Back to school, back to a familiarly Autumnal hustle and bustle. In the space of six weeks I'd forgotten how hard it was to get not one but two people ready to leave the house in one hour flat, and in the course of this effort to remember everything; not just the schoolbags and uniform but the daily-changing extras, which today meant a scale model of 'The Pyramids' constructed lovingly out of bright yellow lego, but actually more reminiscent in its execution of the brutalist architecture of Wolverhampton Polytechnic Students Union, circa 1985. Somehow the makeshift structure, stuffed into a Marks and Spencers carrier bag (we were taking the long route through the leafy middle class ghetto this morning, so the Co-op bag mysteriously lined with ancient breadcrumbs just would not do) survives the journey, and the day's most important task is over by 8:50AM.
On the 41 out to Manchester's Fashionable Westside, no fare to pay as, further to an exasperated phone call the other week when the bus home failed to show for upwards of an hour, the handsome chief inspector of the Finglands Coachways Rusholme depot has seen fit to dip into the folds of his greatcoat and send me in the post a specially-laminated ticket entitling the holder to one week's free travel on all services, no questions asked. In an effort to avoid the recurrent workaday gloom brought on by dreary suburb of Sale Moor and its cohort of tweed-trousered buspass-wielding retired engineers, I bury my head in a Metro newspaper picked off the freshly-mopped floor of the double-decker public conveyance and learn of: bitter rivalries between London-based Premier League managers of Iberian origin; a vacancy for a 'Media Sales Executive' in Cheadle Hulme; a momentous telephone call between Barack Obama and the President of Iran; an acclaimed new release by the Manhattan-based veteran cinematic auteur Woody Allen.
Inevitably, a day's work ensues. By half past five I've had just about enough of suburban community politics and lemon cake (this, by the way, will be the title of my work-related memoirs,when I tell you all the juicy Westside public sector gossip that was simply too hot to print first time round, oh yes) and am heading for a teatime 41 back home. Rainclouds are threatening, but the shaven-headed middle-aged hardmen of Northenden, I am pleased to note, remain out in force on the terraces of the European style café bars of south Manchester's fashionable Palatine Road, where pints of Stella remain advertised at £2.50 the pint.
Back home, to a backdrop of clattering Bruce Forsyth punchlines and superstar professional golfers of yesteryear gamely attempting the waltz, I settle down to the important business of getting my predictions on. The fixture computer has set up a matching pair of Merseyside versus North-East encounters, and I spend some time ruminating on the potential for Sunderland's caretaker manager to inspire his temporary charges to an unlikely home victory over Liverpool. In the end I decide discretion is the better part of valour, and take the favourites to prevail, 2-1.
This morning, familiar Saturday morning sounds: magpies chattering cheerfully on the back field (I'm taking this as a portent for a Newcastle victory at Everton, by the odd goal in three); Frankie intermittently playing with his trainset and marching around the house singing Michael Buble classics into a microphone stuffed inside of a sock (don't ask). I think maybe I had better get off the computer and take some kind of charge of proceedings, as we have a one-year old's birthday party to go to and possibly a traders' market (oh we are very bohemian in M19, you know). Onwards, and best of luck to your luck.