It appears that the bridge from Piccadilly station to our part of town has been closed already. The perilous lack of a pedestrian crossing - where the walkway from the bridge leaves you to cross the tram tracks at a blind spot - must have been a factor.
And while I spoke of Manchester business locations last week, this weekend I experienced the great city centre retail experience. Bear in mind we had three kids with us, and it was chucking down with rain, that at times I wanted to be here but nevertheless we wanted to put a dent in our Christmas shopping lists. Anyway, the following thoughts sprang to mind.
The Arndale is much, much better since the refit.
Wagamama at Spinningfields is excellent. The staff really know how to make families welcome and to get kids excited about fresh food. Brilliant. I chose the wrong thing, but that was my lookout.
Daisy and Tom is great. Give kids a colouring competition and they're happy to see you buy a bag of toys for nephews and nieces.
The deluxe gift packing of the staff in Selfridges is laughable and shambolic. Our two year-old has in fact proved he can do better with a soggy discarded copy of the Manchester Evening News and some of Grandad's bale string.
One of the shops on Market Street was playing music so loud (and employing Max and Paddy on the door), that they clearly didn't want any customers. They didn't have any.
The hordes of hoodies and scallies are still quite frightening, especially when they press their groins up at the window of Wagamama.
These two seemingly different threads are linked by the common theme of Manchester not quite living up to its billing. The little things matter and I'm sure other cities have these annoying instances of innate crapness and poor service too, but then they don't aspire to be the Original Modern city. More later, thoughts please...