I went to Manchester on Wednesday for reasons explained further down the page. Despite decorations and signs to the contrary it turned out they weren't quite ready for Christmas!
Youngest, as predicted, had a ball in Spain last week.
She’s been taken all over Madrid, but also to Toledo and Segovia and indulged with a variety of gifts – from a calendar of teenage fairies through a variety of sweet treats to a copy of Don Quixote (in English) and a Peanuts sweatshirt. She was exhausted when collected on Friday at midnight but also too excited to go to bed until we’d been told more news than we could be expected to absorb. We didn’t see her ‘til lunchtime on Saturday. The gifts we sent went down well. The flapjack was a particular success: they want the recipe! We'll teach Spanishgirl to make it when she visits in March.
Eldest received a conditional offer from Nottingham and an invitation to Manchester for an interview last week. I was requested to accompany her (joy!) and Wednesday was the day we went up. We left the house at 7.25am and parked at the station in time for the train to Cheltenham Spa. There we waited for 40 minutes before getting on a train to Manchester arriving at midday. A hasty 20 minute walk across town took us to the Alan Turing Building for a buffet lunch (pastries with a variety of fillings, rather dry) where we were invited to listen to a lecture on the delights of studying Maths at said university plus a taster lecture. This was to be followed by a tour where parents would be taken off separately. We agreed I didn’t need to hear the lecture and had pretty much had a tour marching through from the station so I decanted at that point for a little retail therapy. Eldest, meanwhile, got on with the programme. She and Husband had visited earlier in the year. The lecture was the same as the one she’d heard, though the taster was interesting (but perhaps not useful?). The tour was also the same and, as last time, failed to show them any accommodation: apparently you have to come on a different day for that… Her interview lasted little more than ten minutes and, apart from a Maths problem, consisted of a chap asking questions whose answers could have been found on her UCAS form. I hope she made a better impression on her interviewer than he did on her! We met up again at 3.30 and pottered around the town centre before heading for the station and some supper. I reduced the cost of the day by booking a 7pm train home so we had a certain amount of hanging about to do. The same route back brought us to our front door just after 11pm. I had good company for my outing, we enjoyed the occasion, but I’m not at all convinced it was worth the cost or the time! When I described the day to Husband he declared me 'Mrs. Grumpy', I dispute this: the day was a novelty and the only other time I went to Manchester I saw no more than the station the inside of a taxi and a meeting room, so I enjoyed my exploration… but I do think the university got the plan wrong, and I am cross about the £130.