Sunday, 31 July 2011

The first steps of married life

Just across the road from yesterday's bridal party, other weddings were taking place here in Manchester Town Hall. I don't suppose the wedding photographer will be featured in any of their photos, so I am pleased to include him here, armed with his trusty stepladder...

Saturday, 30 July 2011

The bride's ride

At this time of year it is hard to move on a Saturday in the city centre without encountering a wedding or two. This car turned a few heads, hopefully the bride and groom did too.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Old Fire Station, London Road

The old fire station on London Road is the turreted building in this photo. Built in 1906 but derelict for the past 25 years, the City council are trying to break the deadlock with Britannia Hotels who bought it but have failed to do anything with it, in order to put this wonderful building to some dignified use. It even has its own Facebook group of concerned followers:!/group.php?gid=206716881309  

Thursday, 28 July 2011

July jazz

Clarke-Thorne-Fell performing at the Manchester Jazz festival (22-30 July).
Videos at the YouTube channel:
Graham Clark on violin, Jon Thorne on double bass and Milo Fell on drums. Specially reconvened for this year by Graham, who has arguably pioneered the language of the violin in contemporary jazz, this trio - first formed in 1997 – takes freely-improvised but highly melodic themes and weaves them into a patchwork of evolving lines and grooves, creating a surprisingly majestic and muscular sound.”

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Norwegian thoughts

A book of condolence has been opened in Manchester's Town Hall. Anyone who can't make it into the city centre but wishes to express their sympathy can leave messages at:

Councillor Harry Lyons, Lord Mayor of Manchester, said: "The horrific events in Norway have touched us all. The loss of life is on a scale that is barely imaginable, particularly as many of the victims were so young.
"Manchester reaches out in solidarity to our brothers and sisters in Norway. You have our thoughts, our sympathies, and our condolences. These are small words in such awful circumstances but we offer them with all our hearts. I would urge all Mancunians to take the opportunity, if they can, to sign the book of condolence or leave messages of sympathy online. We cannot take away the pain of the families affected, but we can lend our support in the hope it offers strength."

Edward Tjørn Bootland, Honorary Norwegian Consul for Manchester, said: "Along with all the consulate and members of the Norwegian community in Greater Manchester, I have been shocked by the tragic events of July 22, and we send our sympathies to the bereaved and the injured. The city of Manchester and the citizens of Norway have long enjoyed close social and business ties and I know that Norwegians everywhere are aware of and grateful for the support, sympathy and goodwill shown them by the residents of this city."

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Life on the ledge

Living in a city centre you learn to treat window frames and window sills 
as washing lines and flowerbeds. 

Monday, 25 July 2011

Big wheel turning

The Wheel of Manchester on a perfect summer's night, at about 22.45 p.m.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Flower powered?

The Mini was a popular British car at the height of flower power in the Swinging Sixties.
This one, at the RHS Flower show at Tatton this week, 
would probably have been as equally well-received back in 1967.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The North’s great garden party

The 5 day long RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park is known as The North’s great garden party. Flowers are only a part of it though. Here are some gold medal winning vegetables from Medwyns of Anglesey, (an island off of north Wales).
I still cannot believe the size of those giant leeks!

Friday, 22 July 2011

The rockery road to success

My first offering from the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Flower Show at Tatton Park in Cheshire this week is a modern, bright  rockery. Just in shot on the right is a BBC TV camera on a pole, for those sweeping aerial shots you often see at coverage of events like these.

