So Christmas over for another year.
This one was pretty good, though my return to Manchester spelled out to me just rainy this place is, with it being not so much a white Christmas as a grey liquid one (It's drizzled incessantly). For that reason alone – though there are others – I don't really see myself living here again anytime soon.
Change seems to be afoot in Manchester, with cranes looming over the skyline everywhere. If the gentrification of the city centre was gaining pace when I left three years ago, it now seems to have gone into overdrive, with warehouses everywhere being converted into ubiquitous trendy loft-style apartments by Urban Splash and the like, and there's even been a development out near Ancoats that's been branded 'New Islington'.
Someone brought up something I'd read about months ago, that the boutique shopping emporium Afflecks Palace is facing an uncertain future, and might well end up being itself converted into flats, which seems to highlight to me a problem with this influx to the city centre: being that the introduction of massive wealth often prices out the businesses that make it an interesting place to be in the first place. So the question is, is everyone suddenly going to rush to the suburbs again in ten years time, when they realise they're actually living in a kind of city centre housing estate punctuated by anodyne bars, and all the interesting-but-skint people upped sticks years ago, to go and live in, I dunno, Levenshulme?
Did I mention the bars? Yeah, there also seem to be loads of new trendy looking bars around the Northern Quarter, but having walked through the valley of the shadow of death which is Manchester at kicking out time, these aren't things Manchester needs particularly (at least in my opinion).
Stockport hasn't changed much, mind, as I can attest having spent a fair part of Christmas Eve seemingly trapped in Whitefield Industrial estate in South Reddish. Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was the now unfamiliar factory units, but I managed to arrive pretty much exactly back where I started, within an hour of setting off, and I nearly gave up there and then.
Getting a lift back tomorrow with Ade and Rachael, and I can't wait actually. I mostly just want to sleep in my own bed and eat 'normal' food really.
Next up on the agenda: New Years Eve.