10 June 2009

Maydays, Maydays, Maydays

It’s been a crazy few weeks, and I’ve owed an update to the blog for some time now. Since Mark’s last post, we’ve welcomed the other Yates brother to Liverpool, explored Manchester through the lens of 80s post-punk bands Joy Division, New Order, the Happy Mondays, and others, celebrated a birthday (Mark’s thirty-third) and I’ve visited Finland, among other marathon business trips, for work. After all that, I was left holding down the fort in Liverpool with Miller while Mark headed home for some much-deserved R&R and time with friends. I kept meaning to post while he was gone, but we got some long-awaited sunshine and warm weather, and I found myself restless in the house and every time I opened the laptop, I would shut it again to grab Miller’s leash and head outside.

First things first: besides the Factory Records tour in Manchester, we also showed Bill some of the local sights here in Liverpool, including another visit to Crosby Beach. I think we can all agree that we don’t need to take anymore people here. Plus, it just seems to get sadder and bleaker with every visit (see previous references to British litter). 

But his trip was quick, and before we knew it we had dropped Bill off at the airport. That night, I took Mark out for a great meal at 60 Hope Street, our new favourite restaurant in the city, as part of a belated birthday celebration. Then, it was off for a few nights visiting customers down south and then back to Liverpool to catch a flight to Helsinki.

I had been really excited for my Finland trip, but I can’t say that it was particularly memorable. I hadn’t mentally prepared myself to spend over nine hours a day in a trade show booth, and our hotel location (abutting the airport, a €30 taxi ride from the city) didn’t lend itself much to exploring. Nevertheless, we managed to see a bit of downtown and enjoyed the crazy daylight hours (the sun didn’t set til after 11pm each night) while walking the cobblestone streets of Senate Square. I also managed to convince my colleagues to spend our final evening having dinner in this gem of a restaurant, and I highly recommend you take some time to explore the website and the dinner menu. I had the sautéed reindeer, which was… interesting. Glad I tried it, but don’t know if I will be having it again any time soon.

My arrival home was bittersweet, as I only had two nights with Mark before he departed on his own trip. I dropped him off at the airport at 445AM, bleary-eyed and with a confused Miller in the back, and couldn’t help but feel jealous.

That weekend, to stave off depressing homesickness and loneliness, I took Miller for a long early morning walk (we’ve got some friends along the route, now) and returned home to find 20 roses on our doorstep; a seven-year anniversary gift from Mark.

I cleaned up the flowers and then headed in to the farmer’s market. There was fresh rhubarb and tiny strawberries, asparagus, lettuce, and all sort of other gems. I found myself filling my bag with all sorts of vegetables, fresh bread (though, to be honest - £2 for a loaf of bread is just stupid), and some spicy North African merguez sausage, pushed into my hands by a very vocal butcher armed with a knife the size of my thigh. I couldn’t say no.

The streets were also full of photographers, armed with digital SLRs and patrolling our little street and the Lark Lane market. I did a little sleuthing online and discovered this flickr photo set and thought I would share. The shots of the street full of plantings and flowers is our street, and the guy with the crazy hair is our kayaking neighbour. I think his name is Steve, and he literally kayaks almost every day - though I’m not sure where. All the flowers are grown and taken care of by another neighbor, Brian, who is also helping me plant some flowers in our backyard.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing errands, cleaning, long walks with the dog, cooking some more and trying desperately not to eat all the strawberry rhubarb crumble immediately. I succeeded, but only kind of. (I saved a bite for Monday morning, just so I could say it lasted three days).  

And, actually, the rest of the week was sort of more of the same.

I have to confess, another reason I haven’t posted is because I’ve been fighting a sort of, not really, but kind of can’t ignore maybe-depression. Chalk it up to homesickness, belated adjustment to a new home, or a combination of other things (and those of you we’ve been speaking to know what I’m talking about), I’ve just been finding it more and more difficult to ignore.  I am trying to stay focused on the positive, though, and am looking forward to my own trip home as a way to recharge.

So, come to think of it, I’d better head to bed. My 4AM wake-up is only five hours away...

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