Pre-reading Dictionary (Northern -Standard English):
Chips = French Fries / Pommes Frites
Footy = Football – Soccer
Gravy = a sauce often made from the juices of meats that run naturally during cooking and thickened with wheat flour or cornstarch for added texture.
Lad = Man
Lass = Lady
Ta = Thanks
Looking back at my days as an undergraduate university student made me think that there is something somewhat philosophical in being rained upon almost every single day of the year.
No matter what you do in life, where you come from, the amount of money in your bank account, when you are in Manchester you will get drenched. It’s almost as if someone wanted to remind everyone that there is nothing one can do to counter the great force of the cosmos and that everyone in that Northern city is in the same boat. You are not alone when you are slowly drowning in greyness, dampness , cold and misery.
Will you get to work with a clean suit or will a double decker bus go full speed into a puddle and cover you in mud? Every morning people in Manchester leave their homes without knowing the answer to this quintessential question. After all, who are we to know the cards destiny has laid out for us?
However there are some solutions one can take to counter all of this. Finding a pub, which there are plenty of (surprise, surprise), is always a good start. Once inside, choose between a wide range of cheap and pretty good beers (lagers and traditional ales) and order a massive portion of cheesy chips with extra gravy, two things which always succeed in cheering you up, at least momentarily. It’s easy to find friendly people to share your misery with and of course being in England what better way to break the ice than talking about how shitty the weather outside is. Conversation with the lads is likely to cover topics such as footy and how City or United is doing in the league and you might even be lucky enough to talk about Rugby (topics I would not cover categorically as I know close to nothing about sport and am rather proud of this).
When you reach that point in the night when the conversation starts to run dry you either turn your attention to the lasses or you pick up a fight. If you choose the first option you might want to try out your well-rehersed pick up lines in the hope you’ll get lucky, remember to keep it classy: ‘Hello gourgeous, what can I get ya?’ tends to be an all time winner. If you would rather opt for the latter the best way of going about it is by shouting out loud something along the lines of: ‘Well, if you think about it, Thatcher was not that bad after all’. The reactions will be epic, guranteed. I, however, did not generally pick any of the above as I prefered going home, having a glass of milk with 2 or 3 digestive bisucuits and hitting the bed.
The good thing is that once you get kicked out of the pub, depending on how many pints you end up drinking, you will not even feel the rain, beer truly is God’s blessing in that part of the world.
I firmly believe it is important for one to strive for more long term solution to the constant, dramatic, sense of submission to God/Mother Nature that becomes your way of life whilst in Manchester. So:”Taxi! TAXI!! – once it eventually stops -To the airport please mate, ta!”
Up, up, up and AWAY!!