I’m making the most of the last of my few remaining days of relative freedom before I get really busy next week. The sun is out and Manchester has summer big time. The little display in my car registered 30c (86F) this afternoon, and the hot weather is going on into next week. I went into the city centre this morning to find pollen bakery again. It was easy this time with no trips down dank underpasses. And, with it being sunny, the queue was longer than last week. But I stuck it out. Last week’s baguette was a huge success but people were miffed I’d eaten the only custard tart I’d bought so I had to buy more. This is this week’s haul. The bread, I’m assured, is great with cheese, TWO custard tarts and the other confection is croissant dough baked in a muffin tin, filled with some kind of curd and topped with chocolate and edible gold. Not tried them yet. Will let you know!

I walked, in the increasing heat, to St. Ann’s Square where a market had been set up on the newly scrubbed paving. The city seems to have invested in some black and yellow, bee coloured awnings for the stalls. The idea of the market was to bring a bit of normality to the city centre which has, of course, experienced some very abnormal times. St. Ann’s Square in particular was involved as the central point for mourning. The market was mostly food and Manchester and bee based pharaphalia.

Robinson’s had a stall there. They are a much more established Manchester bakery than pollen. They have been around the city since 1864 and sell their baked goods in the north of the city. Can’t think why they don’t come to the south, they would go down well in Chorlton and the like. They do like to come to the city centre markets though. 

They make local delicacies. They are famous for their breads which would give pollen or Barbaken in Chorlton a run for their money. 

These are potato cakes, a flat bread made with potato flour. Originally something the poor of the city would eat, they are popular and delicious. You grill them slightly and then melt butter and cheese into them. Wonderful stuff.

And these little beauties are Manchester Tarts. They are a sweet pastry bottom covered with a layer of raspberry jam (jelly for Americans reading), then you get a rich vanilla custard topped off with desiccated coconut. I remember having them made by grandmas at home and eating them made at school for lunch. Now you will find them, admittedly changed a bit, on the menus of the finest restaurants in the city. And I’ve even had a Manchester Tart flavoured vodka.

Some I ❤️ MCR shortbread and gingerbread.

On King Street, which also looks as if it’s had a bit of a clean, the All England Tennis Club had set up shop. With all the goings on in the UK going on we have rather lost sight of the the ordinary pleasures of life. One of which is the annual Wimbledon Tennis Tournament which starts soon (3rd July). Sir Andy Murray had lent them his trophy he won last year at Wimbledon. You can just see it under heavy guard. The original trophy, which they get on the finals day should they win, stays in Wimbledon but each winner is given a rather nice replica to keep for ever. Just today it was announced that his motivational mother, Judy Murray, has been awarded an OBE by the Queen in her Birthday Honours List. She got it for services to tennis. Well she has produced our two best tennis players at the moment. And she does do an awful lot to promote tennis around the country. 

This little vehicle is one of the street cleaners that keep the city centre spick and span. They have been decorated as bees for years. It hasn’t just been done in the last few weeks. I wonder how the guys who operate them feel about riding around in a bee on wheels all day?

There was a Maker’s Market at Spinningfields this weekend so I went to see what was on offer. It was getting quite hot by now. I took this picture along Deansgate. The Hilton Tower is on the left but look beyond and you can just see the closet of four cores that are rising above Owen Street.  Over the next year this view will radically change as two of the towers are about the same height as the Hilton and the fourth will be a 64 floor giant, looming over that end of Deansgate. Here they are just beginning to make their presences felt.

I caught the tram back to Chorlton. There was ANOTHER Maker’s Market to explore but it was getting a bit too hot. It was luchtime so I called in to my favourite Chortlton watering hole, ODDEST, for something to eat. They had the BBQ fired up on the terrace so I had a burger with some salad and a glass of wine. 

In a couple of weeks they are going to have a Doggy Social for the well heeled and bandanaed doggies of Chorlton. They are allowed to bring their well behaved humans as well. I’ll have to create some time to go see this.

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