Now, truth be told I don't really mind how bad the weather is if I'm not out in it. Indeed, a certain pleasure can be gained by snuggling ever deeper under the duvet as the rain lashes the window panes and your wheelie bins blow merrily across the garden (although I am far too embarrassed to admit that when I got up this morning, the only bin that hadn't blown over was the glass recycling one - perhaps this one was, ahem, slightly better weighted down than the others...)
But it's a whole different matter when your hard-won Saturday dawns and the weather is no better. A single glance out the window - paperboy struggling manfully against sheets of horizontal rain, army of carrier bags performing intricate dance along the street, duck across the road peering out its front door before shaking its head, saying "nah" and going back inside - was enough to suggest that emergency wet weather plans needed to be hatched if the day was not to be a complete write-off. So here are my suggestions for a wet Saturday:
1. Watch cookery shows whilst wearing pyjamas and eating toast. To be honest, this one takes place most Saturdays, the only variable in the equation being the identity of the programme in the much-coveted 11.30 post-Saturday Kitchen slot. This morning I watched an improbably attractive woman rustling up giant breadsticks and other assorted goodies, and to whom I offer the following observations:
- I would advise against cooking in a pristine white shirt; you may have got away with it this time, but I feel you're asking for trouble.
- If you want to eat your food in a sexy, Nigella-esque manner, a large prawn atop a chunk of bread is an unwise choice, requiring a substantial and undignified bite, and absolutely no languid fingerlicking whatsoever.
- Your food looks very good though, and I hope that if I eat more of it I will end up as enviably slim as you.
2. Have breakfast at Wetherspoons. This is apparently what you do if you do not wish to watch cookery shows with your wife, involving elaborate charades about having "urgent business in Didsbury"; this morning, for example, a simple visit to the Post Office took over an hour. The bacon butties are £1.19, coffee is 70p, and if you buy this combination five times then the coffee is free on the sixth visit. Mr Liz is quite ridiculously excited by this massive saving, and completely oblivious to the fact that if you tweet about your free coffee you blow your shambolic "Post Office" story sky high.
3. Go to The Cheshire Smokehouse. OK, I know this is in Wilmslow, not Manchester, but it's perfect for a dreary wet Saturday (as long as you can avoid being splashed by a 4 x 4 in the carpark, or trampled by a pair of Hunter wellies inside, obviously.) Today I bought sausages, bacon, pancetta, smoked garlic, hummous, cheese, and a very exciting dip made from butternut squash and harissa *pauses to wipe slaver from keyboard* and all for under £15. I do suspect it would be very easy to accidentally spend several thousand pounds here though, and am therefore most pleased with my bargain-seeking eye.
4. Talking of bargains, where better for a wet day than a bookshop? I have eulogised before about the Bookshop at Oakmere, but today discovered its big sister, the impressively hefty Bookshop Brierlow Bar, which claims to be the largest bargain bookshop in the UK (as well as, bizarrely, the highest). I am really not to be trusted with this kind of shop, always leaving with armfuls of obscure titles, and today was no exception. If you are an eighteenth century lady of slightly dubious reputation there is a fair chance that your biography has a place on my shelves, and if you are a writer of worthy books about the English Language then I may well be single-handedly supporting your career. And yes, this bookshop is near Buxton, and therefore a fair drive out, but I always think that driving across the tops on The Cat and Fiddle in zero visibility adds a certain frisson to any otherwise dull day.
So I sit here now with a certain triumphant smugness that I have had a marvellous day despite the weather. Mind you, tomorrow is meant to be worse, so if anyone has any ideas that involve neither housework nor marking, please send them urgently.