I had an interesting day last week. Alex had an audition for an advert, so I went along to keep him company. The casting agency was based in Manchester, so I must admit to a certain curiosity about revisiting my old university stomping ground, especially since I haven’t been back in twenty-something years.
The day dawned bright and early, a beautiful morning, the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Alex had efficiently booked the train tickets online, brushing aside my feeble protests about maybe walking… so we boarded the 9.45 am train for Manchester.
“It’ll rain, as soon as we get past the Pennines,” I predicted confidently.
Alex clearly didn’t believe me, as we sped through cities and across moors. Trains make me vaguely anxious, but I behaved well enough, and indeed, quite enjoyed myself, as it’s a long time since I’ve been anywhere further north than Asda…
We alighted in Manchester Oxford Street station, and my usually reasonable sense of direction deserted me. It’s changed a lot as a city, but I still had an anxious feeling as the sky began to cloud over.
We found the casting agency and as Alex began to get ready, I chatted amiably to the receptionist:
“Yes, we haven’t had rain for about ten days now!” she chirped happily. I replied darkly:
“Oh, just you wait… it knows I’m here…”
And sure enough, just as Alex came out to get changed, it began to rain. We said goodbye, and as my foot hit the street outside it began to rain in earnest, a million tiny slaps of funny-tasting water all across my face… head… body… feet…
Yep. We’d dressed for summer, light trousers, t-shirts, no coats or jumpers, and b y some bizarre twist I’d forgotten to change out of my gardening shoes, which a re canvas. With a hole in the sole. Of course.
It rained like it meant it. Manchester knew I was there and did its very best to try and drown me. It reached such a point, we had to dive into a nearby shop for Alex to purchase to umbrellas, while I dripped and muttered in the corner like a madwoman. Feet squelching like demented squids, we continued our tour…
I was surprised and saddened to see that my old hall of residence is under heavy repair, perhaps condemned, a wise decision in light of the Grenfell tragedy. The pub I used to drink in had, by contrast, gone completely upmarket.
I was quite glad to reach the train station, for although we’d enjoyed a pleasant dinner, I was ready to leave. A thriving city, with a great vibe – but not for me. Too many memories.
“As soon as we get past Stockport the sun’ll come out!” I prophesied confidently to Alex. And do you know what? It did!