Sunday, January 14, 2007


Food, Fido, and Fire in the Clouds

OK, let's get the nastiness out of the way first - today was the day that the diet came crashing down to Earth in a ball of flame and molten rock. There was just no need for the enormous pub lunch of fish and chips. And there was certainly no need for two side orders. Or, indeed, dessert.

The saying goes that if you can't have a little of what you like once in a while, what's the point in being alive? Well, this afternoon I took that maxim to its logical conclusion and had a frankly enormous amount of what I liked. And now, I think to myself, as I sit here with my stomach gasping for dear life, what's the point of being alive? Surely not to feel this bloated...? I shall have to re-mount the diet wagon in the morning. An unpalatable prospect if ever there was one.

All of which is a depressing (but very tasty) ending to an otherwise fairly hectic weekend. The new edition of St Mary's Focus has been finished, after a photo session starring Cllr Donal O'Hanlon and me this morning. I will be sending it on to get it printed this evening, and hopefully it will be hitting some doorsteps next week.

Also, we finished leafletting the latest Sedgley Focus too. I was out in the George Street area yesterday with the Garners (Cllrs Ann and Andrew) and Cllrs D'Albert and Pickstone, finishing off deliveries for the month.

I hadn't noticed before, but there seem to be a plethora of enormous alsations around that area, each and every one just lurking in wait to frighten me half to death with a bark, before lurching towards my flailing fingers like a starving man having a sausage dangled in his face. The concentration of massive dogs in that area is just huge. I don't know why. And yet there are no small, yappy dogs (maybe they've been eaten by the big ones). Just huge German Shephards with their deep, sonorous growls. At one point, trying to squeeze a Focus into what must have been a contender for the coveted title of"World's Smallest Letterbox," my fumblings disturbed the beast within, who must have been a contender for the even more coveted title of "World's Biggest Dog." I heard what I thought was a herd of bison stampeding towards the door, only for the homeowner to handily open the door, thus clarifying the genus of his pet (canine), but also forcing me to come face to face with his gigantic dog, which growled at me, but thankfully didn't rip my head clean from my shoulders, a feat which it could easily have accomplished I'm sure.

Anyway, dog-dramas aside, the day was rounded-off with two trips into town. First to see a friend of mine who had had her ear-drum removed on Thursday. I was surprised to hear that they grow back. When my Mum said to me as a child that "you learn something new every day," I never imagined that I'd learn that.

And then in the evening we were back in Manchester. First we went out with a friend of mine, who was celebrating a promotion at work. She decided to go to Cloud Bar, on the 23rd floor of the new Hilton Hotel. We parked at Spring Gardens, timing our journey on foot to absolute perfection, coinciding it with a downpour so fierce that it drenched us both and snapped my umbrella in half.

I am not really one for pretentious bars (anything that requires me to change out of my trainers in order to gain entry to what is, in essence, a pub, gets a big thumbs down), but the views from that hight really are spectacular. I recommend the trip just for that alone. In fact, that is all I recommend, since the drinks are stupendously pricy (very nearly a tenner for a cocktail, and a fiver for some mineral water!), and I felt intimidated by the stylishness of everyone else in there (Tamsin included). Thankfully, our stay was ended mercifully quickly when a fire alarm went off. "A-ha!" I thought, "an escape to somewhere priced with just the millionaire, not the billionaire, in mind!" Of course I had forgotten everything I learned watching "The Towering Inferno," and had neglected to remember that, in a fire situation, lifts are not allowed. So we had to trudge all the way down from that great height using the stairs! Which actually took about as much time as we'd spent up there to begin with.

I'm sure I'll be back up there before long though. I wonder how long I can spend in Cloud Bar admiring the view and ordering tap water before they throw me out...

And then after that, we saw "Cyrano de Bergerac" at the Royal Exchange. The play was great, but you can read better reviews of it than I can write, so I won't write one. What I will say is that I have never seen a play with as many lines for the lead character as this one. How on Earth he remembered them all whilst simultaneously remembering to actually act a part as well is a mystery.

And today we went to Dunham Massey with some friends (there are a very few photos here). Before the horror that was the pub lunch...

I hope you all had good weekends too.


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