5th Feb, 6.30pm
It’s time to open a beer, sit back to watch Star Wars on a big flat screen TV for the first time ever, and then start edging my way into birthday celebrations. Later we will be descending en masse to Nawaab, the greatest curry restaurant in Manchester. It’s all you-can-eat, and usually requires a wait of an hour or more to get a table, especially if you go during Eid. We have a table booked, so we can immediately pile our plates with a hundred kinds of curried lamb, stuffing our stomachs like badly built haggises, before collapsing into sweaty pained piles. The plan is to go out afterward and continue the fun, but who knows; all-you-can eat is notorious for ruining nights out. We’ll see.
6th Feb, 1.00am
I take back all I wrote before about Nawaab. We had a table booked for 14, only 10 of us turned up, and the maître d’ told us they don’t even take bookings for less than 15. They gave our table away, and offered us ‘the vegetarian option’ i.e. make-do or fuck off. Wait an hour or more, or go somewhere else. We took the sane option and after much deliberation went to the next nearest curry restaurant Himalayas which was directly across the road. Much quieter, more personal, and serves alcohol (huzzah!), especially the fantastic Gurkha beer.
Earlier in the evening we went to a pub in Levenshulme whose name I don’t recall, but it was one of those independents run by the Yorkshire brewery Samuel Smith. Everything in a Sam Smith’s, from the beers and the cola, to the whisky and the crisps is made by Sam and features old fashioned style labelling and packaging. The first time I went in a Sam Smith’s was in London, I think it was called the Princess Anne or something similar (apparently the urinals are listed as being of special architectural or historical significance!). Actually it was called the Princess Louise, a Victorian drinkhouse, and worth a visit to London alone just for this pub. This being the first Sam Smith’s I had seen I originally thought it was a London brewer, but no; Yorkshire it is, aye.
Oh, it’s my birthday now. Hip hip... I am officially 29 years old, or thereabouts, at least that’s my best estimate given the available information, and taking into account the wide margin of error. ...Horray!! One year until I hit some sort of arbitrary age boundary called thirty years old. I’m going to start smoking a pipe, and doing The Times crossword. And I’ll get a shed and home brew beer and poitín. I’ll grow my own cauliflower and fennel, and keep chickens. In the meantime there are plenty of ‘things to do before you are 30’ lists, take this one as a random example. I have done 17, possibly 18, of these things including get a tattoo, have stupid hair, grow out of cannabis, and kill an animal (it was a mouse that the cat injured, it was the humane thing to do! Also eating oysters and cooking clams counts). Any suggestions of other important things to do before your 30? I’ve already had the suggestion ‘go to Ibiza’.
NOTE: I forgot to post this last night when I got in.