Watch out for this display, and more, on BBC 1's North West Tonight and BBC 2's coverage via: 
Or on BBC i-player if you missed them:

Thursday, 21 July 2011

School's out for summer

Many schools in England break up for the long summer holidays today, heralding six weeks or more of well-deserved fun for many. All that will be heard in this school playground until early September is the sound of silence.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

250th anniversary: Bridgewater at Bollington

The Bridgewater Canal and towpath near Little Bollington in Cheshire.
The canal is 250 years old in 2011. See events and more at:

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Barton Arcade by night

The Barton Arcade was built in 1871. This is the entrance from St Ann's Square. I'll take some photos of the stunning interiors another time. states: "Barton Arcade was built by Corbett, Raby & Sawyer and is hidden behind the facade of Barton's Buildings on Deansgate. There are two entrances from Deansgate and another reached from St Ann's Square, in a wonderful cast-iron and glass curtain wall. Inside everything is light and airy, with three tiers of balconies with ornamental balustrades curving around the U-shaped arcade, inside is a gorgeous glass and iron shopping arcade with two octagonal domes rising from glass pendentives, probably the best example of this type of cast-iron and glass-roofed arcade anywhere in the country.

The original ironwork came from Macfarlane's foundry in Glasgow, however the obvious influence was the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. Barton Arcade is a Grade II listed historic building."

Monday, 18 July 2011

Is there honey still for tea?

The White Cottage tea rooms at Little Bollington, resplendent with buddleja.

"...And laughs the immortal river still
Under the mill, under the mill? 
Say, is there Beauty yet to find?
And Certainty? and Quiet kind?
  Deep meadows yet, for to forget
 The lies, and truths, and pain?… oh! yet
  Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
       And is there honey still for tea?"

- Rupert Brooke, The Vicarage at Grantchester, 1912

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Norbreck nostalgia

We had many happy times in the mid-1990s here in Norbreck Avenue -
and our former Edwardian terraced house is up for sale at the moment. 

(The UK Edwardian era lasted a mere nine years, from 1901 to 1910,
during which Queen Victoria's son King Edward VII reigned).

Also featuring today on the Summer Stock Sunday blog:

Saturday, 16 July 2011

NUJ strike at BBC

A picket line at one of the many BBC buildings affected by strikes across Manchester and rest of the the UK yesterday. The National Union of Journalists were striking at 100 jobs being cut at the BBC World Service and BBC Monitoring Services. This is due to the Conservative-Liberal coalition government's cuts in funding to the BBC.

One placard I saw at the side entrance to this building read "Cut fat cats' pay, not our jobs". I must say I missed my early morning BBC World Service newshour programme, but express my solidarity.

More at:

Friday, 15 July 2011

Where art reflects opera

This photo is dominated by the reflection of the Opera House opposite. But look closely and you can see part of an exhibition of paintings by Ted Bates. This oil painting is of The New Boar's Head pub in Shude Hill, Manchester and is on sale for £850.

For more Weekend Reflections blog posts see:

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Central library sacrilege

The Central Reference Library, completed in 1934, is undergoing renovation. It will retain its essential character, both inside and out, and reopen in 2013. I can cope with that and look forward to sharing photos of the interior with you when it reopens. But what I cannot cope with is the appearance a couple of weeks ago of a French car on the entrance roof and the accompanying advertising banners.

To do this to a library, in my book (pun intended), is sacrilege.  It seems that civic pride has been sold out here to the highest bidder. The City Council committee that allowed this, should, in my humble opinion, hang their heads in shame!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Gradually graduating

It's graduation fortnight in this ivy-walled enclosed courtyard at the University of Manchester. I think it is safe to say that, judging by what they are wearing, only two out of three of these young men have graduated today. Meanwhile behind them, two other (unseen) female students are tossing their mortar boards into the air in time honoured tradition.  

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Tennis tramlines

Working on the tram extension to East Didsbury. The Northern Lawn Tennis club is the building on the right.
Many UK railway lines were closed in the 1960s as a result of the Beeching Reports.  Of those closed, the more fortunate were later reclaimed and used as cycle paths and walkways. Some of the latest extensions to the Manchester Metrolink tram network are reusing some of the old rail routes, such as these here.   

