Is it jetlag or the bang on the head that just about knocked me out?
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Aside from leaving Philly an hour and a half late due to an amazing thunderstorm with accompanying electric light show, our delayed flight to Manchester, England went off without a hitch.
We managed to snag a couple of seats up front, avoiding the inevitable discomfort of sitting in "third world" for the 6 hour and 14 minute flight. Although we didn't sleep enroute on the overnight flight we still felt up to the hour drive from Manchester to our friends' house in Towyn, Wales.
My asthma and congested sinuses were still giving me fits but it was the accidental bang on the head in the car rental lot that sent me reeling and left me with a knot on the noggin and throbbing headache for the rest of the evening.
Unfortunately, I'd temporarily left my head in the wrong location as my husband was slamming the "boot" of the hatchback, hitting me squarely on the top of the head. I doubled over in pain as Mark hovered over me, apologizing profusely as I wiped the tears of pain from my eyes. I settled slowly into the passenger seat to collect myself and take stock of the bump rising on my cranium. Well, of course it was an accident but that didn't make either one of us feel any better at that exact moment. Luckily there was no blood, unlike the time recently when I walked into the door at a department store near our home, gashing my eyebrow and leaving bloody tracks down the side of my face. Let's just say that I'm not always the most coordinated person.
We made our way out of the airport and onto the motorway with only one misstep and were soon driving through the unspoilt Welsh countyside. I've always loved this part of the U.K. with its green, hedgerowed hills that rival the brilliance of those in Southern Ireland. The cool, fresh air filled my strangled lungs as the beauty of the unfolding landscape filled my weary eyes.
We headed straight to our friends' house in the seaside tourist town of Towyn since our hotel wouldn't allow checkin until between 1500-1600 in the afternoon. We caught up on the latest news while enjoying a light snack of tea and cream filled cakes. Time flew by and soon we were back on the road enroute to our digs, the Graig Park Hotel and Country Club, in the nearby town of Prestatyn (review to follow).
A short nap was the order of the day as we now struggled to keep our eyes open. After a few hours, we awakened, freshened up a bit and headed out in search of sustenance. A quick stop was made at the nearby Sainsbury supermarket for some snack essentials, after which we drove into the seaside town of Rhyl to find a chippy shop.
We inevitably sucumb to the siren call of fish and chips when deciding on our first meal after arriving in the country. We weren't disappointed when we finally settled on one of the combo Chinese Food/Fish and Chip shops that lined the streets of the city centre. I selected my usual Cod, chips and mushy peas while Mark chose the more typical British combination of chips and sausage, drenched in curry sauce. I'll have to say that my initial reaction of: "yuck, that looks really gross", was completely unfounded and as inaccurate as my initial opinion of the Heinz beans on toast, topped with melted cheddar cheese and a fried egg that I'd tasted many years earlier.
With a chaser of hot, milky tea and biscuit we brought our first day to a satisfying close. It was close to midnight as Mark settled in to watch a marathon of "Torchwood" on his laptop as his jetlag began to kick in. I closed my eyes and was soon "sawing logs" in a British forest 5000 miles away from home.