Been a bit slack on the idea that the old blog should have a "ten thoughts" thing at the end of the week. So, as me Rachel and Elliot have just been into Manchester on a Saturday to wander, shop and eat here are ten things worthy of a comment.
Monkey business - it was brilliant seeing all the Arctic Monkeys fans. There were kids on the train, all over the station, at all points in the city centre, piling out of the cafes and pubs all dressed up and off to Old Trafford to see the hottest band of the moment.
Chav alert - There should be some kind of security at Piccadilly station specifically on duty to chase chavs and assorted scrotes away. It was unsettling to have three drunk scumbags screaming at people outside Greggs. Such an appalling impression of the city.
Garden city - Piccadilly Gardens is much much better now the turf has taken.
Market trader - The farmers market at the far end of the gardens is brilliant, but left me lighter in the pocket and hungry for cheese, sausages and fruit.
Smoking - I can't tell you how much I hate smoking. Now it's been driven onto the streets you have to keep an eye on the kids walking into a fag in hand.
Shite shops doing well - The Next sale - what a pile of shite. We're after wedding outfits for the kids for Sean (Rachel's brother) and Reena's wedding do next month. Like a jumble sale.
Great shops close - Stanford's has closed. Dreadful, awful news. I loved this shop and bought a few old maps, books and stocked up on Moleskine notebooks. Another example of Manchester having the ambition to host great stores that the city isn't able to support. I don't hate HMV, and the bargains are eye wateringly cheap, but I wish I had the choice to browse at Fopp for books, films and music. It was really good, and the fact it closed shows how tough retail is.
Great shops doing well - I do like Run in the Barton Arcade. Couldn't persuade Elliot to spend his birthday money (he'll be 3 on Tuesday) on an old school Adidas bag, but I paused over the Lyle and Scott revival jumpers.
Kids and food - kids will try new and ethnic food (we went to Lotus for dim sum) but only if you tell them it's sausage and pie (steamed dumpling). Ribs were very spicy, mind.
Shoe shuffle - I wanted to buy some Churches brogues from Russell and Bromley but they have to order them in. Eh? You still have to pay, but they'll give it back if you don't like them. I like to try on what I'm buying, especially shoes and I like to walk out with what I've just bought. I bought two pairs of Loakes from Slaters instead. Got a thing about shoes, if you pay less, you often end up paying twice.