By the way, today is 50 years since cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin visited Manchester. See my post at:

Monday, 11 July 2011

Salad days

We have started to enjoy the first crops from our vegetable patch, which we created over Easter: spinach, which is the plentiful crop in the mid foreground here. We're also growing beetroots, courgettes, tomatoes, mint and broad beans.

By the way, I use the title "salad days" in its original sense, i.e referring to a youthful time, accompanied by inexperience, enthusiasm and idealism.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Teepee tunes

Albert Square is currently hosting around 12 hours a day of the Manchester International Festival events. (see also my post for Saturday 2 July). With free events in the afternoon and after each evening's main shows, DJs are given this teepee to play sets to keep the late night revellers happy. Terry Hall of 1980s Coventry ska band The Specials was on the turntables inside the teepee as I took this photo, choosing an eclectic mix of music. There are several spaces for people to relax, inside and out, at ground level or on a rooftop bar (to the left of the photo). 

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Evening stroll

The evening sun in the suburbs gives the houses and gardens a warm glow.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Bluu for you

A leisurely lunch at Bluu bar, which is in Smithfields Market in the Northern Quarter.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


It amazes me to think that this undulating field of green shoots will have grown into a field of maize and delicious corn in a couple of months' time.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Wellington School Awards Evening

Last night was the annual Awards Evening for Wellington School, held at the Bridgewater Hall. Over two hours of speeches, presentations, the school band, and the school choir.

This year's school sponsored walk raised an incredible £31,000 for the Francis House Children's Hospice, in Didsbury:

The choir are seen in full song here, albeit dwarfed by the Bridgewater Hall organ, which in the 1990s was "the largest instrument of its kind to be installed in Britain for almost a century and is the jewel in the crown of one of Europe's finest concert halls. "

More on the organ and a video of it in use at:

More on Wellington High School at:

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Sweet Caroline

Neil Diamond is currently playing three nights at the M.E.N (Manchester Evening News) Arena. Musically I'd have said he was not my cup of tea, but a friend was given tickets so I was happy to go along for a 4th July celebration.

I was impressed with the two hour show performed with Diamond's 13 piece band (brass section, two guitarists, three backing vocalists, drummer, percussionist and two keyboard players). The energy and the powerful voice of a man who turned 70 in January was inspiring.

This photo captures the atmosphere rather than being a particularly good shot, and was taken during the closing number, the early 1970's  "Sweet Caroline".

According to American music critic David Wild common themes in Diamond's songs are "a deep sense of isolation and an equal desire for connection. A yearning for home – and at the same time, the allure of greater freedom."

Monday, 4 July 2011

American Classic cars in Cheshire

To those across the pond, a Happy Independence Day. There was an American classic car show in Cheshire at the weekend. This was one of many on the long drive way to the field they were located in.

I have little interest, and even less knowledge, of current day cars, let alone old ones, so I haven't the foggiest idea what make this one is. But there is something to be said for the style of these older vehicles. Although I fear they are / were just as destructive to the environment.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

St. Matthew's Sunday School

The back of St. Matthew's Sunday School on Rice Street.
It's now home to a concert promotion business.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Flying the flag ~ Manchester International festival

The Manchester International arts festival runs until 17th July, It has had plenty of national exposure, such as a free guide book produced by The Guardian newspaper. There is no shortage of local publicity either, including many flags and banners around the city centre, such as these. A series of pop-up venues including a giant teepee has transformed Albert Square into the main festival site. I plan to visit that early next week...

Iceland's Bjork and Ireland's Sinead O'Connor are two famous female singers who are playing several nights. There is a new Victoria Wood drama at the Opera House, and many more acts and artistes, including a fringe festival. For young children there is a Music Boxes activity at the Lowry Centre and for older children a live Dr Who adventure. Full details at: and a BBC review at:

Friday, 1 July 2011

Theme Day: The colour green

This photo was taken on the banks of the River Bollin, near Styal in Cheshire, and fits the City Daily Photo July theme day of "green", even down to the colour of the water.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants