Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Sunrise Surprise: Fat Old Sun

An early morning wintry walk along the Macclesfield canal near Congleton, and who should peek over the horizon but the fat old sun -as in the Pink Floyd song of the same name: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttPNilF3v5A

More from around the globe at Our World Tuesday

Monday, 30 January 2012

Bridge Inn troubled waters

The Bridge Inn in Altrincham has lost its long struggle to stay open. Along with other local businesses including two garages and a pet supply shop, it is being demolished. It always struck me as a bit of a "spit and sawdust" pub but even so, I am not sure about the redevelopment.

The £100m Altair* scheme for the 6-acre site includes 31 homes, 90,000 square feet of offices, 70,000 sq ft of retail floor space and a 125-bed hotel but I think they could have incorporated the pub, completed in 1901, upgrading it as they went.

Local residents are also fuming at the prospect of more traffic opposite their property and having light blocked out of their little terraced houses by the new arrivals, which will be on the land adjacent to the ice rink.

* Altair is named, somewhat inappropriately in my opinion, after the brightest star in the constellation of Aquila in the northern hemisphere. An artist's impression of the new development is at: http://www.nikal.uk.com/siteNorm/selectedDevelopmentLive.php?qsSelectedProjectId=1

Sunday, 29 January 2012

1989: The Year of the Snake

Flashback to Chinese New Year in February 1989. Two traditional singers usher in the Year of the Snake in the heart of what was then a newly renovated and expanding Manchester Chinatown.

As far as I can remember it was the first Chinese New Year celebration I attended and I probably took the photo with my trusty Olympus Trip.

A few months later the Tiananmen Square protests took place in Beijing and hundreds of innocent Chinese citizens were killed... 

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Lanterns: Kung Hei Fat Choy 新年快樂

Chinese lanterns for the New Year celebrations taking place in Manchester this weekend.

新年快樂 Kung Hei Fat Choy!
Happy New Year.

The Year of the Dragon, a symbol that represents excitement, unpredictability, and exhilaration.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Weekend Reflections: Seeing double at Huron Basin

The answer to yesterday's question is...The NV apartments and Detroit Bridge by Huron Basin at Harbour City, Salford Quays. Winter sunshine at its most creative.

The NV development (I cannot find out what "NV" stands for!) consists of these three 18-storey residential towers, each 180 feet (55m) in height. Costing £36m to build, their curved frontages were designed to represent sails. To the right Detroit Bridge was once a railway swing bridge crossing the Manchester Ship Canal but was later re-sited here.

Have a look around the apartments at YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9FIJLKKn7E&feature=related and on the JJT Residential channel which that clip is on.

For reflections around the world have a look over at the Weekend Reflections Blog: http://weekendreflection.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Wobbly apartments

More details as to what and where these apartments blocks are, and an explanation for their apparent distortion, will appear tomorrow. Meanwhile, please feel free to have a guess...

Entered for Madge in Seattle's Weekly Top Shot: http://www.theviewfromrighthere.com/blog/?p=5976

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Picture House

All that remains of this lovely old cinema is the outside upper storey facade. Sadly below a daily horror film now plays out, in the form of an American burger, fries and shakes place- peddling fast food of the worst kind, or, as I say, "Golden arches = hardened arteries."

For a weekly compilation of all kinds of signs from blogs around the world see: http://signs2.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Street Art: Stevenson Square revisited

In December I showed the longship street art that was here, see: http://mancunianwave.blogspot.com/2011/11/long-boat-on-stevenson-square.html
I promised to share what replaced it. Although I like the cool green colours on this winter line up, I think I prefer the previous artwork to these eight cartoon avatars. 

Monday, 23 January 2012

Happy Lunar New Year

The Chinese, or Lunar, New Year is today, 23rd January. 2012 is the Year of the Dragon and Chinatown is in buoyant mood. Manchester's celebrations take place from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th January.

The Chinese Arch is just outside the New Hong Kong restaurant in today's photo, and is an impressive sight all year round- see my post at: http://mancunianwave.blogspot.com/2011/05/chinese-arch.html

The New Hong Kong restaurant proudly proclaims "Our establishment is one of the original Chinese restaurants around which Chinatown in Manchester has grown. It began life almost thirty years ago as the Hong Kong restaurant, establishing the link with Hong Kong by being one of the first Chinese restaurants in Manchester city centre to serve authentic Cantonese cuisine. Since then the restaurant has been extensively modified and upgraded and so re-named The New Hong Kong.

