Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hair and shopping

Years ago I had a real phobia about having my hair cut; a result of numerous appalling disasters. Then, about fifteen years ago, I went to this fantastic salon in Manchester and everything changed.

Apart from the year when P 'retired' due to ill health, I've not let anyone else take scissors near my 'difficult' twin crowned barnet.

His wife S runs the colouring floor and is undoubtedly the best colourist in Manchester, and generally considered to be one of the best in the country.

On top of this they are simply wonderful people and after years as a regular client, a trip in to get my locks tamed, feels like a catch up with friends. What films have we seen, what books have been read, restaurants visited and so forth.

People sometimes ask me what I'm going to have 'done'. Well the truth is I rarely think about it in advance, we know each other so well that all we need is a vague and most general of conversations and from that they do their thing. Leave it to the experts. I'm never disappointed.

S in particular has it down to a fine art. Once, after the nasty break-up of a relationship, I looked in the mirror at the end of the afternoon and found a stunningly bright array of colours on my head or as she put it so succinctly "I knew you needed cheering up". Similarly she knows I'll say if I have a job interview of similar imminent and accordingly she'll wordlessly make sure it's a little tamer.

So several hours after crossing the threshold, I leave with a head of hair three hundred times healthier and with a bag full of anti-chlorine products.

And so on to the shopping. I have a list of items to get for Mum, plus some Christmas shopping of my own and some clothes shopping for fun.

Regular readers will be surprised to hear that not one shoe shop was entered.

With arms achingly full of bags, I walk through the Christmas Markets, spread even further across Manchester this year.

The smell of mulled wine and hot spiced cider, provides a heady mix with that of cheese and salami.

Alongside the stalls of food and some genuinely lovely crafts, there are countless stalls of tat.

You know how people buy things on foreign holidays that make no sense once returned to domestic shores, the Moroccan slippers that fit so perfectly into that world, but lie untouched at the bottom of the wardrobe back home? Well I can't help feeling that a similar thing is happening in the Hansel and Gretel style stalls that line the squares and streets of Manchester right now. Buoyed up by the warm alcohol and the festive atmosphere, the unsuspecting public will be lulled into buying white and blue Dutch porcelain windmills and clogs or Italian lace tablecloths and the once home and sober, they'll unpack their bags and think "wtf did I buy this for?".


sally said...

You know..those markets are just for me!!! I lvoe them (why is that not a surprise...) but at least i have the satisfacttion of knowing my little porelain lue and white clogs (oh, ok, and a windmill) really did come from a visit to Holland, my small stuffed camel really came from Egypt, etc etc, not the streets of Manchester! Oh Liz, it sounds a lvely day, wish I had been with you xxx

1 i z said...

Oh Sally, I can just imagine you~: "oh look at the sweet little porcelain doggies".

Wish you'd been there as well...not only because you could have helped carry the bags ;-)

Emma said...

My Mum has a whole category of purchases which she justifies with the words, "well, it's just nice to have, isn't it". I think I should adopt this. That said, I almost came home with a half-hundredweight of French cooking vessels of various descriptions from the Breton market in Maidenhead at the weekend....