The Vault Regulars

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Manchester Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. Thanks to all who have been on the blog and sent emails etc.
Sheila and I usually go away for Christmas either to Scotland or to the Lake District. This year we didn't book either. As it turned out it was a good idea. The driving conditions in Scotland would have resulted in the trip being cancelled and us losing our deposits.
We decided to have Christmas on our own this year. The first time ever. It was decided that we would have a busman's holiday and be tourists in our own town. We checked into the Midland Hotel in Manchester. We have stayed in many of Manchester's hotels but we have agreed that this hotel has come top of the list so far.
The rooms, staff, food and the bar were excellent. What more did we want.
Well that was the good part. Manchester city centre was something else. We had booked 3 nights in the hotel and was looking forward to the towns Christmas festivities. Christmas eve, Manchester was dead. No pubs open, well not that we could find. Christmas day the odd pub was open from 12 o'clock until 3.00pm. We expected the pubs on Christmas day to close early so we were not too disappointed that the city was again dead. It seemed surreal walking around with nobody in sight and all the streets empty of cars. There was fog in the city and it reminded us of the old streets of london scenes from the victorian times.
We had booked our Christmas Lunch in Chinatown and it was a very enjoyable banquet. We were a bit shocked at how few people were booked in for the meal. When considering that thousands of apartment have been built in Manchester, where was everybody?
Boxing day, we were all set up in the Old Monkey on Portland street for a few beers. There was a good crowd in and we didn't even mind it having a few city supporters in. The game had just finished with the blues winning but enough said about that. The atmosphere was very good when we were told that the pub was shutting at 8.00pm. The pub went silent for a second and then "what" was heard from all around. In total disbelief we had just 15 minutes to get another pint, drink it and leave. There were people coming in, one's and two's and big groups and being told it was shut. Turning out a full pub has got to be madness.
Having left the pub we wandered round trying to find another watering hole which we did, Wetherspoons was open, just off Albert Square, until 9.00pm !!!! wow. After 2 pints here we ended up going back to the Midland Hotel bar. Nothing wrong with that but we like the pub atmosphere.
We later found out that there was some refreshment palaces open in the Gay Village. By then we were a bit worse for wear anyway so it didn't matter.
All in all we had a very stress free break and would do it again, but we were disappointed with Manchester's lack of festive spirit. Cheers to everyone at the Midland.

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