This Bank Holiday Monday was exactly one week since the Manchester Arena bomb that killed 22 people and injured many more.
Lady Hughes and myself had arranged to go into town with friends a while back, and this was the first time I had been into Manchester since the bomb. I was curious what the mood would be and I was also keen to visit St Anne’s Square and pay my respects.
Getting off the bus in Piccadilly I was pleased to see that it was business as usual. Children were playing in the fountains, getting soaked and upsetting their parents, who would now have to take them into Primark to buy them some dry clothes – we did the same when our lads were smaller.
The Northern Quarter was still busy and bustling, but there were signs and street art showing their support for the victims and a desire to stand strong.
Walking through the streets, we found the police cordon very much still in force but people and the police were smiling and helpful in directing us around it.
We quickly visited Manchester Cathedral, lit a candle and signed the book of condolences before heading off to St Anne’s Square where all the flowers and messages were laid out.
The atmosphere here was very subdued and respectful, with people slowly shuffling around the square, reading the messages and taking it all in. I felt a bit self-conscious taking pictures, so I didn’t take too many.
There were police with machine guns standing around but they were chatting with people and looked relaxed. The media were still present but were keeping themselves to one end near the church.
It was quite sombre and emotional as you would expect, especially when you read some of the many messages, but still very colourful and vibrant with all the flowers and balloons.
On the way out back we past the entrance to a tattoo parlour where they were doing bee tattoos to raise money for the charity fund. One week later and people were still queuing down the stairs.
Liam Gallagher played a benefit gig in Manchester yesterday and he said, “normal business has been resumed“. Walking round Manchester, I think he might be right. We’re not knocked down, but we not forgetting either.