We Are Manchester

You might have noticed that there’s been no posts from me this week.  Tried & Tested went live as scheduled on Tuesday but I haven’t been able to write anything new.  In fact I’ve achieved little of worth all week if I’m honest.  It doesn’t feel right to just sweep this week under the carpet and carry on as if nothing has happened so I’m just going to write and see what comes out.  Hopefully getting my thoughts out of my head and down on paper so to speak will allow me to leave them alone, draw some sort of a line and get my head together.

Stay Strong Our Kid - Manchester Bee
I’m not sure of the origins of this image but it has been all over my social feeds this last week and I think it says it all x

On Monday night I went to bed as normal, my head filled with lists of jobs I needed to get done the next day – filming, writing, photographs – the usual stuff and nonsense that I think about before going to sleep.  Dave had fallen asleep sometime before me as tends to be the  norm with his early starts and I was chatting somewhat inanely to some friends on facebook messenger before going to sleep myself.

“There’s been a bomb in Manchester”

Wait? What? Surely not.  No.

Before taking to trusted news sites trying to find confirmation and finding nothing.  Twitter was awash speculation, tweets from people living nearby wondering what they’d just heard, speculation, people hunting for information.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter.  And it can be an amazing source of  information but on Monday night it was a minefield and the lack of official information only served to make things worse whilst people scrabbled around trying to piece together what on earth could have possibly gone on.

None of us were able to sleep for needing to know what had happened, I guess we just wanted reassurance that it was nothing major, that it had in fact just been a blown speaker or some enormous burst balloon which had frightened people and caused a bit of a stampede . . .

It became clear fairly quickly that in fact the lack of official information was an indication of just how serious things were.  Nobody was taking to Twitter to clear up rumours.  The news websites were telling us nothing.

Now I only live about 4 miles from the Arena, not far from the main road into town from Oldham which meant I could hear all the sirens rushing into the city.  That was hard.  Really hard.  It made it so painfully real and I think for me that was the moment I really knew that this was bad.

I spent several hours talking to the same group of girls whilst we supported each other and shared things as we found them out.  Dave slept on blissfully unaware but I came so close to waking him numerous times as I cried – through shock, disbelief and sadness for the people involved, their families and for our city.

It was around 2.30am before I finally gave in and went to sleep.  Dreaming about explosions and trying to escape crowded places only served to make me wake up in the morning thinking that it hadn’t actually been real.

Photo Credit: My Mummy’s Pennies

On Tuesday morning I spent a little time explaining to Ben what had happened.  I knew that the playground would be full of it and wanted to control his understanding of things as best I could first.  He was sad and understandably a little scared – all the more so for being able to understand exactly where this had happened but I was confident I had done the right thing in talking to him about it and since then we have spoken about it most days.

My normal status quo is to not really pay much attention to the news – I tend to live in my own little bubble, my current affairs knowledge stretches as far as whatever Holly & Phillip are chatting about on This Morning or little snippets picked up during the breakfast show on the radio.  It’s self preservation I think, ignorance is bliss as they say.  My friend Molly very sensibly advised me to switch off, to log out of social media, turn off the news and protect myself for a while.  Clearly I failed to listen to her and basically spent the whole day glued to the news which did me no good at all.

Each time I got a message from a friend or relative checking I was ok or telling me they were glad they’d seen me on social media that morning brought fresh tears.  An appreciation that I was loved but more that things were so close to home that sensible, grounded people had needed to touch base for peace of mind.  It made things feel even closer. 

I was so glad to be teaching on Wednesday and Thursday as once you’re in the classroom there really is no head space for anything else and it gave me time to forget but I ended the week utterly wiped out.  Emotionally and physically drained.

I’m genuinely surprised by how hard this week has hit me.  I don’t directly know anyone who was involved in the attack but it was on my doorstep.  Manchester has been my home for almost all of my adult life, in fact I think I’ve now lived in Manchester longer than I’ve lived anywhere else.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a proud Yorkshire lass but I’m even prouder of Manchester this week and the really truly awesome people who live in this city.

And so now, we carry on.  We live our lives with love and we don’t let them win.  This is Manchester, we do things differently here.




