Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Time on my hands: Fossil watches at John Lewis

The Piccadilly station clock signals 5 minutes before rush-hour...

I’ve been on the hunt for a new watch. It’s hard to always read the time on my once trendy, but now slightly scratched, Storm watch with a blue face which has done the job for some considerable time. 

Looking around shops and online made me think of the many watches I have had over the years. In fact it led me to waste time, a happy hour reminiscing on all those watches which had adorned my left wrist over the decades. 

I want something stylish and practical which is easy on the eye and also easy to tell the time at a glance. A watch that is elegant enough to see me through meetings I have around college and the north-west in general but which will also inform me of the Cinderella hour when I am living it up at a gig or bar in the Northern Quarter. 

I searched in department stores and on Deansgate, in the jewellry shops of King Street and even ventured into the Arndale Centre, but all to no avail. Exasperated, over a coffee in North Tea Power a friend mentioned that John Lewis sell watches. I’d forgotten about John Lewis- as it’s not in the city centre but out in the furthest of Manchester’s southern suburbs in Cheadle Hulme. 

So on an afternoon when the hail in Hale stopped my sowing of seeds in the vegetable patch, I went shopping instead. I ended up finding some timepieces I liked and have narrowed it down to two of the fossil watches at John Lewis. There were 17 in the ladies' range and I don’t know whether to go for the Georgia Glitz or possibly the Stella Glitz. (I sense a slightly worrying bling pattern in my taste here…) The men’s range looked quite varied too, so that might solve a birthday present problem I have looming later in the year. 

So it looks like a watch with a “glitz” in the title may soon be joining a select band of time pieces that I have owned. I fondly remember the orange face of my very first watch as a teenager and the fact that it supposedly could be worn underwater. I never did put that to the test. I then succumbed to the 1980s digital watch craze, with a couple of watches which I am sure were en vogue at the time. 

But my strongest memory of purchasing a watch came in Malaysia in the 1990s. Having walked to the top of a hill on Penang in humid conditions, we came across a local lad with a tray full of watches. His sales pitch won me over: “Genuine imitation watches” he cried. Top marks for honesty, kind of. It was the only time I've ever bought a genuine imitation watch; I fell for the novelty value of its Chinese numerals and it lasted me for years.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Monday Mural: Kelzo's train of thought

Walking through Stevenson Square last Thursday evening I was pleased to see the street art being updated. Even better was that I saw world-renowned veteran artist Kelzo at work, box of aerosols on the ground (follow the white arrow!) with the man himself creating this train bursting through a barber shop's shutters. More Monday Murals.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Live Below the Line for Oxfam

My large bowl of tagliatelle with red onion, leeks, avocado, walnuts and spinach.

Oxfam in the North contacted me to help spread the word on a new Oxfam campaign called Live Below the Line. It challenges people to live below the extreme poverty line, on less than £1 a day, for 5 days from 29 April to 3 May. 

More than 1.4 billion people worldwide, over 20 times the population of the UK, live in extreme poverty. Live Below the Line will raise awareness of the daily challenges faced by people living in poverty, push forward the campaign for change and raise money for Oxfam’s life changing work. 

The registration link for anyone that wishes to get involved. Personally I don't see this as much of a challenge in the UK- 50p a day would be but a £1 is easy. But I imagine a lot of people buy more expensive food than me and buy lunch at work rather than making their own etc.

As a part-time vegan and full-time vegetarian I do eat as cheaply and ethically as possible, in the main. Enough tasty and nutritional food for 5 days for £5 is actually easily achievable for everyone in the UK without having to think too hard, as follows: 
Breakfasts of muesli and apple juice.

Three lunches of home baked bread with houmous, sunflower seeds and salad. Two lunches of home made soup and home baked rolls. Fruit.

Main course, three nights of tagliatelle with red onion, leeks, avocado, walnuts and spinach. Two nights of a vegetable chilli (onion plus whatever vegetables are on offer, tin of kidney beans, green and red lentils).
Tap water to drink, plus coffee, tea, tomato and orange juice.


Saturday, 27 April 2013

Weekend Reflections: Blossom in the park

A walk to Stamford Park where the puddles can get you down. Or you can go wildly splashing through them as if you are 5 years old once more. Or then again you can also see them as a photo opportunity for an entry to Weekend Reflections.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Skywatch Friday: Railway rainbow

Thursday of last week at about 6 p.m there was a downpour followed by brilliant sunshine; and what was actually a double rainbow going up and over the railway viaduct that snakes (a little) and cuts through Manchester's city centre. 

This week's other Skywatch Friday posts.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Whatcroft Hall

From yesterday's inner-city high-rise overcrowding we move 25 miles south to a more palatial abode. The dome of Georgian Whatcroft Hall (built 1780 for James Topping)  near Davenham in Cheshire dominates in the distance, while a nesting swan chases a Canadian goose from its territory. 

Taking part in Rurality Blog Hop #12

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

ABC Wednesday: "O" is for Out in the morning

"O" is for this week's ABC Wednesday .