With the Chinese Arch standing proudly outside our restaurant, we sit right in the heart of Manchester’s Chinatown and our listed building is a major local landmark."

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A thrifty weekend: Sunday

Altrincham Sunday Vintage Market
Up early for a tram to Harbour City, or walk along the banks of the River Irwell to get there.
A walk around the basins at Salford Quays, looking at Media City where the BBC and part of Salford University have moved to. Then to the Lowry Centre to view the permanent Lowry exhibition and other galleries, including the wonderful Adolphe Valette exhibition on until 28 January. Great views of the area, especially if sunny, over a coffee. £2 plus optional donation to the galleries.
Work off your lunch at a vintage market. It’s held at Stockport once a month and in Altrincham the third Sunday of the month: http://www.vintagevillagestockportmarket.co.uk/ and https://twitter.com/#!/Altvtgmarket 
The Altrincham Sunday market mixes vintage with local food produce. You can buy beers from Tatton Brewery, wines from the Languedoc (ok, that's not so local), local honey and beeswax polish, recycled homemade jewellry, cupcakes, china, homemade cards etc.
I enjoy perusing the 1950's crockery stall with fine examples of Midwinter domino (white pots on white, Midwinter Cannes and Riveria and Enid Seeney’s Homemaker (featuring black and white design award winning items including a Robin Day armchair and a Sigvard Bernadotte sofa). From £5. Or a vintage dress for £10.
There should still be time to head back to the Northern Quarter to wander round some independent shops and grab a cup tea, people watch or look at the street art. See: http://mancunianwave.blogspot.com/2011/10/oklahoma-urban-prairie.html

Then home for the rest of last night’s chilli and a baked potato and the wine left over from last night, And why not tune to local community radio station ALL FM on 96.9 or online. Their weekly Charity Shops Classics programme showcases tunes that can be found in charity shops. I love the variety and the sounds of some of the far from perfect vinyl that gets played. It’s a novel idea and can unearth some musical gems. It’s also is a great way of reusing old records and cassettes which otherwise would surely be destined for landfill: http://www.mixcloud.com/tag/allfm/ and http://allfm.org/

Finally a Sunday night drink at my favourite bar Dimitri’s- say £5 (photo right) and: http://mancunianwave.blogspot.com/2011/06/alfresco-at-dimitris.html
Total spend approximately £22 (a total of just under £50 for yesterday and today).
There are so many more suggestions I could make for cheap and exciting days out- walks in the Peak District, day trips to National Trust and English Heritage properties, more unusual galleries and museums.

I will continue to mention these here on Mancunian Wave anyway. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

A thrifty weekend: Saturday

Most Wanted have asked me to see how far I could get in Manchester with £50 –“Will it last for a day out?” they ask. I am going to try and make it last over two days, for one to two people. Easy!

A cheap and exhilarating way to start the day is a walk in the country. Regular readers might know I am walking the 97 mile long Cheshire Canal Ring bit by bit, so let's head off to a stretch of canal for a couple of hours walk.
There are so many stretches that are especially pretty. Today’s photo was taken on a frosty day last weekend, of a railway viaduct as seen from the Macclesfield Canal near Congleton. Parking at Henshall's Bridge and walking to Buxton Road Bridge is about a six mile round trip, and a gentle two hour walk. Cost: Petrol £4. See: http://www.waterscape.com/in-your-area/cheshire/walking

Back by late morning to On the Eighth Day in town for coffee and a flapjack. Stocking up with some of their wonderful calzones and wraps (e.g. smoky bean burrito, spinach and pea wrap, Mediterranean calzone) for a takeout lunch. Oh, and a copy of the Positive News paper for a 10p donation at the till. Cost £6.10.
(see: http://mancunianwave.blogspot.com/2011/11/happy-mondays-on-eighth-day.html and http://positivenews.org.uk/ )

Talking of quality newspapers, a copy of The Guardian (which was called The Manchester Guardian from 1821 to 1959) is always a wonderful weekend-long read. It's worth the cover price but can be cheaper still at the newsagents around All Saints. 80p.

