Thursday, 31 May 2012

Lymm lunch at The Terrace

I was lucky enough to be taken for lunch at The Terrace restaurant in Lymm yesterday. Some wonderful fare on offer. The setting is modern and stylish inside, with a sunny terrace area to the rear, where you can hear the burbling of the stream and the sound of birds amongst the chatter of diners.

A sandwich and salad may sound simple though it was anything but; the homemade multigrain GI bread is among the best bread I have ever tasted, the felafal was just right- moist enough and packed with flavours. The various salads all worked well, delightful potato salad, a balanced coleslaw and a nicely presented and well dressed mix of salad leaves and vegetables. The other vegetarian option of roasted mediterranean vegetables and goats cheese also went down well. A few more vegetarian options and some vegan options as standard on the daytime and evening menus wouldn't go amiss.

It's a family run affair with mother and daughter team Joanne and Sophie. The Terrace opened in 2003 and aims to provide a wide range of homemade breakfasts, lunches, daily specials and cakes to suit all. Ingredients are locally sourced where possible. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

ABC Wednesdays: "T" is for Turing

This statue of Alan Turing (June 1912 to June 1954) sits in Sackville Park. There are many celebrations around the world this year, his centenary. Tragically he took his own life by eating a poisoned apple, after being persecuted and prosecuted by antiquated British law, merely for being gay. This after he helped win World War II  by developing computers to break the Enigma Code. The Manchester connection is that Alan worked at Manchester University from 1948. 

Local Turing events include a mass planting of sunflowers as part of an experiment to solve the mathematical riddle that he worked on. The results will be announced during the Manchester Science Festival 2012 (27 Oct - 4 Nov). Other cultural events connected to Turing’s life and legacy are at MOSI, the Manchester Museum and other spaces. More on the planet-wide centenary events at:

I thought this photo I took last month of the memorial statue by a pink-blossomed tree was appropriate, in that Turing died whilst his talents were still blossoming, aged just 42. Linked to ABC Wednesdays .

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Far from the Madding Crowd, in Manchester...

It is a rare and celebratory day when you find a quiet space to yourself in the city centre, that's both in the sunshine and on the grass. This is behind the 360 building at Castlefield.

The Madding Crowd are a gutsy and melancholic Manchester band that I think are pretty fabulous and are often gigging locally. They play The Retro Bar on Sackville Street on 4th June and 21 June- I hope to get to the second date. The Madding Crowd  consists of Ben Corry on guitar and vocals, Dom Corry on guitar, Claud Corry on bass and Danny Kristof on drums. Check out A Glorious Comedy, A Cloud On The Horizon and other tracks at:!/Vivalamaddingcrowd/app_2405167945

Today's post is linked to the Our World Tuesday blog.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Monday Murals: The summer space race

I just love this piece of street art- in my opinion it's the best I have seen on this concrete folly that is regularly repainted (see my posts of the past two Mondays, 14th and 21st May). It's a simple but effective use of the space - pun intended...

It's forms an art collective’s revolving exhibition. Every three months new pieces of artwork for the city are created around Stevenson Square:

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Great hairy willow herb or grass vetchling?

In bloom now by a canal near you, a delicate specimen of pink wildflower. With some minimal research I pondered if these wildflowers are great hairy willow herbs or maybe  grass vetchling? I am quite likely to be wrong and await correction from any passing botanists...  Spotted on the Shropshire canal.

Update 27 May: I think Deb (Ginnels Gates and Ghosts, a York Daily photo) is right when she suggests these are in fact Red Campion.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Weekend Reflections: CIaude Debussy's 150th

The Bridgewater Hall where the Reflections on Debussy season continues until 9th June. The front entrance is reflecting Manchester Central and a passing tram. Reflections on Debussy marks 150 years since the birth of Claude Debussy. "The series explore the richly imaginative world of Debussy, especially his creative relationship with Japan and the East. Leading this fascinating journey is the Japanese pianist and acclaimed Debussy performer, Noriko Ogawa."

