A Manchester Away from Home

Many people will know that Manchester has a special place in my heart. I love the city, the people, culture, bars and the location. It is truly the city of the Northwest and of the North. Despite what people in the Midlands and Whitehall feel, Manchester is the UKs second city not Glasgow or Birmingham.

Manchester has that town feel, nestled in a city environment. It’s big enough not to get dull but yet small enough to feel safe. I moved to Manchester as many do to become a student and fell in love with the place. Manchester has held me back over the years. I’ve turned down jobs and work because it would mean leaving the city, I almost called of the NZ trip as I didn’t want to wave goodbye to the city that I’ve called home for thirteen years. A city that is a kaleidoscope of activity.

While I’m not official one of her sons, I feel that I have a bond with the city. So why am I telling you this. Well it’s simple I have found the New Zealand version on Manchester. I’ve travelled around the two islands and fell in love with many places. Not so many in the north, but plenty in the south. I could see myself settling in Nelson, or living in Fox, Christchurch with its post earthquake decor has its appeal and as for Dunedin then I would have stayed if it hadn’t been for the job of returning the camper back to Auckland.

The trouble is I find myself in Wellington, and from the moment I drove into the city I knew I loved it. It has the look of a city but the feel of a community. There is a vibe. So as I look for work which is turning into a wild goose chase my mind tells me that I’m not pinned to a particular place. Unlike Manchester which saw me with a flat, friends, a life, thus making it more of a challenge to leave, in Wellington I am a Nomad, I have no ties and could seek employment anywhere in the country.

However as I trawl through the job adverts for any vacancies which I slowly begrudgingly widen my search past the Hutt valley and across the Cook Straight I find myself thinking, sure I could work here, but I couldn’t live here. Wellington has grabbed my heart and I think that if I had ignored the city then I would now be in Nelson or Blenheim happily picking fruit and bottling wine to pay my way.

It’s funny how cities or towns grab you. The way they make you form an opinion. I would never live in London, I can’t stand it and the only other cities in the UK I could live in at a push would be Newcastle or Glasgow. With NZ I no longer think I could live in Nelson, or Fox. Why would you, when you could have the atmosphere and community of those places with a backdrop and playground of a city. I have often said I would love to live in north Wales, but I know deep down I’m a city dweller. After three weeks in the West Country the site of Dunedin was very welcomed. I felt like I was home. There is something about a city that makes you feel whole. You can be united without having anything todo with the other residents. Sure I love the isolation of rural settlements, but I’d get bored all to easily. Walking the mountains would become mundane and the norm, popping into the post office or the local bar to catch up on the latest gossip becomes your highlight of the day. No. A city you have a life which you control and can step away from. The backdrops of mountains never tire as you only visit occasionally to take a break and step back from the bust activity of city life.

You can draw so many parallels its almost scary. Wellington is small, thriving, arty, it has a student population, great night life, wonderful buildings, fantastic transport links, lots of suburbs with there own culture and identity and flying rats (pigeons) You would be forgiven if you thought I was talking about Manchester when describing Wellington with the exception of the beach, harbour and sea.

Manchester is a cool place which I miss fondly, but now I have found Wellington and like Manchester I feel this is the place I want to be.

A Shaky Start to My Time in Wellington

Lets be honest earthquakes are two a penny as we say in England. They happen almost everyday and on more than one occasion as well. Earthquakes to New Zealand are what rain is to Manchester and self importance and an ideal that your superior to the rest of the country is to London. In fact by the the time you have read this post, than New Zealand would have been struck by 7 quakes.

I arrived in Wellington, the city I’m hoping will be home for the next however long, and as I sat on my bed I experienced a full on 5.1 earthquake. Once again it was on the small fault near Seddon. Now if I’ve learnt one thing while being upside down its that people don’t bother with small quakes. Why would you when you get them by the bucket load. However anything that is bigger than a 5 is mentioned, even estimated. People say ‘think that’s a 5.5’ or ‘that has to be at least a 6’.

