Saturday, 30 March 2013

Observatory bar at the airport

Easter is one of the busiest weekends of the year at Manchester Airport's Terminal 2, but the Observatory Bar looks quiet for now...

Friday, 29 March 2013

Bollington Greenbank, a good walk on Good Friday

There are plenty of good walks for Good Friday or any other Friday in lovely Bollington.

Four fine and looking solid houses on Greenbank Lane in Bollington, Cheshire. The buildings in this part of the world are made of the warm honey-coloured stone I associate with Yorkshire towns such as Hebden Bridge and Halifax and a  contrast to the more familiar red brick of much of Manchester and its surroundings.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Hulme Hall 1870

Hulme Hall is owned by the University of Manchester and located on a pleasant nine-acre site, just ten minutes walk from the centre of the University of Manchester. It is also the oldest hall of residence with the original Hall built in 1870. The Old Rectory is especially interesting, with its oak(?) beams and wooden side panels, oil paintings and faded portrait photographs of previous great and good people who have played a senior role there.

- I was there for a Research Council meeting recently.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Chancery Place revisited

A follow up to my post way back in May 2011 of this Chancery Place office block. 
This is part of the ground floor reception area, complete wih sleek black tiling, lush mustard coloured sofas and an abundance of flora. Some offices are still yet to be leased.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Hanging around for Antony Gormley...then 3 come at once

It's been 4 years now since Antony Gormley's 2002 sculpture Filter became a permanent exhibit in ManchesterGormley says “The work hangs in space as if in orbit, open to light and the elements, it is a meditation on the relationship between the core of the body and space at large”.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Monday Murals: Out of this World on Stevenson Square (II)

The other side to the sci-fi cyber-ape mural is this stampeding elephant on a fiery alien terrain, heading this way and seemingly at a speed faster than is safe for a city centre... Something to talk about for my fellow bloggers at Monday Murals.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Architecture is looking up!

City centre architectural gems are ever there in the air for those who stare... upwards...
Can any locals identify where this is?

King St

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Homage to London?

It's easy to spot the four London references in this photo (five if you include the photographer-me, as it's where I hail from). But the photo was taken in Manchester, honestly...

Friday, 22 March 2013

Holly in her moorings

Today's photo of a barge or rather a narrow boat (owners can get quite touchy about how they are described) on the Trent and Mersey Canal plays a dual purpose- the second being to wish Holly a Happy 17th Birthday.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Swinton Grove Park; bright on the dullest of days

Swinton Grove Park is a city-park in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester. The Friends of Swinton Grove Park are a group of local residents who are working as volunteers to improve the park for everyone.

They explain:
"In 1900 Julia Gaskell and Meta Gaskell assisted in securing Plymouth Grove Green (what we know today as Swinton Grove Park) and had the satisfaction of seeing the land converted into one of the nicest little greens in Manchester.
Consisting mainly of grassy areas used as a playground for children with borders of trees, shrubs, and flowerbeds, the park also had one corner used for bowling, flanked by a flower garden. Here elderly patrons and shop keepers who found business slack in the afternoon would take turn at the woods (bowls) or sit in the sun and look on with approving eye at the skill of others. In the mornings and afternoons the playground was a chosen exercise ground and promenade for nurse and their charges. "

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

ABC Wednesday: "J" is for sitting pretty on Jackson's Row

What sights there are to behold in a city if you remember to look up. Here above the Old Nag's Head pub sits a thoughtful lady, contemplating the world passing her by below on Jackson's Row. Linked to ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Snow on the hilltops

A walk on Sunday near Marple saw lingering evidence of this overlong winter, in the form of the snow capped peaks all around.  

Taking part in Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Monday Murals: Print & Paste Sun arise

The sun is rising and smiling on the factory rooftops, with March's bold and clever Print & Paste billboard. This is Manchester Sunrise 2013 by Michael Place from Build.

Every month a new artist is invited to exhibit work on a large 16-sheet board traditionally used by advertisers. It's then printed and pasted up in Chester Street. 

Linking to other great Monday Murals from all over the place!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

City Daily Photo mid-month theme, Festival of the Equinox

City Daily Photo has a mid-month theme: Festival of the Equinox.

