Sunday, 19 October 2014

Weekend Reflections: A walk by the Macc

Friday was gloriously sunny, with high temperatures for late October of 18C°+. It was great to start my three day weekend with a lovely walk along the Macclesfield Canal from Bollington, heading northwards and then back  It was warm enough to stop for a mid morning snack on the banks too. Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Weekend in Black and White: Man in the mist

A jog in the fog. I enjoy the mysterious swirls of fog that autumn can bring. It can create misty patches that envelope all and sundry and then a few hundred yards later you have walked right through it and out into glorious sunshine. This was very much the case in Dunham Massey's grounds last weekend.

Taking part in another Weekend in Black and White. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Skywatch Friday: A Mancunian skyline

The sometimes slightly ugly and often utilitarian hotch-potch of early 20th century warehouses always makes for a mixed Manchester skyline, but when there is blue in the sky who cares? Charles Street and beyond feature here in my contribution to Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Vintage phone boxes

It could almost be a traditional tourist postcard of Britain; the gleaming old GPO/BT telephone boxes and the Italianate arch. St. Peter's Square has rarely looked better.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

"N" is for NEF's 4 day working week as the norm

Taking part in ABC Wednesday where my "N" is for the normalising of a 4 day working week as advocated by leading health professionals and the New Economic Foundation.

I featured in Manchester City Life Extra's #Blogwatch column this week (issue 38, 9 October 2014). Sadly they left out my publicity of the four day week campaign which is led by the New Economic Foundation, so click to see 10 reasons how society will benefit from this. 

I also wrote:
"I am lucky in that I recently reduced my working days to 4 a week, which can be tough financially but it puts your heart, body and soul in a great place when you get a three day weekend every week. There’s a growing campaign in the UK led by the New Economic Foundation for a four day week to become the norm and for people to be paid a living wage for those four days."

The rest of the otherwise well-edited article was:

How to be a tourist at home

Mancunian Wave gives a daily glimpse of life in and around Greater Manchester; my photos might be of a band, street art, a walk in the countryside, anything that grabs my attention as I go on my merry way. 

What I’d like the blog to do is grab someone’s attention and for a few seconds of their busy day lift their spirits and give them a wave of excitement that makes them appreciate the great city we live in a little more.

A few years ago I noticed how quiet the city centre was on Saturday mornings - devoid of traffic and commuters there was the space to look up and appreciate the wonderful buildings and sights, without bumping into people or getting run over. I saw things I hadn’t noticed before and started to see Manchester as if I were a tourist. Imagining the city I live in as if I was just visiting for few days cast a new light on everything- bars, galleries, squares and statues - it stops me from taking everyday sights for granted. I wanted to share what I see with anyone who might be like-minded and a blog seemed the best way.

As a result I have developed a fascination for all level of details about the region. Rather than wishing I lived in San Francisco or Paris I appreciate Manchester for what it offers. I look out around for hidden gems as well as writing about the more obvious sights. Going to restaurants, bars and coffee shops to write about them is fun too. It makes me think creatively and feeds my enthusiasm for the small things in life: a reflection in a puddle or a painting.

Wherever I go I’m always ready to take a quick snap, but rather than capturing selfies and meals, it’s more likely to be a photo of an unusual angle in the street, or part of a building that takes my fancy. So I always have a stack of photos I want to write about. 

What I like most about doing a blog is connecting with people such as local band The Madding Crowd, who I try and champion in my own small way, and supporting various causes and campaigns. The Northern Spirit Theatre community asked me to curate their Wondrous Place blog for a week where I enjoyed writing a series called Manchester Movementsand Manchester Moments including old local music and the Town Hall clock tower.

The downside of blogging is of my own making – as Mancunian Wave is part of the City Daily Photo Community, I need to do a blog post every day. But there are tricks to the trade and you can set posts up in advance - so I don’t have to worry if I decide to flit off to the Cote D’Azur for a week!

Four days a week I work as the research manager at the Royal Northern College of Music, which is as creative and friendly a place you could wish to work. (The views on my blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my workplace or other organisations I am involved with).

To be honest I didn’t know what response to expect when I started blogging. I think the most important thing is not to bore your friends about it- you have to build an audience who really want to read your blog because they enjoy it, not as a favour. I follow other city daily blogs around the world and it’s lovely to have a coffee and hone in on what Steffe’s seen in Haninge, Sweden is or Tanya’s take on life in Roanoke, Virginia. It gives me a little buzz, that 30 seconds of a look into other lives and places and to see a photo with a wow factor. It’s a warm feeling to know that I am showing our great city of Manchester to people, in my own small way.

