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Monday, 25 July 2011

Ben & Jerry's Sundae Festival, Lunch at Giraffe and Other Lovely Things

Like it or not, we are living in an age of increasing political correctness. We have all read the gleeful tabloid articles that loudly ridicule the fact that school-children are no longer allowed to play conkers without the use of protective eye-wear (this was never a problem in my day - we were a sedate, lazy bunch who preferred to sit quietly and swap stickers), and that no-one is permitted to go away a loser on Sports Day (again, never an issue for those of us who spent as much of that dreaded day as possible lurking behind the pavillion trying to avoid any kind of physical exercise.) And whilst these kind of extreme examples are easily mocked, we should all of course celebrate that we live in a time of relative equality, where we are all free to celebrate our own worth and value to the world around us.

And yet. A blatant and unfair example of inequality regularly goes unmentioned, swept under the carpet of shame rather than ever being fully acknowledged or addressed. For, much as it pains me to say it, some weekends are simply much, much better than others. Take the weekend I have just had, for example. A bright, shiny, bullying behemoth of a weekend, there's simply no way that a wet couple of days in February spent marking coursework and doing a bit of ironing could ever compete. It claimed all (ALL!) of this as its own:

1. Friday night drinks at the Fletcher Moss. Shame on those of you at the back who are whispering that this is one of Didsbury's Old Man pubs - just because they don't do cocktails doesn't mean that, ahem, terribly young and fashionable people like myself can't go there. They have an excellent selection of red wines by the glass, lovely staff, and second-hand books to buy, and I will defend its desirability as a Friday-night hot-spot until my dying day (at which point, obviously, I will start drinking in the Royal Oak.)

2. Saturday lunch at Giraffe, Spinningfields. Obviously here I've left out the bit where I watched some cricket in my pyjamas and moved directly to the bit where I polished off a plate of Giraffe's mighty Huevos Rancheros in a new world-record time of 8.7 seconds (although I was aided by a strong following wind.) If you've never had this Mexican-inspired breakfast, I'm at a loss to understand why - tortilla with refried beans, chorizo and eggs, made virtuous and healthy by the addition of some salsa and avocado. They serve this breakfast until 4pm, meaning that you can go and try it, even if you're a student.

3. Saturday night takeaway. Now I know on the face of it, to consume an enormous curry (complete with sundries) on the same day as having lunch at Giraffe might look a little greedy, but I asked Twitter its opinion and it came back with a unanimous "Go For It" verdict. And anyway, we went to Amin, where they do the most amazing reduced fat curries, so in all likelihood I burnt off all the calories simply by going to fetch it (or I would have done, if I hadn't in fact sent Mr Liz.)

4. Sunday at the Ben & Jerry's Sundae Festival, Heaton Park. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, suggesting a number of reasons why I thought I might be fabulous; it was actually even better than I'd hoped. The sun shone (thereby allowing those of us with Greek tans to watch imperiously as our countrymen and women turned a fetching shade of pink), the bands were fabulous (especially the Fun Lovin' Criminals who, despite swearing with much gusto, couldn't disguise the fact that they are now, essentially, a bunch of really rather cuddly middle-aged men), and the ice-cream was FREE. I felt really rather ashamed of having consumed five gargantuan cones; until, that is, Mr Liz confessed to having lost count at 8.

In fact, there were only two flaws in the whole weekend. Firstly, Waterstones have sold out of tickets for Caitlin Moran on Thursday, so if you have tickets and want me to be your date, please be in touch. Secondly, on Saturday, we walked all the way to Burton Road in West Didsbury to try new(ish) bar Mary and Archie's, only to find it closed for a private party, forcing me to saunter casually but resentfully past pretending that I hadn't really wanted to go in there anyway.

So next time you're picking a cause to support, rather than going for something obvious, consider that poor little February non-weekend - it needs all of us to help protect it from brilliant, swaggering July triumphs.

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