For many of us the working week puts pay to much outdoor living until the weekends. The closest commuters can get to nature might be walking through the park on the way to catch a train, tram or bus. It's been a long, colder than normal winter in the north-west but signs for me that spring is ever nearer are the longer daylight hours (the sun was rising when I took this photo in Stamford Park on Wednesday at about 7 a.m.). Also some splashes of floral colours makes me feel happy about the impending change of season. 

The many leafless, mostly bud-less trees still a have a long way to go though but walking back through this park on Friday evening with it still light at well after 6 p.m. I felt a buzz of equinoxal excitement. The trippy Flunk track I was listening to (Skysong) helped as it always reminds me of spring and warmer days ahead too.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Skywatch: Somewhere over the rainbow

On the Trent & Mersey canal near Acton Bridge. No words are really necessary. 
Click to see this week's other Skywatch posts.

Friday, 15 March 2013

At sixes and sevens with all in ones

From time to time I like to cover fashion ideas here on the blog and perhaps the most discussed fashion item among all generations in the past year has been the ubiquitous all in ones, or onesies as the tabloid press like to call them. 

Interestingly they are not a women-only item- famous men from One Direction (All in one Direction?) Nick Clegg, to Brad Pitt have fessed up to owning a pair. (What is the collective term for a single onesie?!)

I think I have run through a full range of emotions about the one-piece. From initial suspicion and dislike through acceptance to now embracing the idea, both as an item to lounge around in at home, and, if you have the right figure and face, as a stylish spring wear item. Yes, I can see the appeal in wearing certain versions of them outdoors, well for city life anyway, to galleries, bars and restaurants. But the plain version works outdoors better than the multi-coloured romper suits which are surely best suited for Friday night family telly on the sofa only?

The all in one seemed to be the gift that everyone got last Christmas. Checking Facebook over the festive season I was astonished to see many middle aged friends luxuriating in their all in ones, beaming at the camera and looking rather cosy. His and her versions and child sizes were equally popular. Although we are now heading into spring, the chilly nights and dawns will still be with us for many a long month. So there is much to be said for coming home from work and changing into clothing that’s warm and snug, a kind of comfort clothing to go with comfort eating. Fluffy dressing gowns are nice but can be draughty and tracksuit bottoms outside of the gym are not really my thing.-unless I am feeling ill and crashed out.

So there is something to be said for all season all in ones. At first I thought they were strictly for indoors and many of them are aimed at that market. Looking around the High Street, they are still very much en vogue, and New Look's range of all in ones are as enticing and as competitively priced as any I have seen so far.

Keeping the impetus going, some all in ones have a seasonal theme- if you have the right sense of humour then wearing a bright yellow chick outfit for Easter could go down well. I have seen cute baby pink piglet all in ones and many Dalmatians and zebras. If I were to choose an indoor one myself I’d go for the City Print (see New Look link above).

As to my wearing one outdoors, I would like to have the courage to-they remind me of the jumpsuits popularised in the 1970s, and of course some people such as Cheryl Cole can carry them off well, like the animal print version she wore to visit the Eiffel Tower. All-black would be the only version you’d get me wearing outside though, so I’m off to see what I can find…

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Rurality blog hop: Wooden Monk

This impressively sculptured hooded wooden monk guarding Chadkirk Chapel on the edge of Kirk Woods is my contribution to this week's Rurality Blog Hop #6.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

ABC Wednesday: "I" is for intoxicating, incandescent

...and also for "I have become comfortably numb", the last track of a 2½ hour set played at the Manchester Arena by the Australian Pink Floyd which I was mesmerised by on the last day of February. Part of the 40th anniversary tour of Dark Side of The Moon, as well as that album in its entirety the set also featured Echoes, One of these days, Wish you were here, Shine on you crazy diamond, High hopes, The division bell, Another brick in the wall and Run like hell. Australian Pink Floyd will be performing at Live From Jodrell Bank  in Cheshire on Saturday 6th July.