It's nice to be out in the morning was performed by Mancunian beat band Herman's Hermits in the late 1960s. It mentions some Manchester suburbs that had then seen better days, so I thought this 1960s tower block was a good photo to accompany the song.

"It's nice to be out in the morning when you've got somewhere to go, but seeing the same old places that can make you feel so low.

Besses o' the Barn where the brass bands blow, home of the heights where the chimneys grow. Boggart Hall Clough with its concrete flowers, it's not the Taj Mahal but it's ours.

But the town is people more than things. It's the mums and dads and kids and love that give it life.

United's ground where the champions score, a hundred goals to the reds stand's roar. And Bobby Charlton, Best and Law. It's a most fantastic day when they play.

It's nice to be out in the morning when you've got somewhere to go, but seeing the same old places that can make you feel so low.

Ardwick Green where the grass is grey, Beswick, Hulme and Harpurhey. Whalley Range where the tomcats roam; they're not the sights of Rome but it's home..."

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Black Prince holidays & Prince's Trust T-Shirts

Every time I walk past this Black Prince Holidays sign at Bridge 208 on the Trent and Mersey Canal I am catapulted back in time to the nostalgia of the Enid Blyton Famous Five books- there's something about the imagery of the sign and what it offers that reminds me of picnics, ginger beer and jolly childhood japes... Five Go Mad in Cheshire perhaps?

City Daily Photo are today marking St George's Day. I would rather England's national day be marked by someone else-an English person or someone who actually set foot on this isle would be a start. Ideally someone who did some good or is revered.  Shakespeare might be a popular replacement, it's his birthday and death day today and another national public holiday wouldn't go amiss. Anyway, I think this photo is as vintage English as it gets. 

Onto other matters and another Prince. Not so much a black prince as the Prince's Trust charity which is fundraising in Manchester today.
Shaanti (below) are a collective made up of students from the University of Manchester, competing in a nationwide challenge to raise as much money as possible in 24 hours for The Prince’s Trust charity. All profits will support disadvantaged young people. T shirts with designs inspired by India are for sale exclusively for 24 hours today, 23rd April, through http://shaantimcr.bigcartel.com  and around Manchester University.

All 300 t-shirts have been kindly provided by Next, whilst the designs have been created by the comedian Doc Brown and designers Sophie Cull-Candy and Bethan Buss.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Monday Mural, an Oakland CA mural in Manchester UK...

I only noticed this mural along the side of The Cornerhouse Cinema  last week.  I was not sure who it was of, who it was by or whether I liked it...

I  have since read that Trust Your Struggle had been invited to paint it with the intention of "reflecting on the unchanged situation of the black community in Oakland, California, which has suffered extreme police brutality since it was first highlighted by Newton and Seale in 1966. The project also attempts to regard the potential neglect of working class ethnic communities within Britain, and the dangers of neglecting a more evenly balanced and socially inclusive approach to rebuilding Britain in the current economic climate."

It seems more appropriate than ever then, to link today with Monday Murals which is hosted in Oakland.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Weekend Reflections: Squaring off the old...

Current day banks and offices dwarf their 19th century counterparts (which are often more characterful in my view) in the city's financial district. Bur the modern glass does make for some reflection opportunities, enabling me to take part in Weekend Reflections.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Clampdown: Record Store Day @RSDUK

As you can see, Clampdown Records on Paton Street sell secondhand vinyl and CDs. I had assumed that the shop must have been here since the swinging sixties, but it actually opened in 1991. The shabbiness lends a certain charm to the place. It's Record Store Day 
Go and support your local independent record stores!

"It came into being in 2007 when over 700 independent stores in the USA came together to celebrate their unique culture. The UK followed suit and 2013 will see the sixth celebration of the UK's unique independent sector... All of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music... Festivities include performances, meet & greets with artists, DJs, in store quizzes and many other events."

It reminds me that I must get Clampdown and other record shops in the city centre to check our old vinyl collection and offer a price. It seems there is a market for 1990's indie shoe-gazing bands and even the progressive rock scene of the 1970 and 1980s, which are the start and end dates and genres of most of my vinyl collection.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Spring suburban sunrise

The sun had risen over the chimney stacks by the time I walked through suburbia the other morning. Pinks and blues, an orange globe, buds on trees and dreams of hope... More Skywatch Friday posts.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Horse view as hedgerow grows...#citydailyphoto

A spring day by the Macclesfield Canal and all's right with the world... A happy day in north-west England... Linking with  Rurality Blog Hop #11 from Seattle.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

ABC Wednesday: "N" is for new owners @thebiglockpub

Taking part in today's ABC Wednesday where we reach "N" for new management. The Big Lock Pub and Restaurant is in Middlewich and underwent a change of management earlier this year. The upper deck looked rather inviting as I passed by on a sunny walk last Saturday. A cup of coffee or something stronger, with views looking down on the canal as its banks and inhabitants finally burst into spring life- it was all rather idyllic. 

Ken and Jackie Pickles took over the pub in January, and hopefully the sunny days to come will see locals, boaters and walkers all enjoying the views and the beverages. Follow latest developments on Twitter @thebiglockpub.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Manchester's Starflyer

A new attraction in Piccadilly Gardens is the Manchester Starflyer. This ride takes the brave (some might say foolhardy?) 70 metres into the air and then swirls them about for a bit, 24 people at a time. I like the sky blue and sky white colours of the ride but the closest I will get to it is from down here on the ground...
Taking part in Our World Tuesday.