Yes earthquakes are part of life here, and unless large go unnoticed. Felt, but ignored. Quakes are part of the daily routine like the metro to Bury being late or virgin trains not running on time. Very much like when virgin actually do run on time, the big quakes make the news.

This one I felt was 5.1 and it shock, it shock for 45 seconds and was said to be felt in Auckland but lets face it, that’s just them wanting a bit of the action. While it wasn’t scary, or loud, or even stressful it did bring home the fact that NZ is quake paradise. I’m not going to go into why, but the power of the earth to rattle buildings is quite extraordinary.

My dream was to live on the west coast of the South Island but today they have found new fault lines off the coast. That with the large alpine fault line, where the two plates meet could spell tsunami if the earth moved a bit, and I’m not a strong swimmer so I think i’ll stay in Wellington.

I’m oddly looking forward to more quakes, but hope that the ‘big one’ never strikes. While it shock and vibrated the room, all the occupants gave the knowing look of what was happening and for a short time people stopped going about their chosen activity.

While I’ve been here my love of the power of the earth has risen again. I’m keen to relearn about volcanos and quakes, thermal pools and the like. And while being in a really bad quake would be bad, NZ is use to it and have built their towns to stand up to the force. I’d much rather be in a quake zone than the volcanic region.

The North South divide and Auckland

Now as the title suggests this not the growing divide we have in the UK, but it’s pretty close. As I return back to the north island and get ever closer to the ferry the atmosphere is changing. There is a real love hate relationship between the two islands and not just with the residents. I’ve met some fellow travellers who for reasons unknown to me preferred the north.

It’s hard for me to say as I am a northerner thick and thin back in the green green lands of England but being upside down with the southern cross illuminating the night sky’s I have to say I’m a southerner and deep south as well, and a little to the west. I thought I would never say those words.

Talking to kiwis who were born in the south but now live on the north, can’t stop singing the souths praises, and those born on the north have just not bothered to travel to the south and see it as a cold hostile mountainous land. thats not true as I’m sure many have visited the better island. The thing is, like the north south divide in the UK, the way of life and people are different, the social demographic, average wage, job opportunities, employment, trade, is all the reverse of our divide. It’s like England flipped even with the hatred of on city.

The south is he better island as it has everything the north as plus a lot more. It also has some of the best weather as well as the worse but at least they have a winter and summer you can separate not like the north where the temperatures don’t really get below 10. Now I realise for some, that may be a dream, but how dull would it be. I like seeing the strong contrast between seasons and not just have them all merge into on messy northern pulp.

Yes if the divide between the two islands and the disagreements with who gets more money spent on them, then there is an even uglier divide. Auckland seems to be hated by everyone. But unlike London, those people who have left the city can see how repulsive it is. Like the hatred with London and the belief that it sucks up every bit of spare money the UK has, Auckland s the same. Both islands hate the way Auckland has money thrown at it.

There was even a show called “is Auckland sucking the life out of NZ” off course Aucklanders don’t see it, like Londoners they just think the rest of the country are jealous and think that there dirty over crowded, expensive, over populated, filthy streets is god gift and the best place in the world where every thing works like it should.

So it seems no matter where you are there were always be hatred for the big city, and a divide between the north and south.

Leaving

This is a short post, as I have thinking to do. I’ve mentioned this before but can’t find the post to reference.

I’m fast approaching 30 and feel my career is not going anywhere and I wrote a while ago about giving it up or maybe moving to London where all the work in the industry is. Once again after a spell of work all be it tiny little designs the thought once again crossed my mind as I was confronted by a realisation.

So I am now thinking of leaving Manchester (which apart from friends and family I have no other ties) and following Dick to where the streets are paved with gold or quite simply say good-bye to the industry that has formed the back bone of my life for the past 12 years.

Lots of thinking ahead.

Getting Lost in London!!