Linking with all the  other "I" posts today at ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Ruby Tuesday, Black swan #citydailyphoto

I don't recall seeing a black swan in Britain before but imagine I must have. I always associate these beautiful creatures with Perth in Australia. This one was a long way from home at Marbury Mere in the parish with the wonderful name of Marbury cum Quoisley. Taking part in Ruby Tuesday.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Monday Mural: Out of this world on Stevenson Square

A science-fiction landscape and a cyber ape with antlers is the result of a very vivid imagination on Stevenson Square's current series of murals, which are due to change shortly. Linked to Monday Murals.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Ena Sharples & George Best's meat-free Monday @thelassogowrie

Where else would Coronation Street's Ena Sharples and footballing legend George Best be supping a bottle of stout (or something stronger), than a Manchester pub? The 2012 UK Pub of the Year (and 2012 Best Live Music and Entertainment Pub) the Lass O'Gowrie on Charles Street stages a play on Irish-Mancunian George Best this week (12-18 March). It's part of Europe's largest Irish festival which is currently on in Manchester 8-18 March.

Sounds good, I think I'll take advantage of the Lass O'Gowrie wonderful Meat-Free Monday vegan food while I am there...

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Weekend Reflections: Canals' Junction

This is Marple Marina, where the 15 mile long Peak Forest Canal (ahead) joins the Macclesfield Canal (26 miles long) to the right. From Manchester's eastern suburbs of Ashton-under Lyne the Peak Forest Canal heads off into the stunningly beautiful Peak District, culminating at Bugsworth Basin. You can have a virtual photogaphic journey along it here. 

Click to see the other Weekend Reflections from around the world.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Celebrate International Women's Day #IWD #citydailyphoto

There's lots going on as ever in Manchester to mark this annual auspicious occasion and the 4 McrWomen blog offers a good summary

There are plenty of activities marking Wonder Women: Radical Manchester; there are also a few places left on the Red Flag Walks' "Votes for Women" history walk this Sunday.  

Bernadette Hyland has posted an excellent article on International Women's Day and inspiring women on her blog LipstickSocialist. The Working Class Movement Library has an International Women's Day event on Saturday 9 March at 2 pm with novelist Livi Michael and community activist Ruth Eversley.

Meanwhile, on my radio blog today I'm looking back in time to a group of women who were BBC World Service newsreaders and presenters in the 1970s  - something considered almost controversial at the time. At least things have moved on from that, and the new BBC World Service programme What if... Women Ruled the World? will be worth a listen..

Thursday, 7 March 2013

All booked up at All Saints #worldbookday

Book stall at All Saints on Tuesday.

I'm always happy to mention World Book Day which, although its main purpose is to encourage children to dip into the wonderful world of literature, can apply to all ages.

Recently I've read Garrison Keillor's Pilgrims and Kerrie Wood Thomson's Diary of A Public Radio Slave. Books I'm part-way through are are the first Ivy Malone mystery by Lorena McCourtney, John Osbourne's Radio Head, Caitlan Moran's How to be a woman, something by Poland's great and late Stanislaw Lem, oh, and I have finally almost finished Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. I'm also investigating some Frasier fan fiction. Have you read any good books lately?... 

While on the subject why not read my latest guest post for 4 Manchester Women, Lava, lunar landscapes and Cesar Manrique- that’s Lanzarote.

World Book Day was "designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe. The origins of the day we now celebrate in the UK and Ireland come from Catalonia, where roses and books were given as gifts to loved ones on St George's Day – a tradition started over 90 years ago."

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Manchester apartments are The Hub of city life

For the past few years I have watched with interest as The Hub apartment block (see photo below) has been constructed. Its location is, as you would guess by the name, right at the hub -and the heart - of the city. Locals cannot have failed to notice its prime location at the corner of Aytoun and Whitworth Streets.

There are studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments for sale starting at prices of £145,000 and the good news is that shared equity schemes are also available. The interiors are modern and just what you would expect from city centre living- clean lines, good specification kitchen and bathrooms, and if you choose, an enticing blank canvas to stamp your individuality on. Once you have moved in will you go for an upcycling or designer look? Will it be splashes of modern art or artistic black and white photography that adorn your walls? Will you serve cupcakes, cocktails or curry to friends as you gather to watch night fall over the city below, tuned to the eclectic range of local radio stations such as ALL FM, Gaydio and NMFM?

As you can see from the photo above, the views are magnificent too looking out at the wonderful towers and domes of the former UMIST buildings, including its observatory, and along the grandeur of the Whitworth Street corridor. Late Victorian architectural gems vie with sleek modern lines such as those of the Manchester Met Business school. It’d be a cool and inspiring view to wake up to each morning.

I also like the way the building curves around at the front. Piccadilly Plaza is just next door with access to the diverse events that go on there from time to time. See my previous Mancunian Wave posts on an Indian festival and an urban art exhibition.

