It was a year that managed to separate and make life harder for all of us. But the feeling of being able to finally visit family and see loved ones, is a feeling like no other.
For Alex Bescoby, award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer and presenter, that feeling became a reality recently, when he decided to take on the M40 and travel between our two home cities London and Manchester to visit his family for the first time in months.
Alex says In 2019 I drove 21,000km across 23 countries in a Land Rover for a TV series. (I only crashed it once, in a bonkers country called Turkmenistan). I’ll admit therefore I’m something of a pro at long road journeys. It was weird then that in April 2021 the idea of driving just over 300km from London to Manchester should set my nerves jangling, but after the crazy year we’ve all had my idea of a long road journey has been reduced to a trip to the big Asda in Clapham Junction
But I’m a proud Mancunian who’s been stuck down in London for far too long, and as lockdown was finally lifting, I was bursting to head north to see family, friends and a city I’d been missing terribly. Luckily, the guys at THE OUT had me covered. Like the very sensible people they are, they chose Manchester as their next city to launch in, so to celebrate I thought I’d take them home (to the greatest city on earth) with me. In a wonderful tribute to the northern no-fuss mentality, they delivered the brand new Defender right to my door at an hour of my choosing, and that’s a car so beautifully solid it’ll settle anyone’s nerves.
Within hours I was home with my parents after months apart. It’s a simple little pleasure I’ll never take for granted ever again. A nice little treat was being able to add my Land Rover-mad Dad to the insurance as a named driver for no extra cost. After cruising with him for hours on a nostalgia tour of my home town, I had a sneaking suspicion that by the end of the weekend he was more upset about the car leaving than his son! For me though, I got the best gifts I could ask for – a country walk in the northern sun (it does exist), a mega Sunday roast, and a hug with my Mum.
Manchester, I won’t leave it so long next time, I promise.