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Friday, 24 August 2007

Manchester Pride 2007

Wednesday 22nd August Sat Nav and I had an early start. We took the dogs to kennels and then set off for Manchester. I was booked to appear at the Taurus Bar, Canal Street, to do an event; a reading from my book Beautiful Strangers followed by a Q & A session. I was looking forward to meeting fellow author Jenny Roberts again; we were appearing together at this event which was scheduled to start at 7pm that night. So it was fingers crossed for no traffic hiccups.

It was dull and damp traveling down the A1 but, by the time we got onto the M62 the sun was shining. And I'm happy to say we had two days of "sunshine all the way" in every respect.

It was a relatively uneventful journey traffic-wise, except that our car was nearly hit by a bouncing boulder that leapt from a passing wagon. Luckily, my quick reaction saved the car from any damage. They really should ensure loads are safe!

Sat Nav was on top form as usual and I'm pleased to report that the dreaded Going South Syndrome didn't strike - except that she has gone to great pains to tell me that we were in fact going West - such a perfectionist.

We stayed at the Marriott Victoria and Albert and would recommend it to anyone. It's a lovely comfortable, welcoming place and nothing is a trouble to the friendly and cheerful staff. I can recommend the cooked breakfast and Sat Nav recommends the
G & T's . . . but not for breakfast!

Both days we had lunch in the hotel. Sat Nav was attacked by the air con on Tuesday and we had to move seats . . . but on Wednesday it was so hot she couldn't wait to sit under it. Me, I just go with the flow . . . it's her hormones lol! Ouch!

Because we had time to spare on Tuesday we enjoyed a stroll around The Basin and I took some great photos of the architecture. We didn't expect Manchester to be so beautiful and could have spent hours just looking at the buildings.

My friend the handsome and debonair Nick Gleeson chauffeured us in absolute style in his luxurious Caddy Escalade to the Taurus Bar. If you want a stylish vehicle for a special occasion then Nick is definitely your man. See pics.

The event was great. My thanks to Jinnine and Michele from Manchester Pride and to Jenny for helping me to feel comfortable - I should point out that in this respect I was a virgin and this was my first official public reading. Phew! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and hope that Jenny and I appear together again. I can't believe I came away without a copy of her book Needlepoint . . . next time Jenny, eh?

Huge thanks to our lovely audience for taking the time to come along and not being frightened to talk to us and ask questions. You made it a great event and we were actually running out of time - to me that's a huge measure of a successful evening.
To the girl whose partner who had just finished writing her book that day, here's wishing her 'Good Luck' from me.

Then Nick took us to see the sights and 'lights of Manchester'.
Thanks Nick. The tour was great and I have the pics to prove it.
You looked after us extremely well and we hope that everyone books your car.

Then it was back to the hotel for G & T's.

Wednesday was a gloriously hot day. After enjoying a tasty full English breakfast I headed off to Waterstones on Deansgate to sign copies of my book. Imagine my surprise when they could not find them . . . although they knew the books had to be somewhere in the store because they were registered on their computer system. The manager thought they might be placed aside on order for customers to collect.
But, they have ordered more copies now, and although they won't be signed copies they will be in the main window display . . . so go check it out for me please, and mail me when you see them. Cheers.

Sat Nav and I called into the Science Museum for a brief visit. We were told we could see into the Coronation Street set from the top floor . . . so camera in hand there we were, only to be disappointed 'cos we couldn't see a thing!

So, it was back to the Marriott for lunch - under the air con!

After lunch we headed off to Borders Bookstore at Cheatham Hill. Donna, Marriott Receptionist . . . thanks . . . you're directions were spot-on!

David Massey met us at Borders. A great guy who made us very welcome. I signed ten copies of Beautiful Strangers for him, available in-store now.

Naturally, we had to undergo some retail therapy here, although we would have loved to have spent more time in the city centre shopping as the shops are to die for, and then it was back to Borders and Starbucks for tea and blueberry muffins . . . oh, how we've missed those blueberry muffins . . . lol!

You'll not believe this...but while we were sat minding our own business a strangely familiar car (a silver Mercedes SLK) pulled up outside . . . yes, you've got it in one - it was Hyacinth Dickinson at the wheel.
Of course, we tried to hide behind our magazines, so I don't think she saw us. But it was difficult because she came in with Penny (Lady Corday) and they sat directly opposite us! Well, I ask you?

I wonder if she was at the Taurus Bar? Or doing the rounds in Canal Street? And where did she stay? Not The Marriott . . .  although I did think I caught a glimpse of her on Wednesday morning, but told myself not to be so silly!

Maybe she'll put a blog out . . . and then we'll know for sure, eh?

Our drive home was good, except that the traffic was heavy and there was some congestion getting on to the M62, but we did leave Manchester at 5pm . . . yes, we can hear you laughing . . . not the best time to leave a city, we know . . .

All-in-all we enjoyed two great days in Manchester. The people are ever so friendly, and we can't wait to go again.

Laters . . . . . .

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