The denizens of Didsbury don’t queue in supermarkets for their Christmas provisions. They have staff to do that for them. Either that or it’s delivered courtesy of Waitrose or Marks & Spencer’s. However, they are not above queuing at one of the local independent stores to pick up a few quality treats to nibble on over the festive season. 

We’re all getting together for Christmas lunch and everyone is bringing something or helping with the cooking. I was told to bring something for the cheese course. People have the cheese course at different times in the meal. I believe that in France it comes after the main course but before the dessert. In the UK it comes after the dessert. I’d had enough queuing in supermarkets yesterday so I caught the tram to Didsbury to go to The Cheese Hamlet, probably the best cheese store in the city. 

I got there by 10am and the queue was well on the way to merging with the queue for Evan’s the Fishmongers next door on the corner of Barlow Moor Road and Wilmslow Road. Round the corner on Barlow Moor Road the fishmonger queue was snaking down the street towards the one for Axon’s the butchers. 

It was a good natured queue. Being Didsbury people passed the time reading the Saturday morning edition of The Guardian. 

The little store was packed with people picking up orders (wish I’d thought of that) or choosing Christmas cheese.

The Cheese Hamlet has the best selection of cheeses in Manchester and that’s a big city.

The tall guy, second from the right, served me. There was an awkward moment when I couldn’t find my bank card in my wallet. Thought I was going to have to go back home to retrieve it. Fortunately, it appeared in one of the pockets of my bag.

Outside they had set up another little stall for people who didn’t want to queue. I checked the selection of cheeses outside after I’d got mine. Two were outside as well! But the third wasn’t. 

Queue outside Evan’s the Fishmonger…

Queue outside Axon’s the Butchers…

I bought a good strong, artisan Cheddar (you can buy ‘cheddar’ type cheese all over the world but you have no idea what it really tastes like until you have tried the real McCoy from Somerset), a good Blue Stilton and a rich creamy Brie from France. There are some oatcakes and crackers to serve the cheese on and some special Cheese Hamlet Chutney to serve it with. Port wine is the usual drink to go with cheese. The nice bag came from Sainsbury’s. 

The first of the Spring flowers were on sale for Christmas.

Later on in the morning, I found myself driving behind this van belonging to a local company providing services to the high maintenance doggies that live in south Manchester, ‘All Wagged Out’. You can see what they do for them on the van. But what I liked was the yellow registration plate. I like it when people pay attention to detail.

When I got home I was delighted to find that our tickets for the stadium tour of Strictly Come Dancing had arrived just in time for me to present them as a Christmas present.


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