More Weekend Reflections around the world.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Skywatch Friday: Manchester from Hare Hill, Cheshire not so plain

Looking north to Manchester, as viewed from Hare Hill. It's a distance of 16 miles from here to the city centre. Things to do here include wandering among the lovely walled gardens of Hare Hill, before enjoying wooded walks and views such as these across the Cheshire Plain. More Skywatch Friday posts.

This photo was not taken this week, when the sky has been a continuous brilliant blue.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Another sunny day by Rain

Just like all the canalside cafes and pubs Rain Bar's trade increases on a sunny day. (Rain and its garden is on the left with the trees and canopies). For those not embibing at Rain, there is the joy of a picnic, lunch alfresco or just sitting in the sun by the Rochdale Canal's lock 89. You have to seize the day.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

"S" is for sun, sand but not sea, the beach is back!

The Manchester beach is the place to be in your sunny lunch hours this week. Other outdoor spots like Spinningfields and the grim Berlin Wall-like Piccadilly Gardens are far too busy for my tastes. Mainstream canalside favourites Rain Bar, Duke's 92 and all the bars under and outside the arches along Deansgate Locks were all packed yesterday too, so I'll see you at the beach this lunchtime...

My ideal beach is really a quiet one with a long stretch of sand, where the only sounds are that of the sea and children of all ages having fun (e.g. on the west Wales coast), but urban beaches somehow lend themselves to the loud music and a certain brashness, accompanied by the sounds of trams and trains trundling overhead. I guess I simply appreciate it as a real bonus on a work day!

Linked to ABC Wednesdays  and the Weekly Top Shot blog .

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Bizarre bazaar: Tunisian Treasures Market, St. Ann’s Square

Following the Moroccan markets earlier in the month, we now have the slightly bizarre (by local standards) but welcome sight of a Tunisian Bazaar in the 18th century English square of St. Ann.

The Tunisian Treasures Market runs until the 27th May. You can browse items handcrafted by Tunisian artisans, from ceramics to tiles, terracotta lamps, drums and slippers. Olive wood ornaments, glassware, jewellery, carpets and spices are also on sale. A calligrapher is on site showing off her skills, whilst the Medina Bedouin tent serves mint tea,Tunisian coffee, some nice salads and patisseries too.

To me there seems  more of a buzz about the Tunisian market than the Moroccan market, but perhaps that's due to the arrival of some overdue sunny days of 24°C all this week.

Linked to this week's Midweek Blues.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Monday Murals: Catwoman of Stevenson Square?

This is rather a mischievious looking character loitering amongst the street art at Stevenson Square, and it appears to cast the shadow of a cat. It replaced the "Purple with Rage" artwork I featured a week ago- see link (but has since been replaced as well!):

It's an art collective’s revolving exhibition which utilises existing walls in the centre of the square. Every three months the blocks are reworked to unveil a new piece of artwork for the city. Artists at work:

I am not alone in thinking that Stevenson Square should be pedestrianised, so that the cafes, bars and shops which surround all sides of it could benefit from becoming a cleaner and greener space. The ever changing public art would form its centre and it could be a great square for sitting and relaxing. Some trees should be added as well. At the moment the through traffic and buses obscuring and choking the square don't do it any favours and you're loathe to linger...  

Linked to Monday Murals at the Oakland Daily Photo blog.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Sunday Bridges: Spanning time and the Weaver

The Dutton Viaduct near Dutton and Acton Bridge was the first railway viaduct in the UK outside of London, built in 1836 for the Grand Junction Railway. It is still in regular use today, as part of the west coast line, spanning the River Weaver. It measures 391m (428 yards) long, with twenty 18m (60 feet) span arches. Its cost in the 1830s was £54,440 which equates to £4.25 million in 2012.

Today, for the first time, I’m pleased to be linking Mancunian Wave to Sunday Bridges , a San Francisco blog which shares photos of bridges from all over the world. 

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Vibrant vivacious vegetarians, it's meat-free Manchester!

Chorlton Wholefoods at 64 Beech Road is a purveyor of fine veggie and vegan foodstuffs. I was a regular when I lived in Chorlton in the 1980s & 90s, when it was called Sunflowers.