Support has come in from locals and further afield too, saying things like “I know Manchester but you show it in a way I have never seen” Although most of my readers are local or UK based, people in over 150 countries have visited. It’d be nice if I have made one or two people think “I want to see that myself” or “I am going to support that campaign too”. That makes the daily effort completely worthwhile.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Project Maya Peat-Free Pledge #PeatFreePledge

Although I thought everyone knew that we shouldn't be using peat in our vegetable plots, allotments and gardens, it seems this is not the case and it will not become illegal until 2020. Shame on any gardeners that use peat- it's time to stop! Here's how and why.

So Project Maya is pushing for all gardeners to take the Peat-Free pledge and to use alternatives (organic, pesticide-free and non-animal based are what we should surely be using, for many environmental reasons).

· UK Peatlands store more carbon than the forests of the UK, France and 
 Germany combined. 

· Peat is being consumed 200 times faster than it forms. 

· 94% of our lowland bogs in the UK have been lost. 

· Every month, UK gardeners use enough peat to fill 69 Olympic swimming pools. 

Inspired by the research of Professor Mark Reed (Birmingham City  University) Project Maya is asking gardeners to pledge to be peat-free in 
their gardens. 

There would be an outcry if a company started excavating top-soil from your local park and selling it to gardeners. And yet most of us are silent about the excavation of peat from habitats that are just as valuable to us.  The UK gardener is a gift to wildlife; we are increasingly growing flowers that are perfect for pollinators, along with our own fruit and vegetables, saving the  packaging, and carbon used in transportation. In fact, our gardeners make a huge positive impact for UK nature. Yet, each month UK gardeners are using enough peat to fill the equivalent of 69 Olympic swimming pools, with no idea of the damage they are causing by doing so.

An average 100 litre bag of peat compost takes around 100 years to develop. In this time, a bag this size will have absorbed as much carbon dioxide as you would emit by driving from Manchester to Gloucester and back in a petrol VW Golf. 

Speaking about the campaign, Dr. Olly Watts, the RSPB’s peat-free campaigner said: ‘The RSPB has encouraged gardeners to go peat-free for many years – our bogs are wonderful places with amazing wildlife. It’s a tragic irony that they are drained and dug up for gardening, especially now there are good alternatives widely available.’ 

UK gardeners make a significant contribution to improving the environment for nature, and by going peat-free they can do even more. Our peatlands are a beautiful and incredibly valuable resource. Let’s keep them and our gardens beautiful. For more information, and to take the pledge head to 

Peat is used in compost because it’s cheap, light, retains moisture and stores nutrients. But we don’t need to use it. Most amateur gardeners wouldn’t notice a difference in the performance of peat versus peat-free composts, but switching to peat-free would make a significant difference to our peatlands.

If we don’t start buying peat-free composts voluntarily, they may be banned. Already, the Government has set a target to phase out the use of peat by amateur gardeners in England by 2020. They are monitoring peat use and will be reviewing progress next year to see if  “additional policy measures are necessary”. 

Peatlands are a vast green lung that provides unique places for recreation and habitats for some of our most threatened wildlife, whilst absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

A contribution to Our World Tuesday

Monday, 13 October 2014

Monday Mural: No hope, NoHo shutters

No hope of getting into NoHo bar when it's closed but I love the urban landscape that their shutters project. It's a shame that Manchester doesn't look more like that! This is one of five similarly painted shutters that protect Noho from the daylight and city activity until it opens up and comes into its own every evening in the twilight... Taking part in the Monday Mural.

"NoHo is an independent bar set in a truly one-of-a-kind space, with experienced bartenders that offer a seasonal cocktail menu. Low-lit chesterfields, Connect 4 and other classic games, with films shown off the huge 'drive in movie' style wall art. Resident DJs offer a mixture of grooves and beats..."

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Weekend Reflections: Hotel distorts the truth...

No offence is intended to the woman on her phone inside the Double Tree Hotel when I took this (nor to anyone else), but if you look closely you can see how a reflected passer-by does seem to give her an unusual appearance... Fortuitous for me. 

Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Weekend in Black & White: On John Dalton Street

Early on a Saturday morning is always a good time to view the city centre without crowds of commuters and other traffic.  Taking part in the Weekend in Black and WhiteLong shadows, elegant silhouettes of buildings and a blast of sunshine warmth, even on a crisp autumn day.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Skywatch Friday on Blackstone Edge Reservoir

Blackstone Edge Reservoir up above Rochdale, on a windswept early evening. I must do a decent walk around here next time. Here is a link to today's other Skywatch Friday posts.