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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Small Phil in a Big World

Who needs Salzburg when you've got got Salford...

They're basically the same, but the Sound of Music tour is just a walk past Liam Gallagher's house.

Anyhoo, I'm back from Manchester, and what's more, I've got the certificate to prove it...

It's a lot like last year's, but they've given up on the fancy fonts and started calling me Phil. They've also made a better job of underlining 'Retinal Screeners' with a vein.

Our journey up to the North West on Thursday was surprisingly easy. Mainly because I wasn't doing the driving. I felt it was more important to prepare for the conference by getting into the mindset of a type 2 diabetic, so I spent the journey napping and eating chocolate biscuits.

We arrived at the Travelodge shortly after midday, and having paid extra for an early check-in, went straight inside to collect our keys. I was given room 305, or the Peugeot Suite as I like to think of it, so while my colleagues waited for their rooms to be assigned, I headed upstairs to make myself at home.

To be honest, room 305 wasn't quite what I expected. I felt the ambience was spoilt somewhat by the unmade bed, full bins, dirty laundry all over the floor and wet towels in the bathroom. In fact I wondered if the room was ready at all. I was just considering whether to travel back downstairs and lodge a complaint about my reception at the desk, when I heard a key in the door. I assumed it was a member of staff come to apologise. It wasn't. It was one of my colleagues. She'd been given room 305 too. I presume it was some kind of matchmaking attempt.

Fortunately the girl on reception gave us a full explanation for the mistake. Apparently it had "been one of those mornings". So with new (and separate) rooms on the seventh floor, we headed back upstairs. This time I had room 711, which was a far more convenient store for my belongings. It was clean, tidy, spacious, and had an iron burn on the floor to remind me of home.

We didn't want to hang about at the Travelodge, which was handy as the fire alarm went off after fifteen minutes, and by 12:30 we were heading along the road to the Renaissance Hotel for an all-inclusive buffet lunch. I liked the Renaissance. It has fifteen floors, the conference suites are upstairs, and the three lifts will only hold about five people each before the weight alarms go off. Let's just say we used the stairs a lot.

The facilities were very nice though, and they make a mean banoffee pie. And syrup pancake. Not to mention the chocolate brownies. I liked the strawberry dessert too, but it didn't leave much room for the apple turnovers.

Anyhoo, I wasn't just there to eat. I drank a lot too. We also had a conference to attend. They squeezed it in between coffee breaks. So we spent the afternoon discussing all manner of screening issues, medical facts and important topics, many of which I'd share with you if I could remember what they were.

What I do recall is the 90-minute break between the afternoon conference and the evening meal. Having phoned Lisa and Amelie to check they were still alive, I headed out for a stroll around Manchester city centre. They've got a big wheel, but the details looked hazy...

It's like the London Eye with cataracts.


Dave said...

I'd complain about paying for this freebie from my taxes.  If I were a tax-payer.