When Belinda Carlisle sang this she probably wasn’t thinking of the banks of the Irwell in Salford but yesterday on a family outting to the winter sales we popped into what I consider to be a little piece of Nirvana. We took the tram into Manchester with Maria in her stroller whilst I carried a recently fed and very contented Alex. This freed up Catriona to join in some of the scrums in M&S and Next as she searched for an outfit for a wedding next month. We had only targetted these 2 shops before taking a break for lunch as shopping with children, even perfectly behaved ones, limits your mobility considerably. Alex has lasted up to 4 hours between feeds but 2 hours is more typical so we pre-empted his next meal and took a stroll 5 minutes from Deansgate, across the Irwell into Salford and settled down for lunch at the Mark Addy.
Mark Addy was a local hero who during his understandably foreshortened life saved over 50 people from drowning in the Irwell. The pub named in his honour on Bridge Street serves some fantastic pates and cheeses as well as the heavenly manna that is Hoegaarden. We were delighted to see a children’s option on the menu, meaning Maria would be welcome and Alex at the grand old age of 2 weeks and a day could enjoy his first pub lunch. We sat down in a quiet alcove and all tucked into lunch: Duck & Port Pate, white Stilton with apricots and chocolate fudge cake. Maria admired a couple of fans hanging from the ceiling (her fondness for fans is bordering on an obsession) and was impressed with the views of the merky Irwell which she said was ‘nice water’. She ran around a bit as the pub wasn’t that busy and she seemed to be entertaining the locals, though I had to step in when she started flirting with a couple of men whilst lying on a chaise longue.
The best thing about the lunch was that we had all enjoyed ourselves and that family life has not deprived Catriona and I of this little treat – I think it is likely to be repeated.