You Ride, We Ride: This is not the Manchester I know.

Have I actually mentioned my bike? I’ve got a bike. The best bike in the world, to be precise. I got it from one of my favourite people, almost a year ago, and the first time I was riding it down a quiet and leafy street in Didsbury I started to cry, which was followed by a celebratory bottle or two glass of wine. A glorious day.

Anythatwasthemotherofallhangoversway, last week marked the beginning of my favourite time of the year in Manchester – the 6 months of “oh it’s getting warm…nope, not quite yet…but now!! No… no, still not warm enough to wear short sleeves. OH there it is, that must be it, Summer! No, no…false alarm. Whoops, it’s November again. Well that was that then, I guess. Better luck next year.” Highly determined to make the best of the few hours of sunshine I can get here every year, I put on a floral print dress – my official summer uniform – got on my bike and cycled down to Levy for some food at POD and a visit to the superawesome Laurie Pink, but more about that later.

The excitement had me as soon as I had caught a glimpse of the magnificent trees blooming on Fog Lane that stood bright and colourful in the Sunday sun. I cycled faster. We crossed Kingsway into Burnage. I gasped: My first visit to Burnage. BURN. AGE. Famous for being the home of the Gallagher brothers, Dave Rowbotham of the Durutti Column being murdered in his flat, and… uhm… yeah. That record shop, I guess. I excpected tumbleweeds, gunmen and saloon doors, but I only saw a wide tree lined road, a country pub-ish looking pub with the poetic name ‘The Sun in September‘ and several parks, including the rather vast Cringle Park, luring us in with the promise of seeing an ‘Indian Bean Tree’ that couldn’t be spotted – if anyone has managed to find the location of the ‘Indian Bean Tree’, please do let me know. The bike ride, the greens, the country pub-ish pub and the sun had made me so enthusiastic however, I even came up with a marketing slogan for letting agents who would like to advertise properties in the area: “Burnage – it could be worse.”

Having crossed Cringle park, we suddenly found ourselves in the heart of Levenshulme, only two minutes away from POD, which, once again, didn’t fail to amaze me with the tastiness of its food as well as the slowness of the ordering and food preparing process. But to be completely honest, I actually prefer anticipation up to the point of self-torture to the finished product – this is exactly the right place for me.

On the way back, we paid a visit to the wonderful Laurie Pink who I had met on my first trip to Levenshulme last year. The crazy lady had put herself through a 24 hour drawing marathon to create dozens of drawings for everyone who donated for Comic Relief – raising over £1300 pounds in one day. I had commissioned a royal portrait for my cycling companion, the mighty Robot Swan King (yeah… don’t ask), which we had come to pick up that afternoon. We were welcomed by Arthur and Smith, two incredibly lovely whippets, a pouting cat, actor/singer/comedian Mitch Benn, who was sat in the kitchen watching roller derby videos, and a room with walls covered in drawings as a proof of Laurie’s hard work*. Having swapped cake for drawings, we hopped onto our bikes and cycled back down south – not without stopping by at the ‘Sun in September’ for a cheeky half of fizzy apple juice. I’m living life on the edge.

* madness