This is the rear of Withington high street. Just a few minutes from here I was nearly mugged by a group of teenagers. They shouted and caught up with me sensing a target and wanting money. One of them said “we can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way”. It would have been laughable because of ridiculous theatricality were it not intended to threaten, intimidate, and suggest forthcoming violence. I wasn’t unduly bothered because it was stupid council house bravado. I walked away saying I’ve had enough of this. They went in the opposite direction.

There used to be a quaint little cinema on the high street here but it fell into disrepair and was demolished. I went there once and it was grim. Broken seats and rowdy idiots from the nearby estates. Withington is not one of the worst parts of Manchester but has its moments. A few years ago I saw two men and a woman skulking in a nearby doorway taking drugs. The other side of these buildings there’s a chip shop I visit occasionally which is partly run and presumably owned by some Italians. They’re very pleasant.

Close to where I encountered the idiots there’s a barbers I use. I don’t live around here but it suits me because it offers a sensible price for a simple cut. I usually see the same chap who’s always pleased to see me and I him. I tell him about my walking. He enjoys it. He told me he used to be in the Iranian army, they had bad bread, and used to throw it at each other in fun.

I used to take my car to a garage here just to the left. My brakes failed after a service and the owner neither apologised nor explained what had happened. There were other problems too and when a tyre came off after a minor motorway swerve I stopped going there. I was lucky to survive an eighty mile an hour collision. I crashed into trees and bushes, my car spinning round twice. I could have hit the concrete barrier and other cars. “You were bracing yourself?” a nurse asked when I told her what had happened, and how I’d slumped downward in the final second after I’d lost control. “No” I said, “it was resignation”. That’s Buddleia growing in the tiny overgrown yard. Now I know the name of it.


Manchester Wild Flowers: Easy Way

Saturday August 16, 2014