Manchester – July 2009

I have just returned from spending two days (one night) back home in Manchester  – and am feeling much better for it!

I decided to go up on a whim as a hotel room in a Travelodge was £19 for the night, and train fare was only £5.30 each way, so for those kind of prices, I thought I’d be silly not to!

A larger photoset of my journey exists on Facebook for those who have access to it.

Although Manchester was forecast heavy rain for the duration of my stay, I am VERY relieved to report that not once did a single drop of rain hit my pretty little head heh. Most of the rain came whilst I was sleeping I think.

The only thing that I didn’t like was the amount of roadworks that are going on at the moment(!). I know a lot of it is due to the Metrolink upgrade, however Deansgate was also very messy, and I can only imagine how hard it is to get around Manchester by bike/public transport at the moment. Didn’t see too many roads in the city centre that were wholly open for business heh.

As an aside, I really liked the DVD machines at Piccadilly Station – very clever idea, especially if they can get them into smaller stations with decent footfall such as Stoke-On-Trent, where they don’t (to my knowledge) have a HMV already there etc.

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When I got to Manchester, I met up with the chap who now does my old job at work and had lunch at the Soup Kitchen – they were doing a lovely lemon/lime chicken, rice and salad (all for a reasonable £4.50-ish). The hotel that I was staying at is next to our Manchester office, but even still, I wasn’t expecting to be able to see my old desk from the chuffin’ window of my room!!! heh.

I’m going to a wedding on Sunday, so went out to Next to purchase a shirt and tie, which took me ages. I can’t shop, simple as. If I go out looking for something specific, then I fail miserably to get anything. After about an hour and a half, I decided on one, and then promptly, and unexpectedly, nipped into HMV and bought 4 DVDs without question LOL!

In the evening, I met up with a fellow whom I know through twitter, Joseph, and we went for a few drinks in the Village. Fun to meet Joseph as he was one of the people who I find that I have quite a few twitter (and ‘real-life’) friends in common with, so he was like adding-in a missing link in a way. It’s a bit like Pokemon – gotta collect ’em all heh! We stayed in Via for around 2 hours, popped into Spirit which was absolutely deserted and then finished up in Tribeca with a pitcher of Cosmopolitans – yum! Ended up with the traditional kebab on the way home, in bed for 2am and no hangover – bish-bash-bosh, job’s a good’un.

Incidentally, and speaking of twitter, I did use the service an awful lot whilst away… looking back, I think it shows just how much I was missing Greg as I was reaching out and connecting with people constantly. Didn’t know I was that high-maintenance heh!!! 😛

Next morning I was up early to go see my family in Stretford. The Metrolink was especially efficient for once, taking only 8 minutes to cover the distance. Had to catch from St. Peter’s Square due to the engineering works. Very well managed I thought, and I liked the wit of the ‘sorry for the inconvenience’ posters – made me giggle.

Unfortunately Stretford seems to have gone down hill quite a lot these days, and it has also garnered some bad national press in recent months due to a failing grammar school and a stabbing. I must say, when I lived there, it was a lovely place and is somewhere that I still hold dear, though walking through the re-branded Stretford Mall and seeing that around 80% of shops were unoccupied and had closed down when previously they’d had 100% occupancy, it did really hit something home.

Great to see my family, especially my niece and nephew who seem to shoot up tremendously between visits! I asked if we still had some of the old home videos of my sisters and I as kids and we managed to find some grainy old VHS copies (from 1992 and 1994) which I’ve taken back with me and will get onto DVD shortly for everyone! Some were slightly embarrassing, not least the one where our Mum forces my sister and I to perform ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ in our backyard heh. And they sometimes wonder why …? 😉

After my visit, I dashed back into Manchester to meet Marc for lunch in Strada at Spinningfields. Back when I lived in Manchester (i.e. any time before I was 22 heh), Spinningfields was just being built, and, as Marc worked at the main office building that exists in Spinningfields, I really did get to see it grow around me. I must say, I am very impressed with the development now, it’s even bigger than I thought it would be! I think it needs (an unknown) something else too add to the attraction of the nightlife it wants, but not a cinema as there are already too many screens in Manchester I think.

I had a few hours to kill, so headed off to perhaps my favourite place in Manchester; the Museum of Science and Industry! A very pleasant 90 minutes was spent poking around the trains and planes and whatnot that they have there.

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So all in all, I had a rather hectic, but marvellous time back home. Can’t wait until Manchester Pride in a few weeks as I’ll be in the city for five days with plenty of my London friends too (and Mister Greg!) – hurrah!!

(I love the contrast of old/new - Manchester does this very well imo).
(I love the contrast of old/new - Manchester does this very well imo).
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About Gari

Thirty-One year old northern lad; living out in the Peak District and rediscovering life after having had a brain tumour.

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