Monday, March 25, 2013

Pip's Birthday Bash

As our time in the UK draws near to a close, we celebrated Pip's final English birthday on Saturday the 23rd.

The day was rather action packed and actually began the previous evening when her colleagues at Comic Relief baked her cupcakes and brownies before taking her for wines at the exclusive Media City UK club. Waiting patiently at home for her return, I decided as it was technically her birthday in New Zealand so we might as well begin spoiling her now. We took a bus to Home Sweet Home in the Northern Quarter for a very late dinner before retiring home to finish off a bottle of wine.

I was the first to wake up the next morning and like a child at Christmas, I couldn't wait to wake Pip up, so I didn't... pulling her out of a blissful dream and into the harsh reality of turning 24. With the usual coffee-in-bed routine we've had for years, she unwrapped my little gift to her, then after some breakfast we headed out.

Spring officially began on the 21st but today it was lightly snowing, blowing and gale and quite possibly the most wintery day of the year to date. We headed to the Peoples History Museum where there was a vintage fill-a-bag day happening. We paid our pound for a bag and joined the hundreds digging through creates of old clothes trying to find something that looked half decent and might stand a chance of fitting, though there was neither time nor room to indulge in such high street routines. After quarter of an hour we got our four items weighed, paid for it was burst back out into the alpine conditions outside.

A crowd of people fighting over vintage clothing

I am notoriously bad at surprises and Pip generally knows well in advance what I am getting her on most occasions. I did well this afternoon however as all she knew was that we had to be somewhere at 4:30pm. Speculation ensued as she received birthday wishes via a phone call from Holly who had plenty of inappropriate suggestions. Pip did manage to guess a few hours before we had to go after I suggested not eating too much for lunch... "Is it high tea up Beetham Tower by any chance?" Pip asked. Indeed it was.

We made our way to our 4:30 booking and rode the elevator about half way up the tower to Cloud 23, the bar which sits hight above the city. Our waiter had crazy eyes but was a delightful fellow and we enjoyed views along with cakes, scones, and savory treats. High Tea up high was something I'd wanted to do with Pip for a while and I'm glad it was enjoyable despite Holly taking her for High Tea in London just a week ago (When I found out Holly had gotten Pip the very same thing for her birthday, I was devastated though she wasn't to know).

If all this wasn't enough for one day, we traded in the posh heights of Beetham Tower for the gritty underbelly of the Ritz club to see the legendary Johnny Marr perform in his home town. When I bought tickets for this gig, I read the date wrong and thought it was one month earlier. We almost actually went along but I read the ticket at the last minutes only to realise we were one month early. The date then fell on Pip's birthday which wasn't ideal as it was mostly me who wanted to go.

Johnny didn't disappoint as he blasted his way though a very enjoyable set of tunes from his debut solo album and threw in four Smiths songs for good measure. This alone was enough to ensure Pip had a great time.  It was great to see him perform in Manchester and he too was clearly enjoying himself. The highlight for me was his speech about playing his first gig as a professional musician on that very stage with the Smiths in 1982 before launching into 'Big Mouth Strikes Again'. I was very impressed despite the few dull songs and we were both glad to have seen him in his home town.

So now we have four weeks to go here in Manchester. Pip has one week of work remaining, and we are planning and booking our trip home.