A pre-birthday shopping trip with my daughter found us in the thick of astonishing crowds at the Manchester Christmas Markets. Progress was a slow museum shuffle following the tide up and down Market Street, in and out of the Arndale, Exchange Square
and St Anne's Square. The chalets vending Christmas cheer were packed with drinkers, and if you could quantify bratwurst sales by the winding queues waiting to be served, it might be enough to lift the present national economic gloom following Chancellor Hunt's
mini budget. The Christmas markets, at least, were booming. Everyone, it seemed, felt it was time to throw caution to the winds. There were various drum-led dancing groups beckoning shoppers to join in and at one point, it seemed Oasis were performing impromptu
at the bottom of Market street, but it was just a chap with maraccas bouncing about while belting out their songs through a vast amplifier. I question whether Amy Winehouse's 'Back to Black' playing out over the speakers of the Exchange Square market
quite caught the festive mood, but judging by all the people happily going about in the pictures below, it had not dampened anybody's day. The atmosphere overall was quite amazing. And now thanks to a new win on local transport, it was only £2 to get
home again on the bus!