Viv's mum came round to see us in the afternoon, as we got packed. She reckoned that a laptop bag wouldn't be enough for her. Just after the boys got home, it was off to the station for the train to Lime Street. This Merseyrail train was pretty full, but the emptiest of the trains we took, as we wrestled with the London express as far as Stafford, a cross country that was astoundingly packed as far as Wolverhampton, where we got off, decided it wasn't too bad and got back on it as far as New Street. Then another express to Birmingham International.
We got the shuttle to the Hilton Metropole, where three upgraded rooms were there for us. Well, two actually: David's room wasn't made up, so they sent him to another room, which has a chilled bottle of Veuve Cliquot on ice. I checked with reception, and they said, yes, it was comp, so enjoy!
But soon after arriving, we set off to the Eastern Curry Inn in Sheldon, our old favourite. It hasn't changed much since 1990. Five of us ate our fill for less than fifty quid, which is pretty good in anyone's book.
Then back to the hotel to deal with the champagne.
We slept well, woke late and enjoyed the comp breakfast. I tell, you gold preferred membership is pretty good.
Then it was off to Birmingham Int'l station for a day in a major and buzzing city, where we looked around the shops and newly rebuilt city. It reminds me of Fitz in Manchester: "I've only been away seven years and they've rebuilt the whole city".
We're back in the hotel after that now, chilling out a little before having a snack before the main event: Chris de Burgh's only British date this year. Some will say that it is still one too many, but there are at least five in this family who disagree. It's been a lot of fun so far, and the show hasn't even started.