continuity and transparency, I should mention that I made a trip up to the beach town of Beadnell with my grandparents (on my mum's side). I say this not only because this happened just before I went to Liverpool, but also as the photograph I have used is of Beadnell. These facts shouldn't, however, downplay the pleasure I took in visiting their home once again and spending some quality time with them. 

I’m almost at the end of my journey now. However, there’s one more post to come and a damn lot to unpack and delve into. I will (or at least attempt to) write the final chapter of this trip on the flight home.

Things of note from (kind of) recent days:

- Spending time with family can be more fun as adults.

- It’s much harder to recall events if you don’t write about them soon after occurrence.

- A weekend of getting trashed doesn’t help a cold.

Quila Charnock