Saturday 6th December
It's 8pm and I'm driving on the exit slip road from the M56 towards Manchester Airport. On the dashboard the fuel warning light is on and the dial is on red. It's a cold evening outside and the grass on the embankments is white.
The airport road is long and as the fuel gauge drops lower I reach the traffic lights at the roundabout. The lights are on red and as the car stands idling, I go to turn on the radio. I turn the dial and as the radio clicks on the idling speed of the car stutters, the rev counter drops, then it recovers.
The radio is tuned to 104.9FM playing classic hits of the 80's.
The traffic lights are still on red. The car engine is warming up now and there's steam coming off the top of the bonnet as the ice melts and boils off.
Straight ahead from here are the airport car parks and the terminal one building. The aeroplanes inside the runway area will be standing and having de-icer sprayed on them so they don't freeze up for takeoff.
The traffic lights turn green and I drive along the road right up to the airport buildings, around the mini roundabout, then double back along on the other side of the road I just came down, and drive into the petrol station.
I get out of the car, open the filler cap, take the petrol hose and start pouring petrol in the car. It's 89.9 pence a litre which is at the better value end of the scale. I put in £40, pay, go back to the car and start the engine. That's more like it, £40 fills up the tank three quarters. Better than when petrol was at £1.15 a litre and the 60 litre tank cost a lot of money to fill. This car only does 20 mpg around town so it makes all the difference.
I drive out of the fuel station and along the airport roads, to the M56 which leads onto Princess Road. I take a right down Palatine Road and stop the car outside the front office gates of Siemens Industries.
I dial Jackson's number on the mobile phone. It rings.
Me: "I'm going to the Woodstock pub for an hour, do you want to come?"
Me: "I'll see you outside your place in 5 minutes. Will you be ready?"
Jackson: "- - - - - -"
The phone loses signal and beeps to announce the call has been cut off.
Then a text arrives.
Message: "I'll be ready."
I put the car into drive, put the pedal down and turn the steering wheel and spin the back wheels on the ice outside the office gates. The car turns around facing out of Siemens Industries office complex. I drive towards Didsbury.
I pick up Jackson outside his place and then drive over to the Woodstock pub.
We go into the pub, get some drinks and sit down on the chairs on the landing with the stained glass windows.
Me: "It's ok in here."
Jackson: "Yes it's a nice place."
Me: "The chandeliers are nice and it's good service."
Jackson: "There's a place similar in West Didsbury."
Me: "I've been there once it was ok."
The venue is reasonably busy with four groups of students, four groups of careerpeople, and 6 couples.
Me: "I was speaking to Brian earlier on the phone today. He's a guy I met in WHSmith when by chance we were going in on the same day to read magazines every week."
Jackson: "Yes, I do that sometimes too."
Me: "I do buy a magazine if it's good. Although I have a look through first to see if there's anything worth reading in it. Some magazines have lots of content while others are full of adverts."
Jackson: "I don't really buy magazines. I get the free ones given out."
Me: "Anyway. He was saying how it was on the 6 o'clock news and Northwest Tonight that Manchester is the worst place in the UK for binge drinking."
Jackson: "I don't know about that. Maybe because it's a big city."
Me: "I wouldn't think it's as bad as places like Oldham or Rochdale."
Jackson: "They're worse than Manchester."
We talk about venues and going out.
Jackson: "You should try poker nights or Salsa. Hobbies are a good way to go out and meet people."
Me: "I have enough on without learning to play a card game. Salsa is ok for some people. If I was to learn dancing properly it would be something like Ballroom or Tango."
Jackson: "Ballroom? Tango is ok. It's something to do isn't it. Like a hobby. A common interest other than drinking."
Me: "I don't need another hobby. If I have a hobby it would be doing something on my own at home."
Jackson: "You should consider poker. The one in Didsbury is a good night and there are some cool people there."
We talk about business for a while. Then discuss last night.
Jackson: "It was a good night last night."
Me: "Yes it was good seeing all the venues and Cloud 23. I'll go there again in future. It would be good in the daytime."
Jackson: "It is a cool place."
We talk about business then I say:
Me: "We could run a club night. I'd know exactly how to get it right."
Jackson: "How much money does it cost."
Me: "The other day I was speaking to this guy who sells CD's in the street and HMV. He's called Elavi. He was in the newspaper for standing in one place too long with a street pedlars licence. He said you need £200 to £300 a week. We wouldn't need that much though."
Jackson: "No we could do it for less than that."
The Woodstock is a quality venue. We've been out lots this week and it's nice to finish the weekend here. It's a good feeling like we've achieved lots and been out lots. We enjoy the atmosphere and being at a pub. We leave at midnight.
Summary and venue reviews: Saturday 6th December
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Manchester Airport Petrol Station
Quiet. Decor: 6/10.
Notes: Polite service.
Manchester Airport Petrol Station
The Woodstock pub
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual. Decor: 9/10. Music: classic hits, jazz.
Notes: Comfortable and a nice atmosphere to be wiht friends. Music the right volume.