Posts Tagged ‘Northern Quarter’

Some nights are better than others. Last night I surfaced for the second waking (1am) feeling catastrophically grumpy. Quite, quite cross and with a scratchy, tetchy headache that thumped from one side of my hemisphere to the other. Cold arms dragged me from the warmth of my bed, while Milo grumbled and did the jagged ah-ah-ah cry that seems designed to slice through sleep like a knife through butter. I was not best pleased – it had only been two hours since Milo’s last feed. But the funny thing is, some nights I don’t mind at all; I fairly spring out of bed to scoop up my son, feed him and get us both back into bed, and fall asleep within seconds. Tonight was not one of those nights. By 5am, the headache was pounding like some frantic German techno and my irritability had reached dangerous levels. I abandoned Milo to Simon (‘he’s fed, he’s changed – you deal with him’) and stomped off to the spare room in an impotent fury. I came to a few hours later just as Simon was leaving for work.

‘Sorry babe, I don’t know why I was so tired and grumpy last night,’ I said, rubbing my eyes in much the same way as Milo does.
‘Ooh, I don’t know why either. Do you think it has something to do with the fact that you’ve had nearly five months of broken sleep…?’
‘D’ya think?’
‘I think. You’re doing ever so well.’

And with that, Simon planted a kiss on my forehead, hopped down the stairs and left for work. I eyed Milo, bundled up into his bumper suit and snoring in his pushchair (where Simon had left him after walking baby and dog) and sighed. I may not have the patience of a saint but, honestly, I can’t be far off, can I?

[And if you’re wondering what this entry has to do with the location: nothing. I’m just sat here thinking things over, supping a cup of tea and waiting for the Craft Centre to open.]

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The best thing about being a mother is the amount of coffee and cake I consume. That, and the little lessons in life I get to impart to my sponge-like son. Little M is thankfully still too young to recognise that his mum is making things up (or ‘reckoning’ as Simon says), recycling and embellishing stories from a well-spent youth.

So it is that I find myself sat in one of the Northern Quarter’s newest cafes, stuffing my face with organic cheesecake and peering across the table at a man I vaguely recognise. Said café is CUP, and alongside the local-sustainable-organic-blah-blah goodies, it sells t.shirts, limited edition posters, box sets of tea and fragile, tottering piles of vintage cups and saucers. Stuffed at the back of the place is a record store, and its musical noodlings waft over our heads as I eat. Milo twists his head from one side to the next, squirming as he takes it all in.

‘When Mummy was younger, she used to love all this old stuff,’ I tell Milo, waving in the direction of a pristine 1970s coffee cup set (priced at an eye watering £80).

‘And when Mummy used to bring home all manner of crap from jumble sales, her Grandma would eye it up before pronouncing, “you paid good money for that? You should have told me; I would have let you go through my rubbish for free.”’

Milo nods sagely, or perhaps his head just wobbles; he’s not quite got the hang of balancing his head on his neck yet.

‘I read somewhere that this place is owned by a DJ,’ I say to Milo.

He yawns. I’m going to have to move quickly, I think, aware that I’m losing out in the cool stakes to a group of terribly on-trend girls and boys, with asymmetric hair and thrift store chic, sat at a table nearby. ‘In fact, I remember going to see him DJ years ago, at Planet K on Oldham Street.’

Milo glances my way, trying not to appear interested. The man opposite looks at me, then Milo, and gives a half smile.

‘Yeah, and then I met him again at a party last year. I was talking to him for half an hour before I realised who he was – a DJ called Mr. Scruff. Look, there’s one of his posters on the wall.’

The baby is distinctly unimpressed. He scrunches up his eyes, rubs them furiously with his fists and begins a jagged cry. The cool kids turn and stare, so I down the rest of the cake, strap Milo into his pushchair and wheel him outside.

It’s only as I reach the end of Thomas Street that I realise that the man sat opposite, the one sitting within earshot, was Mr. Scruff himself. ‘Try and style that one out, ma,’ says Milo, before succumbing to a blissful, pram-induced sleep.


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