Now, truth be told, when I was a student in Manchester back in the early 15th century, Levenshulme was not really a place any of us ever wanted to go. It was part of that shady, mysterious world the other side of Kingsway, a place where real people lived, where bad things happened, and where you might be in danger of paying more than 90p a pint; thus we avoided it, and stuck assiduously to our neon-lit Oxford Road corridor, smugly congratulating ourselves as we drank flat cocktails in Severe's and unpleasant dishwater in The Queen of Hearts.
How things change though. Now Levenshulme - affectionately known as Levy, but technically pronounced as Lea-vens-hue-may these days - has a nice feel about it and, more importantly to those of a greedy disposition, a splendid monthly market that has been wrestled from the hands of the council and is now run by four directors who all live locally and care greatly about their community. Levenshulme Market runs from 10-4 on the fourth Saturday of every month next to Levenshulme Train Station, and whilst traders are not the same every month, it averages around 50 stalls with a nice mixture of food, drink, gifts and clothes. Today, for example, I have done the following:
- talked all things sausage with Mr Bobby's Bangers: always a pleasure, although I didn't actually need to purchase any meat items today on account of my freezer still being pretty full of my lamentably wonky efforts from Sausage School. I did however talk the lovely Lottie Moore into buying four different flavours, so it may be that my expertise lies more in the field of "Sausage Ambassador" than "Sausage Handler".
- eaten the world's largest, nicest burrito from Margo and Rita: I've waited a long time to try the Mexican Street food from this jaunty purple van, and marked this fact by ordering as much food as I could reasonably get my hands on. The Bad Boy Burrito delivers a full 12 inches of spicy meat, tomatoes, rice, sour cream and guacamole, and if we're being brutally honest, any girl who talks The Man in the Van into allowing her chicken AND beef in her burrito fully deserves to have ended up with a large portion of it in her hair.
- had a lovely chat with Jules from Arepa Arepa Arepa: I had a chicken arepa from here last month - essentially a Colombian flatbread filled with shredded chicken, chillies and guacamole - and it was lovely. Although, I have just remembered that technically I'm not talking to Jules as she's still on holiday and I'm not.
- stocked up with beers from Tickety Brew: only fair to support this Stockport brewer after Crabbies Ginger Beer made that ridiculous attack on them last week, ideally by drinking more beer and less Crabbies (I'm thinking of having some t-shirts made up along these lines).
You can see the full list of traders here on the Levenshulme Market website, or perhaps go and have a look for yourself at the next market on September 28th. And if you're wondering why there aren't many pictures, well then it's entirely possible that I might have had burrito all over my hands as well as in my hair - if you see that pesky purple van out in Chorlton tonight then please feel free to shake your fist at it on my behalf...