My latest trip to the UK has been planned for about a month, the main reason for the trip was to go and watch Manchester Utd play, but since then my mother has been taken ill and is sadly nearing the end of her life.
I changed my itinerary, it was a late night arrival into Luton so I stayed at a hotel in the middle of the town.
I was born in Luton and lived there until 1980 when I left for Australia, I worked at Vauxhall Motors as did most of the town. It was quite a nice town back then so I got up early and went for a walk around some old haunts.
What can I say, the poor town is a complete and utter dump, it does have a very nice indoor shopping centre, but this has come at a price, the centre of the town looks like a slum.
I hate pedestrian areas, a few are OK but when the whole centre is pedestrianised in my view it takes away all the character.
The town hall still stands majestic.
The ABC cinema less so.
The kebab house we frequented after many late nights out is still going.
The Wheelwrights pub is still open, one of very few still trading.
A nice mural blocking one of the less salubrious sites, its a bit like polishing a turd!
Betting shops, pawn shops, charity shops, and one pound shops....bloody awful.
The Duke Of Clarence pub in the centre of town, a very popular pub back in the day.
The subway where me and a few mates were arrested.....say no more on that one, i'm a nice boy now!
And lastly the local where me and my mates started out many nights out downtown, thankfully its still trading.
After my visit to Luton I drove to Bedford hospital where I visited mother, she was pretty bad but still conscious and talking albeit not very clearly.
I stayed for a few hours then drove up to Macclesfield which took twice as long as usual due to awful weather and loads of traffic. I stayed with our friends Jane and Andy, we went out for a fantastic dinner at a local pub, then off to another pub for a few beers before home for a few more drinks, we finally hit the sack at close to 03.00.
Up nice and early to meet up with Ray and Diane from NB Ferndale, lovely friends who magically obtain tickets for Man Utd games. Diane had literally just got off a plane from Oz, they were staying at a local premier inn.
We left for the ground in good time and had lunch in a cafe before going to the ground, first up I treated myself to a new Utd shirt, well my birthday is soon!
It was then time to enter the ground, this is the sixth time I have seen them play, it never fails to send shivers up and down my spine, the view, the singing, its the most amazing sight and sound imaginable.
The good guys won 2-0 so we were happy chappies.
After the game we drove back to Macclesfield where we had dinner at Elaine's and mine favourite Thai restaurant, it was up to its usual standard, just fantastic.
Thankyou Ray and Diane it was the most excellent adventure, we had a great catch up, I will see you guys in August!
I had plans to catch up with other friends up in Macclesfield but apart from seeing Elaine's dad Burt and brother trev I cancelled them all and headed back to Milton Keynes on Sunday Morning.
Im staying at my mums house, she has been in hospital since last October, so coming into the house was a bit of a time warp, the tv guide was still open on October 27th, the date an ambulance took her to hospital. Unfortunately she won't be coming back here.
I went up the hospital, in the early evening and sat with her all night until 10.00 this morning, I was joined by my brother for part of the night, he was relieved at 03,30 by my nephew Philip. Its a lot harder on them as they all have jobs and families to look after whereas I am free and easy, I'm going tonight for another all nighter, I think Im on my own tonight.
One of the funny things that happened at the hospital was when a nurse who in a serious voice said that now mother was at a end of life stage we could all have free tea and biscuits courtesy of the NHS!! So if you get offered free tea and biccies in a NHS hospital be afraid, very afraid!
I was hoping to go and visit Elaine's sister Julie who is also crook, but it looks like I will stay here until I fly back on Thursday, its a sad time but I'm really hoping mum passes before I fly out, she is in a really bad way and her quality of life is now zero!