It’s no more than a 3 minute stroll to Piccadilly train and tram station, and at the crossroads to some of the best of the café society and night life. A short walk from the boho delights of the Northern Quarter in one direction and the Gay Village and Chinatown a couple of blocks away. If mainstream Manchester is more your thing then Piccadilly Gardens and the High Street brands of shops and restaurants are also close enough for you to carry home as much as you can carry. You wouldn’t need a car if you lived here, with all the amenities and public transport network to hand.

I must admit that I am tempted to investigate further- my own city crash pad is nearby and sadly looking more than a little jaded in comparison to the slick lines and luxury of The Hub. Watch this space! 

Mancunian Wave is linking as ever today to ABC Wednesday where we have reached the letter "H"... and in doing so I've pointed out how Manchester apartments are The Hub of city life ... The Hub.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

City Art Gallery is Shaw spring-like #citydailyphoto

The red crane in St Peter's Square gives me a chance to link today, if somewhat tenuously, to the Ruby Tuesday blog.

The fabulous foliage all along the City Art Gallery railings, although looking very spring-like (a good sign in itself!) is actually for the Raqib Shaw exhibition. 

"Enter the gallery doors past a magical series of willow and spring flower installations to discover the dark, unsettling world of Raqib Shaw’s art. Beneath the seductive surface of his jewel-encrusted works, you’ll find a disturbing land inhabited by terrifying monkey warriors and other mythical beasts. Exclusive to Manchester and Prague, this new exhibition comprises recent paintings, sculptures and works on paper".

With thanks to Rachel for pointing out the foliage!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Monday mural, Monday mooral #citydailyphoto

Fibre glass cows toured in their dozens around the world in 1998. They came to Manchester eight summers ago. The Cow Parade has visited all continents, taking in Sydney, Zurich, Chicago, Johannesburg, Bucharest, Arnhem, Taipei, Leon, Curitiba (the world's greenest / most sustainable city), Lima and dozens more. 

A few bovine beauties enjoyed their trip to Manchester so much that they stayed, and a handful can be found grazing or lazing around the city. This one is taking it easy near St George's Island. Linked to Monday Murals at the Oakland Daily Photo blog.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Fairtrade fortnight @EighthDayVeg, Divine choccie!

It's halfway through Freetrade fortnight, although I am sure most readers already support and buy Freetrade produce all year round wherever they can. The ever ethical, ever wonderful On The 8th Day have had generous samples of Divine chocolate to try during this past week . The raspberry one (second left) was new to me and especially zingy. On The 8th Day is closed on Sundays so pop in tomorrow to try (and buy!) other Freetrade samples and maybe have lunch in the cafe too?

Taking part in Weekly Top Shot #72.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Weekend Reflections: The sun has fallen into the village pond

Early morning at George VI Pool in Altrincham.

The photo reminded me of some lyrics I wrote many a decade ago:

"There's a hole in the sky
The sun has fallen into the village pond.
There's a change on the cards
Today won't stay silent for very long

A collection of voices, across the airwaves
All suggesting how this space behaves

You’re wearing your voice inside out, your clothes are loud,
But must they shout?
Who’ll be the next to tell me what it’s all about?

I’ve got a book full of lies to end each song
But when I turn to the back, the answer’s gone.
To blame it on insanity’s insane
Don’t look at me because we’re all to blame..."

It came about through a combination of the Chicken Licken children's tale, the green movement's campaigning to do something about the hole in the ozone layer, and the usual youthful angst of feeling trapped and unloved. 

We recorded the song with the title of The Troubled Dreamer. The London band I was in at the time were called Ochre Oasis. The famous Mancunian band with the shorter name of Oasis were still in short trousers way back then...

Taking part with other Weekend Reflections from around the world.

Friday, 1 March 2013

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Café Chairs

The City Daily Photo Theme Day for March is Café Chairs. These examples at new coffee bar Pao Pao Cafe do Brasil (by the Mancunian Way) are certainly more artisan than elegant, but I like 'em. They will do a good job on sunny days such as those we've been experiencing this week.

"Pao Pao" is Brazilian for "daily dose". "The literal translation is 'bread bread', but just as bread is a staple food for survival and has been for thousands of years, at Pao Pao we believe that our great coffee is just as important as nourishment."

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