Meat Free in Manchester returns to Albert Square on Saturday 19th May from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. It marks the start of National Vegetarian week.
  • Watch famous chef Rose Elliot and Cordon Vert cookery school chefs perform live cookery demos.
  • Try free samples from the Vegetarian Society Approved team and buy tasty burgers, falafels, pasties, cakes and more.
  • Use pedal power to make a smoothie and play other interactive games.
  • Join in with the Banger Bonanza- taste veggie sausages and decide Manchester's favourite.
  • Make your own unique relish and take part in the banger racing activity.
  • Enjoy live entertainment, including children's TV favourite Mr Bloom.
Last year’s was a great success and fun for all the family.(See my post from last year). 
Info on the week's events . The UK Vegetarian Society was formed in Manchester in 1847 with its HQ in Altrincham.

The Albert Square webcam, high in the Town Hall tower always gives a nice overview of events too:

Friday, 18 May 2012

Monsal, from railway to trail way

We went on a hike along the Monsal Trail in the Peak District over the May Day holiday. The Midland Railways line from Manchester to London was built in the 1860s but was closed in 1968 by Transport Minister Barbara Castle.

The Peak District National Park reopened the route for walkers and cyclists in 1981 and the stretch from Wyedale to Bakewell now makes for a fascinating 16 mile round walk, surrounded by wildlife, industrial heritage and 350 million year old limestone cliffs. 
(It is 37 miles by road from the centre of Manchester to Bakewell).

There are many railway tunnels to walk through such as these at Cheetor, although the diversions around the tunnels, be they over the tops or around the River Wye valley, are more scenic.

My monthly guest post at the Smitten By Britain blog is about the National Trust property at Kingston Lacy in Dorset. Read all about it:

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Future Everything Festival: Clay commuters

At Cathedral Gardens yesterday morning. The water feature is but a small jump for a regular-sized day commuter, but proves to be a dangerous swim for a clay commuter (as illustrated below...)

8,000 clay commuters appeared around Manchester yesterday morning thanks to the @sykeycollective. These tiny creations by artist Lawrence Epps were let loose around the city. The pieces are all male
as the the Sykey Collective tells me the piece is intended as a critical statement about male corporate culture (In which case I guess they are all white and privately schooled too?).

"Dwarfed by the offices and work places
around them, [they] mirror the hurried journeys made by their audience. The figures [were] found in surprise locations. The public are encouraged to handle and take away the figures for their own enjoyment and share their thoughts, films and photos in response to the project online. The figures then find their way into the lives and memories of the public."  I now have one of them sitting in my city centre flat and blending in next to my wooden effect radio.

They form part of the annual Future Everything Festival, which celebrates the latest developments in art, music and technology through a festival and conference from 16th to 19th May:

The project accompanies the exhibition of Lawrence Epps’ Human Resources sculpture (made up of tens of thousands of the figures) in the Future Everybody Art Exhibition at MOSI. Additional number of figures will also be distributed in and around Handmade at Victoria Baths on Saturday 19th May.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

"R" is for Mr Rolls and Mr Royce

Linked to ABC Wednesdays , where this week it's the letter "R". The aristocratic Charles Stewart Rolls met working class engineer Frederick Henry Royce in the Manchester Midland Hotel in 1904. This relief in the Midland entrance commemorates the event. It has always reminded me of the sculptures on the magnificent Moscow Metro's circle line.

By the end of the year Charles and Fred had produced the first Rolls-Royce car. Rolls also pursued an interest in early aviation and became a pilot, which caused his death just six years later at the tender age of 32. He became the first British person to die in a flying accident, at Bournemouth.

My guest post for May at the Smitten By Britain blog is about the National Trust property at Kingston Lacy in Dorset. Read all about it:

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Rhapsody in blue: Mancini’s Man City in good Kompany

100,000 people lined the streets for Manchester City's victory parade yesterday evening. I restricted myself to taking about 10 photos from my vantage point behind the Bridgewater Hall. I chose this one for today's post as I liked what it represented: the combination of typical Mancunian red brick architecture, the loyal fans, and the team bus coming round the corner in the evening sun.  A better close up of the trophy and players is below.

The Citizens, or The Sky Blues, paraded through the city centre a day after narrowly winning the league for the first time since 1968. Their long suffering fans thought hope had vanished on Sunday when, with no minutes of normal playing time left, they were losing 2-1 to lowly west Londoners Queens Park Rangers.

