Saturday 18 February 2023
I do like a half term! A little bit like a the starter in a three course meal, or the John Lewis advert before a lengthy Christmas movie, it is the small perfectly formed feature of the school holiday calendar. Too short for procrastination and wasting time, there’s nothing for it but to have some great days out… even if all of mine seem to involve red wine!
Rest assured; I hold off on the Merlot until at least midday!
The days dawn with Duolingo! Despite much searching, I have admitted defeat in my quest to find a face to face German class and have instead downloaded the Duolingo app. Confess, I must, to a rapid descent into obsession… by day three, I am number two on the leader board. The top spot, well its only a matter of time…
My second morning quest; being a super-mum. Yes, Small boy and I have different half terms, and so I set my alarm, for 7:30 am each morning (still a luxurious lie-in) and run him to college. For me, this is actually quite a treat. When my trio were little, I did do some playground parent duties but ex-hub left when all three were under 8 and ever since, I’ve been fully-working, frantic mum, hurling primary-age kids into pre-school clubs, before tearing up the motorway to work and entrusting in the fate of their school travel to TfGM from the moment they hit high school. So this week, a relaxed start for us both, (some mornings we even manage breakfast) followed by a convivial chat on the 20 minute journey to lesson 1, makes us smile.
As the clock chimes noon however, it is often time for me to head out and catch-up with my fabulous friends. I do afternoon tea, in the middle of Manchester with a bottle of Montepulciano and whisky chasers. I do a tapas lunch with large glasses of Merlot and so much laughter that the waitress comes over to check that we are ok and to share the joke. And finally, oh finally I discover the newest delights of Oxford Road, when I meet one of my friends after work.
Firstly, there’s his snazzy new offices, amidst the eateries and mini outdoor ‘symphony’ space of Circle Square, after which we wander to Hatch, a lively set of bars and food stalls unashamedly housed below the concrete bridges and flyovers of the 20th century road system. We enjoy some lovely ‘natural wine’ and catch-up on on January news, before heading to astonishing Kimpton Tower Hotel.
Wow – the place is incredible. Housed in a magnificent terracotta Grade II–listed building, Kimpton Clocktower has a history that dates back to 1890, when the building first opened as The Refuge Assurance Company headquarters. Today, it’s a stylish hotel, with a killer bar. It gives me such ‘Raffles Hotel’ vibes that I reach for the cocktail menu and find, not a Singapore, but a ‘Salford Sling’. Utterly delicious and the Victorian architecture is so amazing that some small detail takes my attention every 5 minutes. I will definitely be back.
Regrettably, half term is now drawing to a close, so I shall also soon be back to work and the dreaded 6am wake-up call. Am I looking forward to that? I really cannot say that I am. Nonetheless, whilst there is still nothing to rival the sparkle and magic of my Christmas holiday, this was a really nice half-term and and a chance to remember that there is far more to life than ‘eat, sleep work, repeat’…