Friday, April 6

 
 

 
 
 

Blackfriars Street, 8:23

 
 

I got up early and decided that I wanted a breakfast and that I didn’t want the unlimited offer available downstairs for a mere £8.40. Instead I walked left out of the hotel and up Blackfriars Street.

I stop and cross the road on the small iron bridge. I stand looking along the River Irwell, which I had mistaken for a canal when I first arrived. I think to myself that it looks so much like a part of Manchester, as indeed it does. I continue to the end of the road and turn right.

I will stop at the Moon Under Water and buy a large breakfast and a large mug of tea. I will watch large numbers of people doing the same; some of them supplementing (or even replacing) their tea with foaming pints of ale. I will avoid this, preferring to get my kicks the traditional way: from lashings of brown sauce and mustard.

Yesterday evening I managed to locate the only Cath Kidson shop in Manchester and fortunately I located it five minutes walk from Deansgate. Breakfast over I will check my map and walk to the shop to get the promised hand creams. They open at 10:00 so I will stand outside for ten minutes before they agree to let me in.

On the way back to the hotel I will pass Waterstones and go in to look around. I will purchase a small Wendell Berry book, and a couple of cards I intend to stockpile and use later. Luke and I will have an email exchange while I finish packing and he will get a train from Leeds while I check out. We will meet at Victoria Station and wander around looking for somewhere to have lunch.

We get into one of those situations where we walk around talking and finding nothing that takes our fancy until we both realise this could go on forever, until we both see a small pub, the Dib, selling craft beers. We will decide to stop there, where we choose the best seats from a completely empty room.

We spend a couple of hours chatting. We both have steak pie and a craft beer. I have a Tickety Brew, which has a strength of 2.4%. Luke has something equally cute with a strength of 2.6%. Like many English beers they could simply not find a market in Finland, because in Finland beers have a strength between 4.2 and 4.7%.

I will walk to Piccadilly, following the signposts, and take a train to the airport. I will begin to feel bloated from too much pastry and potato, but will nonetheless feel an obligation to enter Boots and buy a mealdeal that includes Lucozade.

Irma will collect me when the plane lands.