Well not quite, as I would say I have knowledge of London and by that I am not saying the whole of London, but the main bits. However I am staying with my friend in Brockley which I kind of know and the surrounding areas have made themselves known to me over the years. So I thought I know I will go for a long run. I needed to as my run is in 2 weeks so I need one last long training session. I thought about going into town and maybe running around one of the great parks.

In the end I decided to just going running around Brockley and I got lost. At one point I ended up in Lewisham, which is not far away but at the same time it is not a run  around the block.

Anyway the run was good, it pissed down which weighed my T-Shirt down a bit, but I love running in the rain and the street and park areas were really quite hilly which was good as I needed to concentrate on some hill splints. I may do another quick run on the Wednesday around the block depending on my call times in the theatre as the routes or areas to run are quite nice. Being able to run in a different area helped me to push on through that and the fact I was lost and trying to find my way back to the main road kept my legs working.

The trouble with running in Manchester is it’s getting boring, doing the same routes week after week. Hence why I am trying to get my friends to join me. however this run was enough to shake my usual pace and thinking up, and it kept the running fresh and it felt good.

Oh well off to see some more friends in London Town.

http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/21552376

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/111754349

Sums it up

There is some one who I follow and follows me in return on Twitter. The only other way we know one another is that he is the younger brother of one of my very good mates. We are also friends on Facebook and while tweet and click ‘Like’ on the others status’ from time to time we have only really meant once and do not know much about the other.

However I am in London now doing work and working down here for a bit. I tweeted several lines of my usual rubbish today, about how the area I am staying is nice and if I did move down then that would be the chosen location as not only is it leafy but several other friends live in the area.

The young pup was quick to tweet that “You’d never move out of Manchester” the point being that some one who does not know me as a person but only from what he reads of my social activity and what his brothers may say about me then he has me pretty summed up and it’s a fair point. I wouldn’t.

Or would I? I have now for many years been thinking about the move. I feel like I live down here when I stay and anyway I have my Oyster Card and know my way around like the back of my hand. I fit in. I’m not like some tourist or someone on business who gets the tube to go two stops and then stops to puzzle over if it is the Charring Cross or Via bank line, or to go Northbound or south where in fact the easiest and quickest route would off have been to walk round the corner. The true question is would I? I think my young follower sums it up correctly with his line ‘You’d never leave Manchester’ The trouble is I am going to have to leave at some point and if I make it as an LD the large amount of work will be in the big smoke.

So yet again another visit to our wonderful capital get me thinking of a move once again. Lets face it I do not have any ties in Manchester apart from two really good mates and a handful of other close friends who share the same interests. I can run in London, I will see trains in London I just would not be able to do any walking.

It’s a question I will have to answer soon.

Halfway there and time for an unexpected break.

Well the title is a lie. Not a big one but it may be! I will leave you wonderful readers to decide if the title makes any sense.

I’m off to London tomorrow, to work for a several days. I’m taking my running shoes and kit to run around the parks but feel training may be put on hold. Not a good move especially with only three weeks left until I run my first half and  I’ve only reached 50% in the fundraising goal but have almost exhausted everyone who I know. I may get some more last-minute takers, or people in London who would like to sponsor me but I think I might have to conclude that the money in the kitty is the amount that will make its way to the Cancer hospital.

I’ve now run my 11 miles, and feel I could do it on the day, I would like to run another 11, just to make sure as for some reason on mile 8 or 9 I suddenly sped up my pace and I was running quite comfortable until then. The break in training that I hope will not be enforced and the weeks after London where I find myself working extremely long hours will allow the last-minute run even if its only 5K.

I’m now starting to panic that I have not done enough training and I may end up walking some, but we will see. If I can go for a nice long run on the Sunday in London – a different route may inspire me to run those extra miles and work my body a little more ready for race day on the 18th September, and who knows I may really enjoy a half and carry on entering them or I may decide my toe nails are worth keeping and jack it all in.

Oh well off to pack.

If you would like to sponsor me then you can do so by clicking this link http://www.justgiving.com/thomas-Scott1

If you would like more information on my charity then please click here.