In the afternoon we are spoilt for choice for galleries and museums, but we’re off to the Gallery of Costume at Platt Fields. It’s in an 18th century house and has undergone a recent £1 million refurbishment. It contains one of the most important costume collections in Britain, second only to the V&A in London. Over 20,000 fashion items from the 17th century to the present day, plus exhibitions-
free of charge: http://www.manchestergalleries.org/our-other-venues/platt-hall-gallery-of-costume/

Back on a bus into town- If you don’t have a season ticket then buy a Day Saver ticket. These can be complex as there are different fares depending on what combo of train, tram and/or bus you want, but worth the money (£4 to £7 for an adult). Or buy a Stagecoach Bus day ticket (about £3.50) if you are just hopping on and off buses only, as I suggest you do today. The free buses (Metroshuttles) in the city centre are also worth knowing about:

I'm often visiting charity shops to hunt some bargains. Suburbs with a good selection include Altrincham, Chorlton, Northenden and Sale. DVDs for £1.99+ and I am always finding good books for around £2.99+ (travel, fiction, whatever you are into). If you are lucky then clothing, footwear, jewellery or household goods can be sourced here too. So for £5 I’ve got a paperback and a DVD, which will make for two cheap evenings or more.

My evening meal and more (for two people for two evenings) can be sourced by going to a supermarket and hunting for reduced items or shop’s own brand labels. Being a veggie makes it cheaper too. Four baking potatoes for 35p, kidney beans 26p, olives 39p, three peppers for 56p, tomatoes at 41p, bananas 16p for a bunch of 10, tangerines- a bag for 26p, red pepper hummus reduced to 85p, bag of salad for 57p, a loaf of wholemeal bread for 49p. Wine £3.99. Plus sweetcorn, carrots, onion and courgettes. A total spend of about £9.

Popping into Aldi on the way back to check out their cheap fruit and vegetables, tortillas and dips, but only coming away this time with a lipstick from the Lacura range- I love the stylish silver casing and if you are lucky they will have the colour you want- I sometimes have to wait months for the colours I prefer, so, as with all bargain hunting, patience is a virtue. Coral is one of several I use, at £1.99.

A quick visit to the City Library and also the Tourist Info Centre, to pick up leaflets and see what is on for the next few weeks, and what is cheap or free. Many leaflets I make into cards and CD covers at a later date as they can have some funky designs on. Borrow a few books at the City library and a browse of the CD and DVD racks- all styles catered for.  See:
http://mancunianwave.blogspot.com/2011/09/lion-cherubs-library.html and http://mancunianwave.blogspot.com/2011/11/they-return-love-around-here-dont-they.html
It’s time for afternoon tea and mine’s a cafetiere of mint tea at Cornerhouse cafe where you can relax, people-watch and look down at the bustle on the streets below. £1.85. (see http://mancunianwave.blogspot.com/2012/01/happy-mondays-cornerhouse-cultural.html )

Home to put my feet up and read The Guardian and have a look at my new books. Then cooking up the ingredients- it’s my hardy perennial – a hearty bowl of chilli, with a side salad and some olives. Evening spent over two glasses of wine each, while watching the DVD bought earlier.

Total spend for the day £28.74

Friday, 20 January 2012

Skywatch Friday: Salt of the earth

British Salt
Limited on Cledford Lane, Middlewich, Cheshire, alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal. I like the coloured lights inside the hangar but am not sure if they have any purpose.
The salt mines of Cheshire produce much of the UK’s supply of table salt and gritting salt for the roads in winter.

See skies all over the world at Skywatch Friday: http://skyley.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 19 January 2012

7eventy 5ive Mosley Street

I have always liked the way the address of this building is spelled. The brain is quicker than the eye, if that makes sense?
I hope the students at the A2Z English Language School inside aren’t confused by the sign, although the school's spelling itself appears to have taken a lead in typography from number 7eventy 5ive.

