Okay, this is funny right? No American has been to Heywood since the War is something we were actually told.
In this post We cover Heywood, Manchester, The Bury Market and Liverpool.
Fun in Heywood
The other day the Gas Man came by to check the electric and gas meters for the house. He and I found one meter but the other eluded us. We searched under the stairs. In the Kitchen. Outside. All over. No bueno. The entire time Steffan and I were chatting away about the fact that we were housesitting to explain why I didn’t know where the meter was. He could tell I was an American.
He told me that he had been to the US when he was 19yrs old (over 20yrs ago he said…and pondered his age for a moment) and had also traveled around Europe using the Couch Surfing website. Steffan wanted to know if we would be using it as well and I said maybe. It’s harder to find couch surfs when you have a family of 4 though.
Anywho, mid way through our chat he looks at me and smiles. He says, “So, you come all the way from the US and decide that Heywood would be a good place to go? No one from the US has been here since the war!” I was laughing and explained that this is probably why we are such a phenomenon in town.
Shawn and Sam came home to Steffan answering the door and they were like…WTH? Who is that guy? We all had a good chuckle and then the chat continued until Steffan realized he’d spent 30 minutes at our place. He asked if he could come back the next day just to chat. I haven’t seen him yet today but it’s still early.
Everyone we have met around town always asks us “Why would you come to Heywood?” It makes us laugh every time.
We’ve met other residents walking their dogs. All are very kind, friendly and curious about us. The Americans. Shawn and Sam met some neighbors who have known the people we are house sitting for, since he was a little boy. Their son is friends with him and they’ve known him most of his life.
When we ask people how long they’ve been in Heywood most respond with their entire lives or that they came from another town or two over. This is a community of generations of families from what we’ve gleaned. They don’t seem to think that any American would find their little town interesting yet THEY haven’t left it. Things to think about huh?
A few days ago we walked all around town checking out the stores. I needed some stuff at the Boots Store (think Walgreens or Rite Aid in the states) so we went all over. We stopped in at Sueper Crafts for Alex who is a crafting fool. We were in the store for at least 20 minutes and chatted up the owner, Sue, while Alex shopped.
It seems like we are constantly talking about ourselves and our trip with locals but they keep asking us where we are from and what the heck we are doing in their little town so we tell them. We also ask them about themselves. Sue opened her shop 11yrs ago after retiring from a job working in airplane logistics. She worked her way up from the bottom many years ago. She loves crafting and she doesn’t use an inventory program for her shop because it would take too much time so she eyes everything and then send it to her accountant for him to determine if she’s on track. Also, Sue and her friends were drinking at the pub one night when they came up with the name from her store. Get it “SUE-per” Crafts? She was a hoot.
Alex bought a bunch of crafting supplies because she loves crafting but also because she started her own business. Check her out at https://www.creativememories.com/user/alex . She has always been artistic and has made cards and letters for people since she was a toddler. She scrapbooks, journals and loves to make handmade gifts of writings for those she cares about. This is the PERFECT job for her to do around the world so order directly from her site if you are in the USA to support her and get awesome products or just contact me and I’ll have her call you for a deal.
Anywho, Alex asked Sue if she could leave her stuff there to pick up before she closes so we could continued walking around town. Sue obliged as long as we were back before 4pm.
We headed off and went in to a bunch of stores and shops to look around. Purchased a few things but mostly boring things like hair coloring products, shampoo, nail polish. Finally we were famished so we headed into Wetherspoons for some lunch. The chips and onion rings were quite amazing and better than the burgers.
We’ve seen Slot machines all over England since we arrived and I asked Alex if she would like to gamble for the first time. I looked up the ages and anyone 18+ can gamble but 16yr old can play the National Lottery and scratch tickets as the exception. She won nothing but enjoyed the experience. There went £10 of ours down the toilet but oh well.
We did go purchase some lottery tickets though. I found that if an American purchases a lottery ticket while they are physically in the UK then they are eligible to collect winnings.
We started heading back to Sueper Crafts to get Alex’s stuff and waited outside while she went in. She comes back out smiling and says that Sue told her that one of her customers told her that there were some American’s in Wetherspoons. Like it was a novelty and all the buzz around town. We were cracking up. What did we do in there to stand out so much? We went to the counter to order like we’re supposed to. We think we behaved at the table…except for Shawn and Sam. They were giggling and being silly boys.
That’s what I mean. Everyone we’ve met is in awe that any Amrican would come to Heywood for a housesit or otherwise when they could go anywhere else in the world.
