04 April 2009
One of the best parts about living in Somerville was that we were in very close proximity to my parents. Most couples would worry that being so close to parents (especially retired ones) would result in surprise visits and a lot of obligations to spend time with them. I think the opposite was true for us, as we were the ones who would most often drop in on them for the weekend, take up residence, and not go home until the last possible moment. My parents must have realized quite soon on that they would miss our constant presence and hearing the senseless bickering of Kathleen and I, because they started to plan their visit relatively soon after we had left the US.
They had set their trip up so that we would have to minimize the time needed off from work and yet they would still be able to spend a lot of time with us. They would spend the weekend with us, then take a trip up to Scotland and the Lake District, and then return on for a long weekend back here. This also turned out to be a good plan, because there just isn’t a lot to do around here for long stretches at a time, and having the trip split up took some of the stress of.
For the first weekend, we decided to give them an intro to Liverpool and Manchester. It was a beautiful day on Friday, but unfortunately by Saturday it had turned grey and cold. We did the usual rounds of museums and sites, but where we really scored again was with the food. On Friday, I took them for an amazing lunch at Leaf which despite the horrid sausages Kathleen had on our last trip serves up some amazing other dishes. My parents noted that they felt like they were in Brooklyn and I realized again how much I loved the vibe of the place. That night for dinner, we went out to The Moon and Pea. I still cannot get over how amazing this food is. It is one of the least pretentious environs I have been in, yet the food is incredible. Anyone who comes to visit us should demand a visit here! On Sunday we went to the Museum of Science and explored around the city a bit more.
Since we were looking for new things to do, we decided to ride the gigantic ferris wheel in the city. Kathleen was a bit… well you can see the picture:
She is apparently afraid of heights but managed ok, and we were all proud of her.
The following week at work was super busy for myself and Kathleen had to travel. I skated at night and just generally relaxed while my parents were off having adventures of their own (including clipping a woman’s handbag while they were driving, but I am not going to go into that…).
Kathleen and I were off the following Friday and we took my parents up north to the beach at Formby. I remember one of my parent’s favourite parts of our trip to the Netherlands was just seeing the beach, so I showed them what our beaches look like. Again, they were a total mess from trash but the Irish Sea was quite dramatic. The wind was blowing hard on shore and generated quite a bit of wind swell out in the sea. The waves were not really clean at all but there was some size to them and a few shoulders could be seen… I can’t wait to surf again!
We dined at Paul’s on Friday night which was again excellent, and explored the cathedrals in Liverpool on Saturday. Again, everyone preferred the old traditional Anglican, rather than the new modern Catholic. Kathleen commented about how intimidating it was and I thought a lot about how some religions really profit on putting fear into their congregation. As much as I love the look and feel of the place, it did make me look at in a different manner.
One of the reasons my parents decided to come when they did was that I had signed my mother and I up for the Liverpool Half Marathon. Although the numbers did not fit in exactly with my training, I played around with the schedule a bit and made it work. The race was set for Sunday morning and with all the wind and grey skies the few days prior, we were a bit nervous. There was no need to worry however because we woke up on race day to absolute blue bird skies! It was so bright and sunny, it seemed like the perfect day to get out and run 13.1. Kathleen and my Dad once again got prepared to deliver us to the start, planned out where they would catch us half way, and made arrangements to get to the finish line in time. I’d have to say they both make running these things much easier in terms of transportation, ‘sherpa’ing, and supporting us both. The race itself was wonderful. We ran from downtown Liverpool, through Albert dock and up into some of the better parks in the area. It then wound down to the river and the final 4 miles or so were a long the banks of the river Mersey. It got a bit tight at times so I found myself weaving between people a lot but everyone was in great form and the sights were amazing. However one of the most memorable parts was at the start when my father disappeared amidst the thousands of people gathered. No sooner than we noticed he was gone, we heard a familiar American voice booming over the PA system. He managed to get on the mic and wish my mother and I luck for everyone to hear. I think he enjoyed himself. All in all a great race day and I would highly recommend it for any runners looking for a new race.
Kathleen had to head down to London for some science thingie, so Sunday afternoon and Monday were just my parents and I. Both my mother and I were wiped from the race so we really just relaxed around the house and watched some movies. We decided on the Moon and Pea for dinner again (it does not get old) and then went to a local open mic night that an acquaintance of mine put on. He had wanted my Dad to get up and play his new banjo, but we were all exhausted and called it an early night. All in all, it was a great trip and I was glad to have my parents travel abroad again to visit me. Some people would not really enjoy being abroad with their parents, but I would have to say mine are pretty laid back and it was great (the two bottles of Irish they brought with them were nice too!). I think I give them a good excuse to get out of the neighbourhood from time to time and it was great to have a piece of home around for a few days.
Now it Saturday morning and I am sitting in our dismal Laundromat. I ran 20 miles after work yesterday and it was pretty tough, but the sun is shining and it promises to be a great weekend. We are headed out for a long walk in a bit and then off to the pet store… I think the next post will have some recent pictures of Milldog if we can take the time away from him to update this!