Always look on the Bright Side...

Typing this in a semi-stupor having spent the last 36 hours travelling back from Christchurch in New Zealand. I'd spent the weekend there taking part in an international speakers series looking at Christchurch's draft plan to re-build their city centre after the devastating earthquakes they have suffered over the past twelve months. They are still experiencing regular after shocks, although nothing more severe than a 4.3 whilst I was there. The weekend was both stimulating and harrowing. The other speakers were varied and excellent, looking at, amongst other things, the aftermath of earthquakes in Haiti and Santa Cruz, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the Victoria bush fires, as well as brown field development projects in Toronto, Melbourne and London.

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Even More Business as Usual

Not talking about the City Centre because of course throughout the trials of the last week or so the Council has had to keep delivering services as if nothing had happened. Yesterday was much more a routine day to the extent that I can describe any day in the Town Hall as routine as no two days are ever the same. Early on I meet the Director of Neighbourhood Services talking about car parking and then progress on the development of the National Football Museum at URBIS.

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Business as Usual

Not quite of course. I made a small contribution over the weekend starting on Friday night with a couple of pints in a pub not far from the Town Hall. On Saturday I went to the cinema (The Salt of Life - for those who are interested) and was pleasantly surprised to find the cinema almost full, though less pleasant to have to sit on the front row as a consequence. Maybe there's just a bigger market for inconsequential Italian comedies than I thought, even at 2pm in the afternoon.

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The Only Place to Be

I had planned to spend a few days walking on the Solway Coast this week but as soon as a bunch of criminals started laying about our city there was only one place to be - back in Manchester. Although I was in regular contact with senior councillors and officers in the city, it's not the same as being here. Manchester won't take this lying down and won't let the actions of a small minority of greedy yobs cast a lasting shadow over our fantastic city.

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Willow on Leather - again

The blog is likely to become a little less regular as August progresses as I am trying to get some time off. By way of example, had a meeting last night with the Leader and Chief Executive of Liverpool so used that as an opportunity to spend a pleasant day in Aigburth. Train to Lime Street, walk down to Albert Docks and then along the river to Aigburth for a largely sunny day watching Lancashire not doing particularly well at cricket.

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Into the Unknown

Type Albert Hall Manchester into Google and you will get loads of entries for the Albert Hall, London, the Albert Halls, Bolton, Albert Square, Manchester, even Town Hall, Manchester, but almost nothing about the hundred year old gem on Peter Street.

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