Monday, 31 October 2011

Hallowe'en: The Witch Way

The Witch Way is a bus route between Manchester city centre and Nelson in Lancashire.

It has the witch logo because of the association with the so-called Pendle witch trials of Lancashire in the early 17th century. More on this at: but here's the summary:
The trials of the Pendle witches in 1612 are among the most famous witch trials in English history. The twelve accused lived in the area around Pendle Hill and were charged with the murders of ten people by the use of witchcraft...

Back to my photo, and I liked the way a building and its windows are reflected onto the side of the bus, making it look like she is flying past, albeit with an impossibly low moon! 

Footnote:  The word "Hallowe'en" is a variant of the fuller "All Hallows Evening"  = the night before All Hallows Day, or All Saints Day, on 1st November.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Pumpkin prep

Pumpkin, pre the preparations which will transform it into a glowing face to light up the front doorstep tomorrow night.

It can also make a hearty pumpkin soup.
How about this recipe from Manchester co-operative Unicorn:

Coconut and Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin – 1 or ½ depending on its size (and the size of your pan). Peeled and chopped into chunks
A selection of seasonal vegetables e.g. a handful of kale, a couple of carrots, kohl rabi, chard, parsnips – just use what’s available. Peeled, chopped etc.
A tin of coconut milk. Opened!
A few handfuls of red lentils. Rinsed.
Veg stock
Onions or leeks. Chopped.
Garlic if you like. Crushed/chopped.
Seasoning as required.

Heat oil in a large pan
Gently heat onion/leak/garlic for 5 – 10 mins
Add chopped selection of seasonal veg, sauté for approx 5 mins.
Add lentils.
Pour in the tin of coconut.
Add 1 to 2 pints of stock depending on the size of soup.
Bring to the boil for 5 –10 mins. Then cook for approx 30 mins (check the veg with a fork to make sure its cooked).
Eat chunky or blend smooth using a hand held blender (or a bit of both).

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Autumn's forgotten colours

Autumn's not just about reds, oranges and yellows, lovely though they are. Can anyone help me out by identifying this fine pair of trees please?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Ship of Fools

World Party were a band that formed in the late 1980s and are touring again this autumn - in the USA. They wrote and played a mean line in environmentalist lyrics.  I saw them at Manchester Academy back in 1993 (on 30th October) when they were inspirational. One of their many successful tracks was "Ship of Fools", which touched a green nerve in Australia, New Zealand and the USA, as well as at home in the UK.

Ship of Fools (Karl Wallinger)
"...Avarice and greed are gonna drive you over the endless sea
They will leave you drifting in the shallows
Drowning in the oceans of history

Travelling the world, you're in search of no good
But I'm sure you're philosophic like I knew you would
Using all the good people for your gallant slaves
As your little boat struggles through the the warning waves

But you will pay, you will pay tomorrow
You're gonna pay tomorrow
You gonna pay tomorrow

Save me, save me from tomor-orrow
I don't want to sail with this ship of foo-ools, no no no no
Oh-oh-oh, save me-ee, save me from tomor-orrow
I don't want to sail with this ship of foo-ools, no no no no..."

Thanks to Susie SP for suggesting this photo, as we walked past the above apartment block after lunching at Earth in the Northern Quarter recently.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Horseman of Hare Hill

Today Hare Hill Gardens, a National Trust property, closes for the winter. It will re-open in April, leaving this haunting man and his horse the run of the place for several months...

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Diwali, the festival of light

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is celebrated for five days starting today. This photo was taken at the temple doors of the Gujarat Hindu Society in Preston, Lancashire, (about 30 miles north of Manchester) which I visited last week.

The following information about the festival of light is taken from the Indian website: Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year according to the Lunar Calendar. It literally translated means 'Row of Lights' (from Sanskrit: dipa = lamp / awali = row, line). It celebrates the victory of Goodness over Evil and Light over Darkness - ushering in the new year. 

Wishing Happy Diwali to everyone!
Deepavali Valthukkal!
Shubh Diwali!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Same premises, same premise

With 80,000+ students in the area then local businesses' quest for the student pound is always intense.

This bar used to go by the name of Overdraught before rebranding as Downtown a couple of years ago. The other week it changed again, to AXM, to greet the new academic year. A different name perhaps but the same premises and the same premise - inticing students to part with their cash in exchange for alcohol.

The Conservative and Liberal coalition governments' decision to impose a £9,000 (US$14,000, 10,500) per annum fees charge for every student from September 2012, (meaning students need to find £27,000 for a three year course before they even consider rent, food, clothes and food) will doubtless have a huge effect on the numbers and demographics of young people able to attend university in the future.

The Labour Party say they would cut this to £6,000 a year, but that would still be £18,000 to pay in back tax, just to pay for fees!

