Day two started out much like day 1… a trip to Starbucks. It’s nice to know my login information works across the pond for free wi-fi. Larry, Carole, Rick and I sat by the window watching the hustle and bustle of the start to a Monday Manchester morning. A lot more people than on Sunday. Imagine that. Larry said he heard Manchester proper has a population of 2 million people while the greater Manchester area is about 6 million, so it’s a wee bit larger than Seattle. Ok, quite a bit larger.

Knowing Arne and Kristi’s flight would land about 9:30 we gathered in the hotel lobby about 10:30 to welcome them. Through the doors walked the Fairwood travelers, but it wasn’t the ones we were expecting… rather in walked Scott and Mary. Quite a surprise since we had no idea when they were arriving. And of course shortly thereafter in came Arne and Kristi. The night before Ron, Jane, Don and Ellie had arrived, which had been confirmed the night before with a late night phone call. Imagine finally getting to sleep only to be awoken by a group of partiers.

At this point, we’re only missing 4 travelers and assuming flights take place as scheduled we’ll all be together for a large kickoff dinner tonight in Southport, our home for the next 5 days.

Back to Manchester. With Arne and Kristi in tow we headed back into the city. First stop, The Old Nag’s Head Pub.

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We had a great time and got to talk to the bartender and cook. She loved our accent and he’s a 12 handicap that ventures annually to Scottsdale, AZ to play in Pro-Am’s with some of his buddies. He said they even won the event in 2007 played at Greyhawk from the back tees. Having seen the conditions they play in over here, I think his UK 12 would translate to a US 7 or better.Needless to say  I don’t think we’ll be making any bets with the locals over here!

After a few pints, we head off to find Arne one of those “funny hats”. (I don’t think they’re all that funny looking, but apparently Larry does) Into a hat shop with easily 1,000 hats sitting out, Arne proceeded to try on EVERY ONE! Even the gals were trying on hats. I’m not sure what the store owner thought of so many people in his tiny little shop but Arne finally found one so we’ll be properly attired for our first rounds of golf.

Back into the streets, umbrellas up – on a mission to find the “Craft Center”. Map in hand, dodging cars and backtracking several times we finally found it. It was kind of a workshop for various artisans which pretty much sums it up. Leaving the ladies behind, they guys went off looking for another pub… which wasn’t hard.

The day ended with dinner for 14 at a very nice Italian restaurant… San Carlo. The menu had soooo many options I think it took us about an hour just to decide what to finally order. But when the food came it was fantastic!

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And finally we were back at the hotel, re-arranging chairs and table (a la Fairwood style) and the guys sorted out the playing rules for the competition which starts on Wednesday. Five days with no golf and we’re definitely ready to get started.

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