So I had gotten through immigration, now I just have to collect my bags. Note the plural. I checked in two bags at Brisbane. Only one came out at Manchester. I waited around for half an hour for my first bag to come out, and then stood around for much longer than that waiting for the second. People started to drift away, until I was left with a handful of other people. The baggage guys came out from the back and said ”That’s it. No more.”. So after another half an hour waiting in line to see the lost baggage people I discovered my other bag was in Perth. Terrific. I filled out some forms, gave them the address of where I was staying, and then finally, more than twenty-six hours after I left Australia, I was free, and in the UK.
My cousin John was there to meet me. He’d been waiting for two and a half hours, but he seemed happy to see me. I was just glad he hadn’t left and gone home already. It was about 2pm Thursday afternoon local time by the time we were in his car, driving through the English countryside towards Liverpool. It was overcast, there were funny road signs, and I was bloody freezing, but overall it seemed a lot like home. I hadn’t seen John since he came over for Pa’s funeral in September last year, so we had a lot of catching up to do. It was a nice drive, but I had a bit of trouble not falling asleep. John lent me his mobile and I rang home, but I only got the answering machine. It would be late Thursday night back home, but everyone was out! Mum was probably celebrating my leaving ^_^ I dozed on and off for the next half an hour, until we arrived in Oxton village, on the outskirts of Liverpool.
John lives in a two story townhouse, right next door to a pub (but it is an “old person’s pub” according to John) and across the road from a Chinese restaurant (which sells chips!). Jackie (John’s wife) was waiting for us (we were two hours late after all), and she made me a large cup of coffee while I got settled. After putting away my bags (minus one) they took me into Liverpool for the afternoon to get a drink and see some sights. The idea was to keep me active and doing stuff so that I wouldn’t fall asleep and suffer from serious jetlag when I awoke at 3am the next morning. We drove through a two mile tunnel under the River Mersey from Birkenhead to Liverpool, and then we were out into the city itself. It was cold, and my Aussie jacket wasn’t helping me much, so we went into this little café on the waterfront and I got introduced to English beer… Yes well after that I started ordering Foster’s (of course it is brewed in Edinburgh, but it’s still about as close to an Aussie beer as you can get).
After spending the afternoon in Liverpool we drove back to Oxton Village and then walked to this little Jazz restaurant just down the road from John’s place. John and Jackie are regulars there, and so even though they were holding a function later in the night, we managed to get a table at the back, and sat down to some terrific food. I had this extremely thick blue cheese soup as an appetiser which completely wiped away any memory of airplane food. I followed that up by having a large lamb roast, but I couldn’t finish it all in the end. By this point I was drinking double espressos to keep me awake. While we were there this TV crew had shown up to interview some female politician that was supposed to speak at this function later in the night. I had no idea who she was but John and Jackie said she was the former health minister or something like that. Anyway I for a while we were totally oblivious to them being there, and at one point one of them started talking really loud, and so I of course raised my voice. Now those who know me know that I have a very loud and very distinctive voice. It’s quite common for someone to hear me coming far before they see me. Anyway Jackie told me afterwards that the TV guy was actually interviewing this politician live, and that I was drowning her out in the background. Woops. I wasn’t the only one who stuffed up there though. In the middle of the interview the politicians mobile phone rang. She let it ring out at the time, but afterwards we overheard he saying that it was her friend ringing her to say ”You’re on TV!. Stupid.
So after a great dinner we went back to John’s place and sat down to watch some British TV. It’s much like TV back home, expect with different accents. I was practically falling down at this point, but I stayed awake a little longer and gave mum another call. I actually got onto her this time, and reassured her that I was ok, I had arrived safely and all was right with the world. Then I promptly fell asleep. My first day in England had come to an end. I’ll continue the rest of the story soon.
It’s been two weeks now since I left home. It feels like forever. I’ve been listening to Star Guitar by The Chemical Brothers a lot recently. Looking at the countryside fly by during my train trip back from Liverpool reminded me of the film clip (I love having broadband in my room! Oh I haven’t explained about that yet fully. More details to come!).

One thought on “Baggage

  1. Fosters? Gaaahhhh, they still think Fosters is Australian for beer 😦
    Oh, and just think, when you get back to aus… Back to dialup!!


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