The Premier League title was returning to Old Trafford, as Manchester Utd had just won their last game. But somehow the multicultural multi-millionaires of the world’s richest football club scored two goals in injury time to win 3-2 and take the league. And, in doing so, provided enough material to give the UK media networks licence for non-stop coverage for the next 24 hours.
Today's post is linked to the Our World Tuesday blog and, of course, the Midweek Blues MeMe.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Monday Murals: Purple with rage?

The street art at Stevenson Square seems to change more quickly than I can keep up with. This large purple faced man has since been painted over and next Monday I shall show what replaced it. I didn't like this work of art at first, probably due to the clash of colours, but it later grew on me, and now it is gone!

You can now also keep up with the Mancunian Wave blog on Facebook:

Linked to Monday Murals at the Oakland Daily Photo blog.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

River Weaver: wisteria hysteria

Wisteria is peaking all over the north-west this week. Including at this lovely property alongside the River Weaver near Dutton nature reserve and Dutton Viaduct. 

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Trio of golden goslings

Two Canadian geese, proud parents both, protect and teach their newly hatched offspring on the Macclesfield Canal. We've also seen a family with five goslings at Tatton Mere this spring. But I wonder what happened to the goose who was protecting her nest on the canal towpath near Bollington. I fear her hisses may not have been enough to fully protect those eggs, and that she would have been better off in the field on the other side of the canal, where a dozen other geese were a-laying. There's safety in numbers, sometimes.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Weekend Reflections: Deansgate Quay

It's almost the weekend: a jogger limbers up by a bench while a woman with funky pink hair catches up with her social media. I simply snap and appreciate the symmetry at Deansgate Quay. More Weekend Reflections around the world.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Paper late: London lottery on Tariff Street

Wandering along Dale Street last Thursday afternoon to meet up with a friend at Teacup on Thomas Street, I was stopped in my tracks by a group of onlookers. They were watching as Dale Street and Tariff Street stepped back in time to become 1960s London. I have always wanted to go back in time to revisit the London I grew up in, but I never expected to walk straight into it in downtown Manchester...

The filming was of an advert for the lottery, so a cameraman told me. Two 1960s cars and a huddle of be-scarfed and hatted pseudo cockneys were milling about, as a newspaper man sold the London Daily Chronicle.

I immediately saw some historical anomalies- I think the Daily Chronicle finished in the 1930s, and two of the other signs above scream pre-World War II to me. I suppose they may still have been around in some parts of the capital in the mid 1960s. The "geezer" selling papers and most of the actors however did look 1960s, as were the two cars.

The Northern Quarter has now stood in for New York (Alfie with Jude Law, and Captain America) and London (in the first Robert Downey and Jude Law Sherlock Holmes film). Does anyone else know of any Northern Quarter or Manchester film sets? I know it's been used in several recent tv productions which were actually set in Manchester.

See the Signs, Signs blog for more signs from all around the world this week.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Quota of bluebells: The Bluebell by Emily Brontë

May is not May until I have been on some quiet woodland walks to admire my annual quota of quality bluebells. This is taken on the banks of the River Bollin.

Extracts from The Bluebell by Emily Brontë (1850)

The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit's care.

There is a spell in purple heath
Too wildly, sadly dear;
The violet has a fragrant breath,
But fragrance will not cheer,

The Bluebell cannot charm me now,
The heath has lost its bloom;
The violets in the glen below,
They yield no sweet perfume.

But, though I mourn the sweet Bluebell,
'Tis better far away;
I know how fast my tears would swell
To see it smile to-day.

How do I weep, how do I pine
For the time of flowers to come,
And turn me from that fading shine,
To mourn the fields of home!

Linked to ABC Wednesdays  (this week the letter "Q") and also linked to the Midweek Blues blog.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Platforms in the air- Piccadilly is 170 today!

Piccadilly railway station opened 170 years ago today on 8 May 1842, when it was known as both Store Street station and as Bank Top station, terminus of the Manchester and Birmngham Railway.