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas offers the most sensible solution when she states: "The truth is that it was Labour politicians who got the ball rolling on higher tuition costs, and only now are they realising - too late in the day and in the face of huge public opposition - that prohibitively expensive fees will have a serious impact on the prospects of our young people. For a real alternative, Labour should look no further than the UCU's proposal for a business education tax levied on the top 4% of UK companies. This would generate enough annually to abolish tuition fees and increase UK investment in higher education - while still keeping the UK's main corporation tax below that of France, Japan and the US."

Monday, 24 October 2011

Happy Mondays: Earth

Earth is a homely basement cafe next door to the Buddhist Centre. They serve quality, organic, fresh, local vegetarian and vegan food. There is always a good atmosphere and it's a nice place to eat lunch any day of the week:

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Weekend Reflections: Evidence of Autumn

Evidence of Autumn, by Chrissy

Diminishing greens, goldens grow,
Russetts, yellows, orange glow,
Dawn breaks past seven, central heating,
Night falls 'fore seven, hearty eating.
Walks that rustle, crisp and bright,
Misty morns, gale force nights.
Gathering layers, tales to tell,
All evidence of Autumn's spell.

Poem by me but title 'Evidence of Autumn' is also a mournful Tony Banks track- listen at:

More weekend reflections at the following meme:

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Occupy Mcr, Occupy worldwide

The Occupy Manchester (Mcr) camp at the Manchester Peace Gardens set up a three weeks ago and is still strong. Yesterday, after an eviction order, they moved from here to another site in the city.!/OccupyMCR and

The Occupy Movement is now western-worldwide: UK, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Italy, Spain, Romania, Poland, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Slovenia, France, Canada, USA,  South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong. I need to check but imagine there are many more western countries where these are taking place too.

In a nutshell the protestors represent the 99% of us who are suffering as a result of:
  • The inequalities of capitalism
  • Coroprate corruption and greed
  • The billions of £, $, Euros, etc. of public and taxpayers' money that bailed out the bankers who caused the global economic crises.
It is the public who are suffering, with mass unemployment and pay cuts, a huge hike to utility bills, transport costs, food costs. The very rich get richer and the masses are paying. Something better change...

Friday, 21 October 2011

Skywatch Friday: Strangeways

A view northwards taken from the city centre on Tuesday, with the 234ft (71m) ventilation tower of Strangeways prison in the middle distance. I was working on the same road as Strangeways, at a printers, during the riots of April 1990. The riots necessitated a major rebuild costing £80 million, with the 25 day long rioting injuring 147 staff and 47 prisoners, with one prisoner and one prison officer dying.

The prison was built on the grounds of Strangeways Park and Gardens, which gave the prison its original name, and was officially opened on 25th June 1868. The prison's walls are rumoured to be 16ft thick in places. Although a male prison, three females were amongst the 63 executions that took place here. Margaret Allen was the third, hanged on 12th January 1949.

A list of well known people imprisoned here is at the Wikipedia entry: 
These include some wrongly gaoled such as suffragette Christabel Pankhurst who was sent to Strangeways in 1905 when she simply called for rights for women at a Liberal Party meeting. So much for British democracy!

See other sky views from around the world at Skywatch Friday:

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Literati glitterati

The Manchester Literature Festival has once again been a resounding success. Last night saw the 6th annual Manchester Blog Awards, an integral part of the festival, at the Deaf Institute on Grosvenor Street, with excellent compere Kate Feld, who is a writer, blogger, instigator of these awards and much more, originally from Vermont:

I was delighted that this blog (Mancunian Wave)- still only six months old- was shortlisted for the Best Arts & Culture Blog award, but congratulations to deserving winner The Shrieking Violet, who had been nominated three years running:

I was also delighted to see such a mix of people in the audience and amongst the readers onstage, from many ethnicities and age ranges- from late teens to 70s I would guess. There must have been well over one hundred people attending. Best reading of the night for me (although there were several others that were top quality too) were the evocative memories of David Day. You can hear a short extract at Audioboo:

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Cherubs of UMIST

A close up of some of the the intricate sculptures of cherubs and heads on the building which was originally Manchester Municipal Technical School.

Built in the last few years of the 19th century, it became part of what is now known as the  UMIST main building, and was opened by the Prime Minister A.J. Balfour on 15th October 1902.

Since UMIST merged with the Victoria University of Manchester a few years ago, to become The University of Manchester, there are buildings surplus to requirement and the UMIST campus will be sold off to private buyers. Some of the buildings would make great apartments, shops, or hotels, others could better be used as offices, workshops or artists' studios. I'm keeping an eye on developments- many are listed buildings so cannot be altered too much externally.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Rochdale's finest ~ The Co-op

The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers was founded in 1844 and was the first successful cooperative enterprise, used as a model for modern co-ops. A group of 28 weavers and other artisans in Rochdale, Lancashire set up the society to open their own store on Toad Lane selling food items they could not otherwise afford.