Shawn went out to the Pub a few nights ago just to get out of the house. He was a bit restless and the pubs are just down the road. He wanted to work on American & English relations. A couple of hours later I get this text and some pictures of him and his new friends. And, on his way back home he wanted to stop and get some fish and chips for all of us. He was told that this place (I’m not going to give the name out because we really didn’t like the food at all) had the best ‘chippy’ around. Well, the fish and chips were nasty as were all of the savory pies. YUCK! But, Shawn had so much fun and really you can’t win em all right?
Moving on to Manchester
The kids took their first dance class in England at the KNT Danceworks in Manchester. It’s an adult studio but we could’t find classes that Sam could take up to his level anywhere else that wasn’t a school he had to be enrolled in. So, we got an exception and he went to class with Alex.
They LOVED their Tap class. Sam says it’s the best tap class he’s ever taken. Alex enjoyed it but her foot had been sore from a previous injury so she sat out the Jazz class after. Sam enjoyed that class too but it was a beginner class so he wasn’t challenged but did enjoy it. They are headed back there tomorrow and to go shopping at Primark. It’s like a Forever 21 in the States. Both kids have shopping fever – especially Sam who is the fashionista of the group. It’s like we have to shed all of our American possessions for European.
While we were walking to their dance class we found these locks on the bridge. While I was saying how cool it was to see the locks Alex was like…um…look in the water – NASTY!
After we dropped the kids off to dance Shawn and I wanted to wander around town. We ended up in Chinatown, saw some cool buildings and took selfies in front of them like proper tourists and also managed to visit two pubs. Here are those pictures.
We went to a Rib restaurant for dinner and enjoyed it immensely. Alex also got a cocktail that she actually enjoyed although it was way too strong for her – A Rum Punch
Fun at the Bury Market
We were bored on Friday so we headed out to the Bury market to eat some local cuisine, see the outdoor markets and see what we could find to send home to the family for fun.
The Bury market is said to be one of the best open markets in Europe. It was fun and a good market to find some good deals and also some not so good ones. We had a great time and met a some people, bought some things and had some coffee.
Alex and I wanted coffee so we first went to a deli. Upon leaving we started walking through all the stalls. We came upon Saporito Deli where we saw some treats in the window that we had to look at. Upon walking in the owner saw my cup of coffee and told me I should be drinking real coffee…from Italy. I told him I LOVED Italian coffee better than any other and that we had the best coffee ever in Italy a couple years ago. He made me a coffee on the house. It was AMAZING. Really, if you can go to Italy just to have the coffee – do so. You won’t regret it.
Shawn and I chatted up the owners, a Husband and wife. She was Italian and he was Irish. They met in Bury of all places. We purchased some desserts, Olives and some delicious sausage from them and went about our way. The sausage was fantastic. Check out Saporito’s Deli if you make it to the Bury Market
There were all sorts of stalls from Cheese, Baked goods, Burty Blood Pudding, Under garments, bags, hair/wigs, and just anything you can imagine. This wasn’t a craft market where people crafted their own goods though other than perhaps the food items. Overall, we had a great and fun day in Bury.
Alex visited her friend Mackenzie in Liverpool on Saturday
Mackenzie and Alex met at Kidstage several years ago and became friends. She and her mom Kim are getting her settled into school at LIPA – Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. She and another boy from Tacoma (also in Washington) are 2 out of 7 students in their same program. She is majoring in Songwriting and Performance and plays a mean piano and has a great jazz voice.
This summer they figured out that they’d be in England at the same time so they wanted to meet up. Alex took the bus and train to Liverpool by herself which was a big first.
Shawn walked Alex to the Bus Stop and saw her off. She met Kim and Mackenzie at the Liverpool Lime station and headed off to the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival where they ate, chatted and had fun and met up with Mackenzie’s friend Nolan from Tacoma for a bit. The left Kim a bit later and headed off in search of Tea & Coffee. They toured her dorm room which was cool for two reasons. Her bedroom window faces the Liverpool Cathedral which is the worlds largest Angelican Cathedral and the 4th biggest in Europe. And, Mackenzie has her own room with shared living space with 3 others so it’s like a 4 bedroom apartment.
They found Penny Lane and took pictures but now have realized that the Peace signs they were showing off are inappropriate as they are flipping the V – or calling someone a wanker here. Good to know. American’s in England right?
Alex had a great time catching up with Mackenzie and then headed home. The plan was for me to meet her at the bus stop at 11:45pm. She caught an earlier bus so that meant Shawn, Sam and I all went. We got there about 30 minutes early as her bus was delayed. The boys were bored so that means it’s time to play. Here’s a video clip of Shawn being a dork:
Hope you enjoyed our adventures outside of the house and house sitting this week. We have actually been ‘home’ quite a bit with the dogs. All are fine and Nelly is on the mend still but is now wearing a cone on her neck because her cheek wasn’t healing as well as her other wounds. She hates the cone.