I just had to do a couple of hours work today and the rest of the day was my own. This time next Friday I’ll be somewhere on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset in southern England, possibly Bournemouth, where dinosaurs fall out of the cliffs daily. The Mini and I are having a bit of a road trip and are going to see all kinds of ancient things which will be exciting news for regular readers of this blog. Or maybe not…

I decided to replace some of the rags and tatters that I usually wear and buy some things for the trip. I’m hoping it’s going to be dry, maybe even warm and sunny down there while I’m about. I needed a new pair of trainers (sports shoes in the US) so caught the tram to Media City. Just across from Media City is the Lowry Outlet Mall and I had at the back of my mind there was a Nike store there. Not being a 14 year old lad with parents who have more money than sense, I don’t need the latest styles sold at stupid amounts of money. I’m quite happy with some of the left overs from last season at a much cheaper price. But the Nike store had gone and nowhere else there looked like a good place to buy something of the right quality at a reasonable price.

I crossed the dock back to Media City…

I had a Pret a Manger picnic for lunch in the company of a couple of Mobikes. Media City is the spiritual home of Mobikeism and BBC and other media types were cycling around the area on them to important meetings and lunch dates and the like…

I enjoyed my Pret picnic but might have gone for some street food had I noticed the sign before buying my lunch. Especially as one of the offerings was from The Hip Hop Chip Shop of which I’ve heard good, if not ecstatic, things. I did like the name of the pie and mashed potato van, Pietanic…

Lunch over, I caught the tram into the city to do my shopping. Shockingly, Manchester was NOT in a state of festival for a change. We are having a rest for a couple of weeks before the Pride weekend at the end of the month I think. First stop was the GAP, where I got some useful T shirts in plain colours that are great for the layered summer look. And I liked this check shirt so I bought it. I have worked hard these last few weeks and deserve it!…

Next I went to M&S to buy a belt. All of mine seem to have fallen apart and I’ve been trying to use one that I bought when was about 16 and had a 28″ waist! It’s been a struggle. I got this one that is reversible, brown for dressing down and black for a smarter outfit. Then I spotted this shirt with fossils on which will be perfect for the Jurassic Coast…

Close up of the pattern…

I was heading for a certain sports store (which I hate) in the Arndale Centre to buy some trainers. It’s way too big, way too crowded, badly set out and the company has a bad reputation for how it treats its employees. I was loathe to go there and was pleased I remembered the VANS store nearby. I lived in VANS, along with Abercrombie and Fitch, GAP and Hollister when we were in California. I found these beautiful suede shoes. And there’s the same pair but in a red which might have to be bought as well…

Then it was to the Lindt store to buy some of their delicious truffles. As you can see it got out of hand. I have a loyalty card which I wanted to redeem. I picked my selection (top bag) and went to pay. The guy said that it made more sense to buy a few more and get a discount for the larger amount. With my redeemed loyalty card that was 23 more truffles (middle bag)! Then, because I’d bought so many I got a free gift of another bag (bottom bag)!

It was then off to Federation in the N4 for some coffee and cake. Federation was full of hipsters busy on their iPads and Macs doing wonderful things of great importance I’m sure. I just had a piece of this Raspberry and Cream Victoria Sponge wonderfulness. I discovered that it was made by Robinson’s, the Manchester bakery that makes those delicious Manchester tarts… 

I went back to Exchange Square to catch the tram home. I was delighted to see that they are restoring the square to how it looked before they built the tram station. To build the tram station they had to move underground services from the tram lines. That involved digging up the square and destroying the beautiful paving which they then filled with tarmac. It looked bad and the architect of the square was less than pleased, and took the city council to task when she saw the state of the place on a visit. It’s good to see it being put right. Hopefully they will sort out the tarmac gash across Albert Square, also caused by the building of the new tram line…

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