Saturday, May 26, 2012

A trip to Manchester: Saturday into Sunday

Saturday morning came late, but I don't think either of us really cared too much - not after the fun of the previous night...

After a little time of indulgent puppy-nuzzling and thigh-bumping, Sir finally pushed me out of bed and demanded His morning tea and biscuits - whilst we discussed a few ideas about what to do with the remains of the day (we were very careful not to call them 'plans' - we were on holiday after all!). We both agreed that the first job was to get some breakfast, and so we leathered up and headed into the centre of Manchester to see what we could find...

After a fun little tour around, looking at the amazing red-brick Victorian grandeur (and avoiding the odd tram) we finally stopped a very nice parking attendant, who told us where to find bike parking.

It was already too late for breakfast, so we decided to look for somewhere suitable for brunch instead - and were lucky to find a table at Bistro 1847 (in part because there was a cute gay couple sat in the window. Shallow, I know). It was a good find though - since they served the best vegetarian food I have ever eaten, anywhere.  Sir chose the purple potato rosti, poached egg, homemade hollandaise and  asparagus, whilst the pup went for the 'vegetarian fish and chips' of beer-battered tofu, hand-cut chips and minted mushy peas (along with just about everyone else in the restaurant, from what I could see!).

Honestly, I'm not much of a foody, but that meal was heaven. The tofu literally exploded in the mouth and then melted on your tongue. I 'ooh'd and 'mmmm'd so much, I think several of the other dinners thought I was doing a Meg Ryan... :)

In fact it was that nice that I went on about it for the next couple of days - and bored my poor Man silly suggesting we go back for afternoon tea and breakfast the next morning...!

Beautifully sated, we headed back to the bike with the intention of heading out to Salford Quays and beyond - but Sir had noticed that the bike wasn't riding well earlier that morning, and so we stopped at the first petrol station we could find to give it a look over.

Which is when we discovered an inch-long chunk of aluminium embedded in the rear tyre and a slow flat (by this time down to an almost-flat 5 psi).

We limped the bike over the road to a supermarket car-park (with the pup grimacing as its Man cursed over the intercom) - then Sir called the RAC, whilst the pup made a quick check for local tyre-places on its phone (with Sir's lovely man doing the same back at home). Every one of the dealers we could find were closed for the weekend, and Sir normally has to preorder His rear-tyres anyway, so we were both resigned to the idea that our weekend was going to end with an early ride home on the back of an RAC tow-truck. (The pup did try its best to cheer us both up by chirpily suggesting that could in itself be a little exciting, since I've never been towed home before. A dog's job is to make its Man happy, regardless, after-all...!).

However, the lovely Steve from RCA saved the day!!

He turned up within the hour, with a big cheery smile and lots of admiration for Sir's bike  (and the almost standard straight-man's comment that "I'm an ex-biker too: but the wife made me get rid of mine when the kids came...". Poor sods). He took one look at the tyre, said "We'll have that sorted in 10 minutes!" - and blow me, he did!

He pulled out the aluminium chunk with some pliers (accompanied by lots of disturbing hissing from the tyre), and then plugged the hole with a bradawl. There's probably a technical term for it, but he then pulled out some special 'rubber-plug' thingy that he covered in blue-glue and then pushed into the hole with what looked like a crochet hook. He let the glue dry for a few minutes whilst we chatted about chains and shafts, and then He simply pumped the tyre back up, declaring it would be good for a few days of riding, and should certainly get us around Manchester for the rest of the weekend and back home again after. Amazing.

I only just had enough time to snap a few shots of him busy at work, with Sir anxiously watching the surgery...

And that was it: a bit of paperwork, a cheery wave, and we were back on the road.

We decided to head on over to Salford Quays anyway, even though it was getting a little late in the day. We pottered around the quays for a bit (only just missing a small firework display on one of the bridges), then bought some lovely hand-made Turkish Delight and  spent an enjoyable few hours munching through the majority of the bag as we wandered around the shopping mall and the surrounding area.

The we popped into the Lowry Centre to look at the exhibition of work by L.S. Lowry (which also gave my Man a nice chance to see His pup with my proper Art Librarian head on... ).

Then it was back to the hotel for a nap ("No - I said a nap, pup. Down. Stay!"), before the night's planned visit to Canal Street...

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