Within ten years there were over 1,000 cooperative societies in the United Kingdom  This revolution was called The Co-operative.  167 years on, they have over 5,000 stores and branches across the UK. This photo is of one of the main Manchester Co-operative Society buildings.

"The Co-operative has already helped hundreds of thousands of people to bring their ideas to life, and now we want to empower even more revolutionaries to get involved. To keep communities thriving, support co-operatives, protect the environment and respect animal welfare." 

My broadband account is with them too ;-)

Check out Our World Tuesday posts at:

Monday, 17 October 2011

Happy Mondays: Gardening leave

Leaves are falling at an alarming rate,
 Yellowed carpet awaits a rake,
Where are the absent gardeners five?
tea on, feet up, warm inside?

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Balconies on Back Turner

The small but sweet balconies of the Back Turner Street apartments, which are converted 19th century Victorian warehouses. For the record, as a fair amount of historic Manchester in this blog is from the 19th century, the Victorian period is defined by Queen Victoria's reign- which lasted from 20th June 1837 until her death on 22nd January 1901.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Taxi to the bright lights

I like the randomness of taking the odd snap in the city at night. You are never sure what effects will result, and often the less promising subject matter can turn out to provide the most atmospheric photo.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Mcr food & drink festival

Night has descended and it's time to head for the 14th Manchester food and drink festival, running to 17th October. Quite a range of options this year, with Home Sweet Home gourmet bakers, a Harvey Nicks wine bar, Spanish and Brazilian stalls and the Oktober beerfest tent. Good to hear that 1847 bistro was there too.

I'm also pleased to see the launch of a vegetarian fine dining club, the Hungry Gecko, with tv's Masterchef semi-finalist and local lass Jackie Kearney:

Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is speaking here today. A former "meat-head", he is now an advocate of the health and moral arguments for global vegetarianism: 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Ivy invasion

An ivy clad 1930's suburban home. The ivy changes colour from green in summer to red in autumn, but what happens next? The leaves don't fall off in Autumn. Do they just fade and then grow green again in spring?

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Arty Old Town

Returning to Red Lion Street and yesterday's post Dirty Old Town:

That photo was taken a few weeks ago, and while in the area yesterday, I could not but help notice that the side of the building had recently undergone a fantastical artistic transformation. What an improvement!

You can watch a video of how Subism created this, at:

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Dirty Old Town

"Dirty Old Town" is a song written by Ewan MacColl in 1949. It was written about the industrialisation and pollution in Salford, the city MacColl grew up in, but could apply- then and now- to many a place, including parts of neighbouring Manchester, as illustrated in today's photo. 

For performances of it, with atmospheric archive photos, see:

Wikipedia states: When MacColl first wrote the song, the local council were unhappy at having Salford called a dirty old town and, after considerable criticism, the words of the song were changed from "smelled a spring on the Salford wind" to "smelled a spring on the smoky wind". The Spinners made the first popular recording of the song and they sang "Salford wind". This was hardly surprising as the lead singer on the track was Mick Groves, a Salfordian.

It was originally composed for an interlude to cover an awkward scene change in MacColl's  Salford-set 1949 play Landscape with Chimneys, but with the growing popularity of folk music the song became a standard. The song paints an evocative yet ultimately bitter picture of industrial northern England, and presages to some extent the Angry Young Man school of the 1950s.

Come back tomorrow to see a transformation of this bleak wall and fire escape...

Monday, 10 October 2011

Happy Mondays: A good read & Mcr Lit Fest

There has been a second hand bookstall here under the Mancunian Way on Oxford Road for as long as I can remember. A pop-up bookstore if you will, well before "pop up" was a fashionable term. Selling vinyl as well as paper, the books on offer range from text books to travel books, modern novels to literary classics. It's a great venture to support and there's always something interesting to browse or buy- it can usually cheer up any Monday blues anyway.

Timely too, to mention the 6th Manchester Literature Festival which starts today and runs to 23rd October. The Manchester blog awards on the 19th are also part of this literary feast:

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Oklahoma- urban prairie?

Oklahoma gift shop and cafe is one of the many independent businesses in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

When I hear of Oklahoma I also think of the southern US State and the prairie (and Garrison Keillor's wonderful radio show A Prairie Home Companion:

The word “Oklahoma” is derived from the Native American Choctaw words words “okla” and “humma”, meaning "red people”- so with Manchester's proud socialist, union and communist history it seems well chosen.

