Sunday, 10 February 2013

Chinese New Year, Indian food and London fog.

It's been wonderful today. We went to Manchester to witness the Chinese New Year celebrations. It's something I've wanted to do for years, but it's never been a priority.

I think you know what I mean by that. We plan to go, but then other things come up. Other things that seem more important. Small things; family things.

So it was a real success to actually get there and watch the celebrations. I was there with Cherie and Nina.

It was raining and cold. But that did not dampen the spirits of the street vendors with their tasty smelling noodles. It didn't affect the colourful smiling performers dancing, singing and mock fighting. It didn't put out the noisy fire crackers or stop the acrid smell of the gunpowder smoke. The traditional Chinese dragon and lion still marched to the metal beat of cymbals, gongs and drums.

The weather did, however, chill us to the point where we needed to find somewhere warm. Somewhere indoors.

And we found Oklahoma. After the dragon, this was the most memorable part of the day for me. Oklahoma is a little cafe/shop just opposite the Buddhist Centre on Turner Street.

It was a place of character and charm serving hot drinks that were uniquely different to those served by the corporate money grabbers like Starbucks or Cafe Nero.

Nina had a drink called London Frog. Sorry, fog. Cherie had camomile tea. And I had hot apple juice - with cinnamon and cloves.

We went in cold and came out fulfilled. I'll be going back.

We tramped back to the car and drove to Rusholme. We'd arranged to meet Ian Longstaff in Shere Khan. Three of us had fish curry in various sauces and Cherie had a cauliflower and spinach dish made to her request. Cars bustled noisily through the snow on the garishly lit street outside.

The bill paid, Nina and Ian went on to an evening of music; one of Ian's friends was performing. Cherie and I left for home.

We drove contentedly along snowy motorways.

Thank you all for a wonderful day. Having met such wonderful people through the wild swimmers, my faith in humanity has been restored. It makes me happy to know that there are others in the world who genuinely want to, as Bill and Ted would say, "be excellent to each other".

Location:Home. Sofa, actually

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