I am Ed Martin, I live in Bristol, and I recently turned 40.
For my birthday my partner Greg devised a great surprise – he secretly arranged for a bunch of my friends to share afternoon tea with us at a favourite local tea-shop of ours called Tart. Our morning was spent at the very civilised Clifton Lido in Bristol; where we swam, steamed, sauntered and subsequently enjoyed a fantastic lunch. After lunch we took a slow amble back home, before suddenly taking an unplanned detour into Tart – where I unexpectedly found many of my friends waiting for us!
Over the next couple of hours we all enjoyed a sample of splendid sandwiches, cakes and scones supplied by Tart, together with tea, coffee and sparkling wine. To add to this Greg had made his signature chocolate cake as my birthday cake. This was all a wonderful surprise, and the time just flew by as I caught up with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen for many months and who travelled from as far afield as Oxford and Cambridge.
However a couple of days later I learnt that this wonderful surprise was only the first part of my present, and it’s the second part which is the focus of this blog. The party was on Sunday, and my actually birthday on the Monday passed relatively uneventfully. However on Tuesday morning when I arrived to work Greg greeted me at my desk, and explained that we were actually off on holiday for a few days. He had conspired with my colleagues for me to have the time off without knowing, including colluding to avoid arranging any important meetings for the time I didn’t realise I was to be away!
So, at this stage all I knew was that we were heading for the train station. And to the train station I dutifully followed… We boarded a train north, and set off towards Manchester. And it was at Manchester that Greg revealed the second part of his present, which triggered me to start this blog.
The 40 project is… 40 cities for 40 hours in 40 months! So over the next 3 years or so we will visit 40 cities (new cities we haven’t visited before) and spend about 2 days sampling each one.
I only get to find the cities out one at a time, and the first one is… Glasgow!
I’ve also started making some photos from my travels available.
Postscript – October 2014
Well, it’s over. Greg’s organisation has been superb throughout, and we finished the adventure almost 30 months after we started; pretty much 10 months ahead of schedule!
He managed to organise 40 cities, each with hotels, travel, and often with booked activities, without any errors. Which in many ways I felt was more remarkable than any of the places we visited.
I am going to now start a favourites list.