Tuesday, 22 February 2011

And The Best British City To Live In?.... Manchester

I've just been reading about a report that's brought out annually by The Economist Intelligence Unit. It scores all the top cities in the world on five areas : healthcare, stability, culture, environment and education. The world's top city for the last five years has been Vancouver but the top UK city is Manchester. If you have read this blog recently you may have seen that I commented on Manchester's attractions under the title "There's More To Manchester Than Rain And Football" and my observations have proved consistent with the findings of the EIU. Manchester came 42nd whilst London came 53rd.

In reality there was little to choose between London and Manchester in the scores but I am commenting because Marion and I have plans to move to London in the near future. We are attracted to the culture and the recreational opportunities to fill our retirement but, living in a pleasant detached house here in the north, we are somewhat worried about where we will find ourselves living when we take the plunge. Having enjoyed the pleasures of a decent garden and plenty of space for over twenty years we may find it hard to live in a two bedroomed flat with no open space although the ability to use London's facilities on a daily basis should help to offset that. On the other hand, property prices in Manchester are similar to what they are here. Time for a rethink? Probably not, as London scored very highly in the culture and recreational categories and its score was only lowered by perceived crime levels and risk of terrorism. And that shouldn't worry me and Marion as, being from near Liverpool, we're dead hard - honest.

We were away last week so didn't make our regular Orange Wednesday cinema visit. Hopefully this week we will get to see True Grit which has been pretty well received. As it is half term here in Southport there's not a huge choice showing for adults this week with Gnomeo and Juliet, Tangled,Justin Bieber, Yogi Bear  and Paul taking up many of the screenings and, with Just Go With It and Big Mommas being as appealing as a fart in a lift, True Grit is all that's left.

I was involved in a brief discussion with a fellow blogger Rodney Willet (click here for his website) on Twitter this morning about the merits and otherwise of the iPhone. A year or two ago I wrote on my old blog about how I hated my new Samsung smart phone and that all I wanted was to be able to make phone calls and had no need for the multiple functions that it offered. And Rodney feels the same today. He is fed up with the many offers of an iPhone that have come his way and he feels that he doesn't need one thank you very much. I, on the other hand, am now a convert. The iPhone is so much more than a phone and is, in reality, a more powerful computer than many pcs that I have used in the not too distant past. This morning I had an hour in the gym. To lighten the dreariness of a forty minute stint on an exercise bike I listened to Mark Kermode's film podcast and at the same time played scrabble on the iPhone. I checked my email, worried about the plunge on the stock market (thankfully now recovered) and looked at the weather forecast. I also had my discussion on the merits of the phone with Rodney. And I have to say that I think that the iPhone is an outstanding aid to modern living. I don't make many phone calls but now I always have a camera with me plus the ability to check film times, find local restaurants, place a bet and much much more. I've been converted (but I am glad that I didn't have one while I was working - who wants work emails when you are out of the office?).

And of course there are these extra features too..