I took Thursday afternoon off work and drove halfway across the country to Bradford. It was a long drive but fairly easy and there wasn’t too much traffic. Where the M62 crosses the Pennines just north of Manchester you go through some very beautiful country side. The M62 is the highest point on the UK motorway network at 1442 feet above sea level.
I got to Sam’s house at around 6.20pm after having driven around Bradford city centre a number of times. It appears that a number of roundabouts have been changed or removed since the map I was using had been published. Bradford has been quite sympathetic in its architecture with modern buildings blending in with the industrial and commercial buildings of the past.
Sam lives on a lovely looking street of what I would call classic industrial town two up two down terrace housing. I failed to take a picture. I was going to but I forgot. There is a big difference in housing prices between the north and the south. Sam pays about a third of our rent per month yet lives in a larger house.
When I arrived Jamie was also there and talking on the phone to her mum in America. A little later Dave arrived, one of Sam’s friends from Leeds, and then we all went to catch a train into the centre of Bradford. We went to a bar called The Gasworks which was a bit of a culture shock for me as they were playing quite aggressive rock and metal. Sam was expecting a more punk/rock/ska night but apparently they had changed after the DJ quit. We saw two rather dire bands. The first of which, The Hit And Runs, had a lead singer who really wasn’t very good at singing. The second band, Lo-Ego, was just plain weird with the lead singer loving himself far too much and requiring, for an unknown reason, two microphones. The evening itself was fun thanks to the company even if the sound system left my ears ringing for two days! We headed back to Sam’s house at about 2am (taxis are really cheap in Bradford) and watched some Eddie Izzard on TV before going to bed. I put all my photos on my gallery.
Friday was mostly spent lazing around in Sam’s house. Jamie and Dave had to leave early, Jamie needing to catch a connection in Leeds to get back to London. Mark arrived mid-afternoon after also getting lost in Bradford. We went for a curry, my first proper curry, in the early evening. I had chicken masala with fried rice which was surprisingly good. We then went to a student pub near the university for a drink before heading back to Sam’s house. Mark spent most of the rest of the evening trying to get Sam’s computer to play sounds on YouTube videos but he didn’t have much luck in the end.
Saturday brought a relatively early start in order to get to Chester for 11am. We were due in Chester for the Queen Fan Club Workshop meeting where we were going to discuss ideas on how the fan club can be brought up to date with new technology and also how it could offer more benefits for fans. I drove in my car and Sam went with Mark. I managed to get to Chester first and parked in a long stay car park by the river (£4.50 for the whole day). I walked toward the pub we were meeting in, Ye Oldie Kings Head owned by Ken Testi, and spotted Frank and Jen Tunny walking along the high street from the opposite direction. Sam and Mark arrived about half an hour later.
When the meeting was convened we went into the dining room in the pub where we all sat down with Jacky from the fan club and her friend Matt, Frank, Jen, Jim Jenkins, Ken, Amey and her friend Sarah, Rob Dean, Julie, Vern and Wayne Plant. We spent ages discussing various ideas and what could be done with the web site and the convention. Ken kept us supplied with food and drink. The time flew past and before we knew it it was 5pm. We finished up and went downstairs to the bar where the non drivers had a few drinks. We waited around for Libby who was going to come up from Wrexham to say hello and had a drink with her while watching Doctor Who on the TV in the pub. We then set off following Jacky on a pub crawl around the city. I left at around 8.30pm as I had to drive down to my parents in Stafford.
Chester is a lovely city with lots of interesting shops and pubs. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to have a good look around but I will have to go back at some point.
The drive to Stafford was very easy and the motorway was almost deserted.
On Sunday my parents took me to lunch at The Holly Bush Inn. We all had very nice steaks and for desert I had a champagne and white chocolate tort. I got back to Bristol at 6pm.