This is what they have to say for themselves: A colourful creative cafe and burgeoning eclectic wonderful gift shop not to mention art house DVD rentals with over 850 for the last 8 years... Fairtrade coffees, recycled plastic work surfaces, baked sweet potatoes, jumbo oreo smoothies, skippy shakes, ice cream floaters, homemade lemonade, norlander rye... bread toasties.... finger monsters, spud guns, fortune fish, bonfirm bracelets, day of the dead cushions, classic hardware jewellery, lush hand screen printed lampshades, music boxes and more stocking fillers than you can shove in a stocking... to name just a few of the delights awaiting ... wonder through the large oak doors and into consumer heaven!”

Follow them by popping in in person or if you can't manage that, on Twitter:

By the way,  if you are disappointed that this post was not about Oklahoma! the musical, well, you had best mosey along to Stockport Plaza for the Plaza youth production of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical. Thursday 13th to Saturday 15th October and worth going if only just to see the wonderful Stockport Plaza Art Deco theatre:

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Weekend Reflections: Mendel's moving mirror

A car window refects and bends Chepstow House- which is now an apartment block but was formerly Samuel Mendel's warehouse, built in 1874.

From: Sam Mendel was an enormously wealthy merchant who had a spectacular fall from riches to rags in 1875.  His claim to fame was his ability to transport textiles to India and Australia faster than his competitors around the Cape of Good Hope.  When the Suez Canal opened in 1869 his commercial advantage faded away and in 1875 he was forced into bankruptcy. 

To view all the photos submitted for this week's Weekend Reflections please go to:

Friday, 7 October 2011

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Much room for mushrooms

"Much room for mushrooms" probably should be titled "Toadstools today". Are there any funghi experts reading who know what variety these woodland growing specimens are?

Thanks to Susie SP for suggesting taking this photo while we were out walking.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

All things Bright & beautiful

John Bright is the silhouetted statue in the centre and the central figure of today's post. Born in Rochdale, Lancashire in 1811, as a Liberal MP for Manchester he opposed the slave trade. He was also against the Crimean War (1853-54) albeit in vain, and lost his seat as a result. As an employer however he was not against children working for him -and in appalling conditions-, and was also against votes for women.

US President Abraham Lincoln described Bright as “the friend of our country, and of freedom everywhere”. Bright's letters to US Senator Charles Sumner were read to Lincoln. It was through this correspondence that John Bright persuaded Lincoln to support freedom for all slaves across the USA, which resulted in the Emancipation Proclamation of September 1862.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Turkish delight

When I spotted this church from the train passing through Rochdale station in the October sunshine, I thought I was imagining things. With the brilliant blue sky and the dusty roads (caused by tramlines being laid) I thought I might be in Greece, as the building looked to me like a Greek Orthodox church.

 I took this quick snap through the train window then did some research when I got home.
It is in fact St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and was built in 1924 on the site of a previous church. The design was based on the church of Santa Sofia in Istanbul, itself now a museum:

Monday, 3 October 2011

Post march postcard

A postcard selection of photos from yesterday's 35,000 strong march and rally, including musicians, a large police presence, and colourful banners and placards, including one (bottom left) that morphed Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron with equally unpopular former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. 

Two quotes given to The Guardian newspaper (formerly the Manchester Guardian): Tony Lloyd, the Labour MP for Manchester Central, was at the front of the march. He said: "People here are angry, but many are frightened. The government is slashing billions and billions from our public services."

Darren Nicholl, 41, a teacher from Manchester, attended the march along with his two-year-old son. He told the Press Association: "I'm here protesting against the proposed closure of sure start in Burnage. I have just recovered from cancer and there is no way the family would have got back on track without our sure start centre. The march is great. Ordinary people need a greater voice."

Postscript:It was reported in September that the UK unemployment rose by 80,000 in the three months to July 2011 to 2.51 million. (7.8% of the workforce). We are heading towards the 3 million+ unemployment of the Thatcher years (1983-90). 

It's interesting to read from fellow City Daily Photo bloggers in Athens (ρομπερτ) and Washington D.C (Luis) of ongoing demonstrations in Greece and USA too.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Solidarity Street

A huge national march and rally took place against the governing Conservative-Liberal public sector spending cuts here in Manchester today. It was a peaceful and inspiring event, attended by thousands of concerned people from all walks of life.

I would estimate about 40,000 attended, with a march from Liverpool Street to a rally on the fields in Albion Street. It's one of 14 such demonstrations around the country throughout October and November, arguing against the wide ranging and far reaching government spending cuts and policies.

The TUC (Trades Union Congress) called this national demonstration in Manchester, where anti-cuts protestors showed the mass opposition to the cuts, and again urged a place for real debate and discussion about the alternatives and the possibilities:

See also Hot Air: 

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Theme Day: Mystery Object

The City Daily Photo Theme Day for October is "Mystery Object". 

If you are unsure as to what my mystery object is then please read on...

It's a sculpture entitled Combustion, and is by Marshall Hall. Marshall was a student at UMIST (University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology) when the piece was commissioned by the Campus Appearance Committee in 1994. It represents the explosive power of fire.

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