Wednesday 14 June 2023

Shedding Bricks


During the years that I spent on Crete, I realise now, that I unintentionally built a wall. On one side of this wall, was myself, nature and a select few members of the human race. The rest of the world, and the 21st century come to that, was firmly on the other. Since returning to the UK, Ishbel has gradually been dismantling this wall by repeatedly dragging me, kicking and screaming, out of my comfort zone. She achieved a triple at the weekend: a mega-city, a mega-concert, and a mega-store.

The city in question was Manchester, a teeming metropolis of nearly 3 million people. We parked up a couple of miles east of the city centre and I prised my fingers from the edge of the seat. The walk into 'town' along the network of canals was most pleasant, with Geese, Swans, the occasional Moorhen, and even a Grey Wagtail to distract my attention. A little crowded through the gay village, but with a very pleasant vibe.

Our first destination was Clouds, on the 23rd floor of the Hilton Hotel, for afternoon tea and cocktails (this was part of my Birthday treat). From there, I could see, just what a sprawling mass of humanity I was surrounded by. I looked down to street level – it was less frightening.

And now to the high point of the day. Even I, enochlophobe that I am, was prepared to venture into the 21,000 capacity, AO Arena, for the opportunity of seeing Roger Waters live. For those of you too young to remember, Roger was the co-founder of Pink Floyd, along with the late Roger 'Syd' Barrett. Lost in the music, complete with flying pigs and sheep, I was in seventh heaven. Even the walk back through crowds of revelling Manchester City supporters at midnight wasn't so bad, and Ishbel has nearly recovered the use of her right hand, which I may have been gripping rather too tightly.

And finally.. the mega-store. There was a particular item that Ishbel wished to purchase from IKEA, it was Sunday morning, and I was in need of breakfast, so we ventured into this humungous monstrosity. Ishbel came out empty handed. I for, some reason, emerged with a ladle and a yucca plant. Ah well, another three bricks in the wall come tumbling down.

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