According to Network Rail which manages it, over 28.5 million people use the station annually. In an independent poll carried out in 2007, Manchester Piccadilly had the highest customer satisfaction level of any UK station, with 92% of passengers satisfied with the station; the national average was 60%. Not that it nor its 14 train platforms and two tram platforms offer anything different to any other major city's mainline station, as far I can see. I wonder what most commuters and passengers really think of it?

Linked to the Our World Tuesday blog.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Lego Show: Sherlock Holmes investigates world's largest mosaic

Sherlock Holmes at home in 221B Baker Street, Lego style.

Lego World enters its third and final day at Event City. A fun filled exhibition for all the family, with working Lego models, some amazing buildings and figures, plus plenty of hands on activities. Also a world record attempt for the world's largest Lego mosiac, which we were happy to play our small part in: see photo below for the first third of the mosaic, which will hopefully be completed today to create a new record.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Alty boys take the Bridgewater Hall

Altrincham Grammar School for Boys held a concert to celebrate its centenary, here at the Bridgewater Hall last Monday. One of the few remaining state-funded grammar schools in the country, the concert showcased the musical talent of many of the pupils. Three choirs, an orchestra and their national award winning swing band all put on a highly professional show.

Music from every decade of the school was represented, from Holst's Mars to the swinging sixties and beyond via Porgy and Bess, rock and roll. The music was interspersed with an entertaining narrative highlighting points in the school's history. Shorts were still being worn in the 1950s and it was 1969 before boys were allowed to stop wearing a cap. "Labor omnia vincit", as the school motto says (work conquers all).

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Can canoeists canoe a canal?

The answer to the question of today's post's title would appear to be a resounding "yes", as these keen canoeists power their way along the Macclesfield canal at a speed which is at least twice that of the barges that ply the same waterway.

Linked to the Weekly Top Shot blog .

Friday, 4 May 2012

Skywatch Friday: Ancient & Modern

I abhor the idea of out of town shopping malls as they take the revenue and the heart out of so many town and city centres. Margaret Thatcher and her Tory party foisted them upon the UK from the 1980s onwards, as part of their culture of individual greed and "big business is best" schemes.

But at least the Trafford Centre at Dumplington has some excellent sculptures and statues inside and out, as illustrated here. (I hasten to add that I've only ventured inside about three or four times in the past decade). Also, I have searched in vain to find any information about who the series of statues (built circa 1995-2005?) represent though. I suspect Mammon is one of them...

More Skywatch Friday posts.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Moroccan markets, Moroccan roll

The Moroccan handicraft market is at St. Anne's Square this week from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., with the last day on Saturday 5th May. The 20 or so tents are crammed full of - to my eyes-  exotic looking carpets, mysterious musical instruments, lamps and more. I am unsure if the musician here is playing a ginbri, a lotar or something else. Any ideas?

It really is wonderful to see quality examples of North African goods being sold by authentic Morrocan traders. The Morrocan markets are on a tour until 16 June and next go to Leicester, Lincoln, Leeds, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Derby 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

ABC Wednesdays: "P" Is for psychedelic picnic

Please bee seated. A psychedelic picnic table awaits your lunch time pleasures in the Northern Quarter. As the busy bee is the symbol of Manchester, I can see where the inspiration for this comes from. 

Linked to ABC Wednesdays , the Seasame Street of the bloggers' world. This week it's the letter "P".

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Theme Day: Bakeries, Barbakan

Bakeries is this month's topic for City Daily Photo theme day. Happy May Day everyone- bread for the workers!

Barbakan Delicatessen opened in the late 1960s, with its roots in Krakow, Poland. Stefan and Joanna Najduch have been in charge for over two decades and oversee the bakery's 15,000 loaves of bread a week.  Barbakan has over 50 different types of bread ranging from tomato bread to Norlander rye via the popular Chorlton sourdough. Follow Barbakan on Twitter @BarbakanDeli .

Each loaf is individually hand crafted and baked on the sole of the oven – no tins. This not only improves the appearance and texture of the bread, but also ensures it is full of flavour. Breads are made using traditional baking methods and authentic European recipes using over 9 tonnes of highest grade flour a week. Only the finest ingredients are used which are free from artificial improvers or preservatives.