You can apply for a visa to China here too but otherwise most of the offices are for companies in more mundane professions such as surveying and valuation. The six storey building was constructed in the mid 1960s for the Commercial Union Assurance company.
See a weekly compilation of all kinds of signs from blogs around the world at: http://signs2.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Aytoun family business...

The Manchester Metropolitan University Business School on Aytoun Street reflects The Hub Apartment block. http://www.thehubmanchester.co.uk/

As far as I can work out, Aytoun Street is named after Roger Aytoun. He was a Scot from Inchdarney in Fife, and a captain in the 72nd Regiment of Foot or Manchester Volunteers. The regiment was raised mostly through Roger Aytoun's efforts and money; it took part in the defence of Gibraltar in 1781–2. He squandered the estates he gained by marriage, which were sold in 1775.

From: 'Townships: Chorlton-upon-Medlock', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 251-254.  http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41411 

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Street Art: Carrot creature

Any monster brandishing what looks like a spotted carrot is probably more fun than fearful...
Quirky street art in the Northern Quarter.

Also entered at Weekly Top Shot: http://www.theviewfromrighthere.com/blog/?p=5870

Monday, 16 January 2012

Happy Mondays: Hardy January sunbather

Proving that they make 'em tough up north this young man sunbathes in the 5°C midday sunshine at North Bay, Salford Quays.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Dragon chasers...

Preparations begin for Chinese New Year. Each year there is a parade from Chinatown to Albert Square, led by a dragon, which is even more apt in 2012 as it will be the Year of the Dragon. This trail of unstrung paper lanterns reminded me of the dragon that will be dancing underneath them come late January.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Bull's Head Bus Stop...

Just before midday yesterday (Friday 13th...) a bus hit the Bull's Head pub at the junction of London Road and Granby Row in the city centre. I was passing just a few minutes after it happened. The bus driver was taken to hospital with back injuries but no other injuries were reported.

The pub's landlord Keith Wilan said the bus caused "a hell of a bang...almost like an explosion...All the pictures came off the wall and then the wall came flying in...It was lucky it wasn't five minutes later, because we had a party of 13 booked into that area."

The Bulls Head ("Your Local in the Heart of the City") probably dates from the first half of the 19th century, possibly the late 18th century.

Thanks to Geoff at North Shore Llandudno Daily Photo blog (http://llandudnopictures.wordpress.com/) for the re-tweet and the line from one of Manchester's finest bands- The Smiths "...and if a double decker bus, crashes into us..."

I was unsure about the ethics of taking a photo of an accident, especially while unclear of its severity. However, as the BBC and Manchester Confidential had no qualms in publishing photos online within an hour or two, I feel less concerned about doing so now too.

Skywatch Friday: Branching out

There can be beauty in death as this tree on the Trent and Mersey canal shows. I wonder how old it is and when it died, and what type of tree it was?

See more skies from around the world at Skywatch Friday: http://skyley.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Lost or lounging at Lounge 10

Lounge Ten is/was a stylish restaurant on Tib Lane but mysteriously closed last summer, supposedly for a refurbishment. Their website promised a refurbishment and a reopening by last November but that didn't happen. I need to take a wander to see what is happening for myself...This photo is of it at its prime last summer.

See a weekly compilation of all kinds of signs from blogs around the world at: http://signs2.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Shortest canal in England

The prize for the shortest canal in England goes to...the Wardle Canal, built in 1829 at Middlewich in Cheshire. At a mere 47 metres (154 ft) long and with one lock, it links the Shropshire Union canal (66 miles long) with the 97 mile long Trent and Mersey canal.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Red flag flying on frozen fairway

Early morning on the municipal golf course at Altrincham- always the best time to go for a walk here, to avoid any errant golf balls.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Happy Mondays: Cornerhouse cultural cornerstone

The Cornerhouse arts centre on a wet evening - it's the two buildings on the left and centre. It is controversially moving to new premises about five minutes walk away on First Street in a couple of years.

I need only turn to Wikipedia for a perfect description: Cornerhouse is located in the heart of Manchester’s cultural corridor on Oxford Road, housing three floors of contemporary art galleries, three screens showing the best of independent cinema, a bar, café and a bookshop. Since it opened in 1985, Cornerhouse has been at the forefront of Manchester’s vibrant cultural scene.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Paradise Found

I was startled and then delighted to see this face staring down at me as I passed the other day.

