Old haunts, new haunts

Old haunts, new haunts

When you can mix old haunts and new haunts in the same weekend you have a recipe for bliss.

Last Saturday we caught the afternoon flight to Manchester from Exeter, touching down just 50 minutes after take-off. After a quick unpack in our favourite hotel in Didsbury village, just four miles from the centre of Manchester we had a short journey to meet up with friends and enjoy the evening over Champagne and a barbeque.

As soon as I awoke on Sunday I was chomping at the bit to get to the Italian Deli in the centre of Didsbury. The owner, Nenad and his staff always make us feel welcome and they do cook a great breakfast. Sat there in the sunshine you never know whether you are going to be sat next to one of the United or City players or it could be Jason Kenny and Laura Trott, who are also regulars.

After breakfast and several Americanos it was off to Lyme Park, or to titillate the appetite of our lady readers, I could refer to it as Pemberley. The grounds were charming but alas, no Mr Darcy or Colin Firth came out of the lake.

If you get to Lyme Park you must stroll up to the tower, from where you can view the Dales, Manchester, Liverpool and even North Wales. What a place to have a picnic – amazing!

After a day sightseeing we relaxed over tapas and Tempranillo at the Wine and Wallop Bar in West Didsbury, while listening to some live mellow jazz. After a few drinks it wasn’t just the jazz that was mellow.

We resisted the temptation to call it a day and instead took a short walk to more old friends at Piccolino’s, a very uber smart Italian restaurant. Nightcaps were ordered and conversation with the Italian staff about the success of the Italian and British Olympic teams created much laughter and bonhomie.

Another good night sleep followed by a medal table catch up on the iPad and then back into the village where we found another new Italian deli, Casa Italia. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by the Sicilian owner and were pressed to try his mouth-watering gelatos. A coffee and photo call later and we had our arms around each other. Within ten minutes new friends had become old friends.

Having spent so many years financing restaurants, many of which have been Italian, you can see why they are so successful. The warmth and friendliness of the owners and staff, the superb quality of their products, whether on the plate or hams, olives and focaccia to take out and their talent with coffee and ices, why wouldn’t you want to spend your cash with them.

At Armada we shall continue to support and encourage Europeans who want to set up businesses in the UK, who work hard, who spend their money locally and who create jobs. We are a multi-cultural society and the richer for it.

We can’t wait to return to our old haunts again!

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