Some 7 weeks after my wife was told about Emma, she met the rest of my friends and partners in Manchester.
Packing for the weekend proved to be somewhat more fraught than usual due to the fact that not only was our eldest daughter at home, accompanied by her boyfriend, our youngest was home with her boyfriend and to top it off my father in law was also staying whilst he painted the front of the house.
Painting my toe nails a bright red on the Saturday morning proved interesting as was packing a case as I still had not decided what dress to wear that evening and whether to wear jeans or a skirt out in the early afternoon. Obviously I therefore had to take 6 pairs of shoes with me – just in case! My wife, on the other hand was more organised and was able to squeeze her clothes into the remaining space in our suitcase and in the shoulder bag.
Driving up to Manchester on the Saturday lunchtime, my wife expressed her concern in meeting everyone for the first time (although she had met up with Kate and Tina in Bob mode already together with their wives)
This time we were staying at the Days Inn Hotel just outside the village on Sackville Street and were pleased to find our room was ready this time when we arrived.
Thankfully, the double room we had booked was considerably bigger than the single that I had stayed in before Christmas for the Northern Angels Xmas meal, though a lot less spacious than the Atrium apartments which would have been our first choice had there been any vacancies.
Getting ready I chose to wear my jeans and an orange top with my new wedge sandals whilst my wife plumped for a similar outfit. My make up seemed to take less time than ever and we were soon ready to leave and meet up with Kate, Karen, Mandy and Dianne at Taurus.
Taking the lift down to the foyer accompanied by my wife was a really great feeling and strolling out through a busy reception without any fuss, set up the day.
Outside, the streets were very busy in the warm sunshine and as we made our way up Sackville Street to the canal, we were just two women in the throngs.- (No I said throngs!!!) Outside all the bars, there were large numbers of people drinking and taking in the sunshine, certainly no place to have any doubts about yourself. My wife was a lot more comfortable this time as we wove our way through the crowds on Canal Street than the previous first time out.
At Taurus, we met up with my friends, Kate, Dianne and Karen having been shopping and Mandy like ourselves, just joined. Happy hour encouraged us to have another bottle of the excellent house wine – a Pinot Grigio whilst catching up on gossip.
As the girls drifted away, we all arranged to meet up at View for pre dinner drinks and so we returned to the hotel to get changed.
The moment of truth, what dress? Well unfortunately the purple dress proved to be too difficult to get on due to the side zip and so I resorted to my new LBD combined with fishnet tights with a rose pattern superimposed on them and peepholed silver shoes with a black lace overlay. The dress finished 4” above the knee and was very stretchy and fitted really good over my corset. I changed my make up for more of an evening look and accompanied by my wife looking resplendid in her red and white spotted dress we rode the lift down to reception and made our way out onto the streets.
I felt a million dollars as I strolled alongside my wife up to Canal Street. On the way, a young Asian bloke hung out of the back of a car and just as it was pulling away shouted out “asking if I was a bloke or a woman!” – I shouted back “asking him if he was black or white!” Making our way through the crowds of people milling around, I felt really relaxed apart from having to continually pull down my dress as it headed North with little encouragement! There were a couple of hen parties out and about and some large groups both blokes and mixed together with a few other “girls” as we made our way to View.
At View we met up with the rest of the gang including Lisa and after a quick drink, trooped out and down the street to Villagio’s where we enjoyed a lovely meal. Initially the place was quite empty but by the time we were paying the bill, it was full.
After the meal we went to Via for a drink or two but for me it was too loud to be sociable and initially very busy, until towards midnight it thinned out a touch. We then moved onto Napoleon’s where we re joined the rest of our group for a drink and some dancing. By 2am, we were showing signs of wear and tear and so Kate, Mrs. Kate, Mandy, my wife and I bade the others good night and walked back in the cool night air to our hotel.
The next morning, we had decided to meet up for breakfast at Velvet and so got ready for a Sunday morning. This time I chose to wear a long flowing skirt from M&S with a favourite crochet style cream top over a chocolate brown camisole, and white peep toe shoes. My wife stayed with leggings an a red top and her wedge sandals.
Having got to reception, we waited for Kate and Mrs Kate to join us and then strolled together back up to Canal Street in the morning sunshine. The feeling being out in the sunshine dressed and in wonderful company is difficult to explain but it is something that will remain with me for as long as I live and an experience I will be able to draw down on when times may be somewhat more sombre or in deepest winter.
Sitting outside enjoying smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, outside in the sunshine adjacent to the canal locks was again an experience not to be forgotten and one I hope to enjoy many more times to come. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and after finishing our breakfast, we sadly had to leave Kate and Mrs Kate and walk back to the hotel to get changed and check out.
4 years ago