Tuesday, 27 April 2010

A Sense of Place

It is 1990. My ten year old self scuffs the toes of her sensible Startrites together and scowls. My sister and I spend our weekends with my Dad who has been browsing Harry Hall Cycles, underneath the Corn Exchange, for almost an hour and I'm bored. As payment for behaving during the interminable talk of inner tubes and Sturmey Archer gears we'll be paid in Marks and Spencer egg mayonnaise sandwiches, consumed in the garden of Manchester Cathedral, before catching the bus home again.

It is 1995. I'm a schoolgirl who thinks she knows it all. On Saturday nights I hop on the Metrolink without paying and race to Idol's where they serve triple vodka for £1.50 before 7.30 pm. My skirt is shorter than a pelmet. An inspector calls and I queue, shamefaced, in Stretford Post Office to buy a Postal Order to pay the fine.

It is 2000. During University holidays I work long hours on the checkouts at Sainsbury's in Salford. I change hurriedly in the staff room at the end of my shift and race to Love Train at Royale's. My heart beats like a drum, poom poom, poom poom. I hail a taxi home and run out of cash on Chester Road, walking the last half mile, carrying my shoes.

It is 2005 and I am planning a Manchester wedding. We have rings made at the Craft and Design centre and spend the summer drinking in city centre bars under patio heaters and planning the future.

It is 2010. My toddler pronounces his a's like one of the Gallagher brothers. I drive into town and complain about the traffic and cost of parking. I curse the students who clutter the Oxford Road pavements and constantly ask 'what used to be there?' as the city changes more quickly than I can keep up. I visit art galleries and museums with a pushchair in tow and always, always know the whereabouts of the nearest public toilet. I am still stubbornly proud of my home town.

Then there's news. Promotion means a family move to the Midlands. With a lifetime of memories within a 15 mile radius, if I'm not Manchester, will I still be me?


Anonymous said...

You'll always be Manc, love, they couldn't beat it out o' yer.

Sandy Calico said...

Really interesting post. I've moved around so much that I feel a bit displaced where ever I am. Good luck with the move.