I make my way through a wind whipped downpour. Out of my front gate, then a right turn. Steady progress up the road, three things catch my attention. First on the right I pass a primary school; playground littered with bustling children who seem to bob around in the wind and rain, all wrapped in thick rain coats that hold their arms at 30 degree angles from their sides. Their bright colours and chatter stand defiant against the grey clouds and persistent damp. Rain will not stop play.

Then, on the left now, a short stocky man with a rough face lumps forward on the end of a taut lead behind a short stocky bullmastiff whose doggy features were as if arranged upon a single vertical plane.

Finally, on the right again, I pass a house still strewn with unlit Christmas lights: over the roof, down the walls and on out into the garden. They hang soggy and lifeless like lacklustre streamers from a party popper still littering the light fitting, the morning after the morning after.

This is Manchester.