This week I made a short visit to Manchester, a city in the north of England that can be found on any map by simply looking at the wrong side of the Pennines. It was there that a large group of people who like blue things had decided to have a big meeting, though it was a bit different to the other meetings I went to because the people who like blue things seemed pretty sure they were in charge of everyone else, no matter what colour anyone else liked best. They spent a lot of time talking about how only old people like blue things and whether there was a way to convince young people that blue things are best. Outside the conference there were lots of noisy people who had big blue flags with little yellow stars on them, but strangely, none of the people who like blue things seemed to like the people with big blue flags even though the big blue flags were almost entirely blue.
Having had this experience, it is now traditional that I should share what I learned with the Beans.
The first thing I learned is that it rains in Manchester. I arrived under grey skies but it was dry. I walked ten minutes to the hotel. I checked into the hotel. I emerged again from the hotel, on my way to work, to find that it had started doing something that I can only describe as “rain”, though “rain” does not adequately describe the volume of water coming down from the sky. It rained for almost the whole of the rest of my stay.
My shoes were not waterproof. There are holes. They need replacing. They should, I now see, have been replaced some time ago. I spent the day with waterlogged feet. They did not dry for three days. I think I have trench foot.
The second thing I learned is that Manchester doesn’t like people who like blue things. There were a lot of Manchester people shouting at the people who like blue things and someone hung a big banner on a bridge that said HANG THE PEOPLE WHO LIKE BLUE THINGS. Maybe they distrust blue things because the sky is blue when it’s not raining and it’s always raining in Manchester.
The third thing I learned is that Manchester is bad at breakfast. The coffee was bad and the toast was bad and the bacon was bad and the only fruit was melon, cut up four different ways in four different bowls to make it look like there was lots of fruit, and worst of all, there was no jam. No jam at all.
There was also the saddest breakfast table in the world.
I mean look at that. There were two sad little stools under what appears to be a coffee table. Nobody was sitting there. Nobody would ever sit there. It’s a stupid place to have breakfast. Just like Manchester.