Well, it was bound to happen - a week of unfeasibly glorious weather, viewed grudgingly through the windows of a classroom in which resentful, underdressed students are forcibly penned - and come the weekend, come the first West Didsbury Market, it was bound to go a bit cold and rubbish. But no matter; my feet were pleased to be safely back in their cosy FitFlop boots after last night's gladiator sandal experiment, and the return of more typical British weather conditions meant that large quantities of calorific food products could be purchased at the market without qualm, as a nice layer of winter fat is clearly still advisable.
The West Didsbury Market is going to take place on the last Saturday of every month, and has found itself an ideal home in front of the Withington Community Hospital - plenty of parking, plenty of space, and no issues with being accidentally run over while eating a pie. Now my fingers have defrosted sufficiently to type, here are the highlights of a splendid day...
First stop, the meat-laden stall of The Artisan Meat Company, where the lovely Paul tempted us with his succulent sausages and beautiful bacon. Tragically, he had so many flavours to offer us that we were forced to sample an array of sausagey titbits before choosing which to buy; indeed, next time Mr Liz wants me to take a larger handbag so that I may scoop a load in while he distracts the stall-holders by performing handstands and cartwheels.
Next stop, lunch. Mr Liz went for a steak and ale pie from the winningly-named Pie Guys, while I went for a bowl of mixed goodness from the Pinchjo's stall. If you've visted Joe's Burton Road tapas bar then you'll already know how good his food is, and this was no exception - salad, rice, chickpeas with spinach and chicken all in a bowl so generously laden that a lurking boy (who had already, let us not forget, snaffled a pie) was forced to finish it off.
Then, we bought cheese (as is the actual law at these type of markets), but I have been remiss and not noted the name of the stall we purchased from. I am going to guess, and say it was "Mr Cheesy's Cheese Emporium", purely because this is what I would like the stall to have been called. In my defence, I can claim to have been distracted as by this time Mark Hackett, Lord Mayor of Manchester, had arrived to officially open the event, and I wished to find out whether the rumours about him being presented with a cake bearing his face were true.
They weren't. Instead, the cake - rustled up, I believe, by the good people of Silver Apples - carried an image of the beautiful West Didsbury mosaic created by Amanda McCrann for WestFest2010. Rather ironically, Amanda was about the only person not to get a piece of the cake that bore her design, as it was carefully sliced before her very nose and then whisked away to be given to other, non-mosaic designing folk.
And finally, speaking of cake, no food market would be complete without a visit to a cupcake stall. We were lured by the sensibly-priced wares of The Butterfly Cupcakery, which had nearly sold out despite having started the day with 300 cakes. Before you start pointing the finger, I can confirm I only bought two of them - we had the last chocolate and mint ones, and very nice they were too.
We left just as Busker's Corner was getting into full swing (a coincidence, I promise), and I can only imagine how delightful this event is going to be in the (hopefully) balmy days of summer.