I have been into Manchester again today. It has to be said that at the moment central Manchester is a MESS. Work is going on to improve and extend the Metrolink tram service. As a consequence there are huge chunks of road that you cannot even cross, let alone drive on them. In some places, to get from point A to point B is worse than finding your way around a very complex maze. Last week I almost missed a train as I tried to find my way through the roadworks to Victoria Station.
And then, in the Italian class, discussing this and that, one of our number told us that the Metrolink service is in fact being organised and installed by the city of Paris! I suppose I should not be too surprised. After all, much of the country's electricity is supplied, or at least administered, by a French company, as is quite a lot of our water. So why not our transport system too? Someone else pointed out that one of the bus companies serving Greater Manchester is in fact German.
What I want to, know is does this mean that I can use my bus pass in Paris and Germany? No, I thought not!
As well as the road works causing chaos outside, imminent pagan and Christian festivals are causing mayhem indoors. The shops are all trying put up their Christmas displays and start marketing the goods: reindeer jumpers, special crockery you can only use at Christmas and therefore lose between one Christmas and the next and all the other stuff. The problem is that Hallowe'en has not yet come and gone and so the displays of ghoulish stuff are competing for space and importance in the big emporia .... And in the small shops for that matter. The Christmas colour schemes of green and red (very jolly holly) or gold and silver (sophisticated smart) are clashing horribly with the black and orange of All Hallows.
It's very hard! What is a shopper to do?
Well, maybe you should take the opportunity to buy something I spotted today in Selfridge's store.
This very snooty looking place uses half the space of a building that was originally all Marks and Spencer, before that company ran into difficulties and sold half of it off. At least I think that is what happened. Smart and snootily impenetrable doormen stand at the doors. I like to walk through to get to Marks and Spencer, looking at the expensive handbags arranged in neat rows, usually with one selected for special placing on a sort of raised pedestal. I always wonder who buys such things.
So what was the object I spotted today?
Tastefully spread put on a glass surface was a selection of hats. Beanie hats! Those pull-on woolly hats that teenage boys wear and that I put on to go running on cold mornings. These were special though. They had veils attached! Yes, veils! Charming bits of net! I stopped to look at the price : £108!
What more can I say?