  1. May 27, 2017 / 10:12 pm

    Lovely post Colette. Thank you for being there on Monday night. Having 4 of us to try and work out what was real and useful to pass on made it much easier both to get right and to cope with 🙁 xx

    • Colette
      May 27, 2017 / 10:17 pm

      I completely agree. Although I honestly wish I’d just woken up to it on the Tuesday morning, I’m so glad it was you guys I had to talk to x x

  2. May 27, 2017 / 10:21 pm

    I thought about you a lot when it happened. Like you, I found it really hard to work on Tuesday and was just incredibly sad and despondent. Well done for writing about it. It must make it especially hard it being in your backyard. I can’t believe 4 of the dead are from the north East – 2 South Shields and 2 Gateshead. Such a waste.

    • Colette
      May 27, 2017 / 11:32 pm

      Thank you for thinking of me, you’re a love ❤️
      I had to write to get it out of my system I think x

  3. Karen
    May 27, 2017 / 10:25 pm

    That’s exactly how my night went, although I did wake the husband, I’m not one for crying alone. It’s been a tough strange and deflating time.

    Hugs to you x

    • Colette
      May 27, 2017 / 11:33 pm

      He had to be up for work so early, it just wouldn’t have been fair x

  4. May 27, 2017 / 10:44 pm

    Sending love and hugs….
    It has been an awful week….I can’t imagine how you feel living in Manchester.

    • Colette
      May 28, 2017 / 10:23 am

      Knowing it has happened on your own doorstep makes it so hard to distance yourself from.

  5. May 28, 2017 / 12:16 am

    I didn’t know about the events until Tuesday morning. I had gone to bed early and Shilts woke me up early on Tuesday morning with the news. It was shocking! I can’t imagine how you must of felt hearing the sirens and knowing how close to home it all was. The first thing I did that morning was to check status updates on social media from people I knew who live in Manchester or had children that would have probably gone to the gig. I text my uni girls too as since leaving Uni in Preston, they live in Manchester not far from you.

    I have been completely humbled by the response that Manchester has put out since the early hours of Tuesday. The people who have helped donate blood, food and drinks, hotel rooms and lifts home have completely restored my faith in people and you’re so right, Manchester they DO do it differently up there!

    Lots of love xxx

  6. May 29, 2017 / 8:37 am

    Lovely post and words Colette. I have struggled to function at work most of the week and found myself crying so many times. I really wish I had talked to G about it before he went to school but I thought I was doing the right thing, sadly not as within minutes of him being safe in the classroom 2 of his friends told him and he was left worrying about his Uncle all day. Unlike you Manchester isn’t my home but we have so many friends there, visit so often and of course I worked in the city for years that it all just felt so close to home. It has been amazing to see how the people of the city have pulled together. There’s a gorgeous story behind the boy, it’s actually printed on mosaic tiles on the floor of the Town Hall as you walk in, it’s about strength and resilience X

  7. Lisa (Mumdadplus4)
    May 30, 2017 / 10:45 am

    Was a horrible night, Neil woke me and I didnt get back to sleep till gone at least 3am, even then I tossed and turned. We knew people who attended and it’s just heartbreaking even now a week in I see things and it just makes me cry ??

  8. May 30, 2017 / 8:42 pm

    I’m not at all surprised being so close to eveything that the last week has been hard for you. It has been upsettig here too (and we are miles away). Totally shocked and saddended by it all. I just cannot imagine how anyone would get over their loss when something so barbaric happens like this. I’ve been thinking of bloggers (local to Manchester) and all those directly involved since the news broke. Heartened by the togetherness the people of Manchester have shown x

  9. May 31, 2017 / 8:26 pm

    Proud of our city x

  10. June 1, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    Lovely post Colette. I’m so glad we were all there for each other that night and in the days afterwards xx

  11. June 2, 2017 / 9:42 am

    Awww chick ? none of us will ever forget that night and the days that followed. Just utter shock and heartbreak however that has now been replaced with so much pride I may burst. Manchester has shown it is made of strong stuff and is full of love xx Sim

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