It's in Milton Hall on Deansgate which has undergone a refurbishment, with reproductions of classical paintings now adorning its walls and, indeed, ceilings. I'm assuming that this front entrance portrait is of poet John Milton who wrote Paradise Lost (from 1658), but I am by no means certain and still awaiting confirmation from the management company at Milton House (Adam Geoffreys), who do not answer my emails.

Milton Hall was also was the home of the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra (renamed the BBC Philharmonic in 1982) until the mid 1970s.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Short days, long shadows

After a week of 60 mile an hour gales and wind, and horizontal rain at times, it is reassuring to experience some bright and crisp winter days. Observing the long winter shadows was an idea I borrowed from Deb at Ginnels Gates & Ghosts-a daily photo from York, who I met  on New Year's Day and enjoyed some City Daily Photo banter with over a glass of bubbly:  http://yorkdailypicture.blogspot.com/2011/12/giant-shadows.html

Over in Seattle & the Pacific North West Madge's The View From Right Here blog runs a Weekly Top Shot meme at: http://www.theviewfromrighthere.com/blog/?p=5812

Friday, 6 January 2012

Skywatch Friday: Rainbow over Golf Road

Golf Road in Altrincham consists mostly of this short row of terraced houses, built in the late 19th century or possibly the first decade of the 20th century. These two bedroomed houses would originally have had an outside toilet but now have a small bathroom upstairs. One of the houses is currently up for sale at around £190,000.
Skies all over the world today at: http://skyley.blogspot.com/

Thanks for the comments everyone. Today £190,000 equals Australian $286,000, 230,000 Euros,  Canadian $301,000 or US$293,000.
It’s very hard for first time buyers but roughly speaking,  £190,000 would buy you a smallish 2 bedroom house in a desirable area of Manchester and the suburb, or a good apartment in the city centre. £250,000 would get you a 3 bedroom house in a nice area, but price raise rapidly. £120000 is probably the cheapest you could buy a small house or small flat in a half decent area (e.g. Hulme  or city centre). 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

North Star state of mind

The North Star Deli in Chorlton cum Hardy is a great place to buy quality and varied foods and food related items. It's also a good place to eat, chat and linger over a coffee amongst the squashy red vinyl bench-seats (not in photo).
North Star have now informed me that their " bench is pink leather rather than red vinyl - nearly blew our opening budget! ;-)"...

As someone who lived in Chorlton cum Hardy for 10 years (the "cum Hardy" seems to have sadly been dropped these days?) I can confirm that Chorlton is not only a place but also a state of mind, and this is a typically Chorltonite place, full of academics, artists, students, mums and babies.

North Star also opened a branch in the city centre's Northern Quarter last month.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Molly House

The Molly House is a bar tucked away on Richmond Street that has bucked the trend and celebrates a successful first 13 months of business today. Set in an Edwardian warehouse its appeal is that it's cosy with a traditional feel; oak casks and benches yet with a 21st century twist. A good range of teas and food are on offer as well as alcoholic drinks. Even better is that it provides a place quiet enough to chat, with the music being background rather than at full volume like many places.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Ladies who lunch

Ladies lunching on the first floor at the plush Room restaurant on King Street. This was previously the Reform Club building, built in 1871 for males in the Liberal Party.

The three-storey Venetian gothic building was designed by Edward Salomans and is constructed of sandstone with elaborate corner turrets, oriel windows and balconies. (An oriel window is a gothic style bay window that protrudes but does not reach the ground).

I will post a view of the whole building another time.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Broken Cross copse

A Happy New Year to you- I hope it is all you wish it to be!
We start Mancunian Wave's 2012 with a misty copse at Broken Cross on the Trent and Mersey canal in Cheshire.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Theme Day: Photo of the Year

Being the first of the month, as well as the year, it's City Daily Photo theme day, which for 1st January is always a blog's "photo of the year".  Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

I find it hard to choose just one photo, so have gone for a postcard of these five, which give a fair representation of much of what drives me to blog about: Greater Manchester’s heritage, nature, architecture, radicalism and healthy living. A link to each one is below:
October: Weekend Reflections: Mendel's moving mirror

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