Today's post is to wish Tim a Happy Birthday ;-) 

Monday, 15 April 2013

Monday Murals: The Font of some knowledge... @TheFontMCR

Monday Murals takes us today to The Font bar on New Wakefield Street. They serve a decent selection of cheap and cheerful cocktails from just £2 and a wide range of German wheat beers, plus many more, and food too. There are DJs most nights of the week. It's a good atmosphere whether it's sparse and quiet enough to hold a conversation or in its  livelier late night moments.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Three into one don't go...

I've a composition of three conflicting icons for you today:- Royalty (photo of the Duchess of Kent); Communism (the hammer and sickle); and religion (a stone cross).

So why the hammer and sickle and where on earth is this place I hear you ask. All is revealed in my latest guest post for 4 Manchester Women

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Weekend Reflections: bright blue customised car

I have no idea what model this blue car started life as but it seems to have been modified, and that was before I flipped it so that the reflection is on top... A surprising sight on a canal walk. More Weekend Reflections.

My latest guest post for Smitten By Britain is up, Visiting Poetic Tintern Abbey.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Skywatch Friday: Dusk over Deansgate

A snap shot from the tram the other evening, between Deansgate and Cornbrook, looking through the driver's window. Click to see this week's other Skywatch posts.

On Twitter, our western USA Road Trip ;-] 
Follow  and / or @chrissycurlz

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Rurality Blog hop Thursday, bare trees

Still waiting for spring to burst and leaves to grow, but the temperatures are finally rising- this was last weekend in Styal Woods, on the banks of the Bollin. Linking with Rurality Blog Hop from Seattle.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

"M" is for Manchester means the world to me

Manchester means the world to me proclaim the billboards protecting the world from the ongoing work at the Central Reference Library. It makes for a good "M" for today's ABC Wednesday  and also seems an appropriate photo to mark the 2 year anniversary today of my Mancunian Wave blog. 

Thanks to all readers and followers for your support and encouragement over the past two years. Here's to Year 3...

My posts for 10 April 2011 and 10 April 2012 seem a long time ago!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Beautiful building, take a bow Bow Lane

What wonderful windows on this Bow Lane building and some characterful stone faces as well. Manchester has many ever so slightly hidden surprises like this. I sure there are plenty of other surprises awaiting you around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Monday Murals. Muso Mancs in mosaic & meat is murder

A selection of Mancunians and well known faces associated with Manchester are marked in Mark Kennedy's mosaics at Afflecks. The left panel includes Morrisey, Mark E Smith (The Fall), Badly Drawn Boy, Ian Brown (Stone Roses) and Liam Gallagher.

The middle panel celebrates Manchester's pioneering in three political movements close to my heart: Vegetarianism (the Smith's Meat is Murder album cover), the Suffragette movement Emmeline Pankhurst ("Trust in God- she will provide"), and finishes off with another movement started in Manchester, communism, featuring Engels and Marx.

Quentin Crisp is also there presumably for his work on gay rights and for the fact that he spent his final hours in Manchester. The third panel with Herman Munster and various animals is something I confess I do not understand.

Linked to Monday Murals  which is hosted at the Oakland California Daily Photo blog.

On Twitter, our western USA Road Trip ;-] 
Follow  and / or @chrissycurlz

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Lost in Manchester by Matt Wilde

On display and for sale at the Artzu Gallery is this painting called Lost by artist Matt Wilde. It's of the Portland Street/Oxford Street junction looking towards St. Peter's Square. I really like the spring feel and the vibrant buzz of the city that it seems to generate.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Weekend Reflections: Be it behind or below, spring is in the air

Reflections, looking into an office window down below Deansgate tram station- where spring is in the air on a warm afternoon. One of many of this week's Weekend Reflections.

Yesterday's photo was the Detroit Bridge over the Huron and Erie Basins at Salford Quays.

Starting soon on Twitter, our western USA Road Trip ;-] 
Follow  and or @chrissycurlz

Friday, 5 April 2013

Red white and blue- where am I?

Any guesses as to what and where this is? Answers tomorrow... 
To get you in a mellow mood for the weekend why not click around the world viewing some of today's other Skywatch Friday posts.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Next door & the score's a draw...

An example of suburban symmetry. This game of "keeping up with the Joneses" looks like resulting in a dead heat... It's not a sensible game to play anyway, I've always preferred to plough my own furrow. Consume less and find a zen place for yourself instead.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

ABC Wednesday: "L" is for limousine lights

We have a guest photographer today - Holly, who with her peers attended their Year 11 prom last summer courtesy of a white stretch limousine. Along with the expected photos of the glamorous young ladies and car came this striking image of the lighting inside of the limo.

Linking to ABC Wednesday .

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

City of chimney stacks

Once upon a time, not that long ago really in eon terms- (until the 1950s?) Manchester was awash with stacks from factories and mills. The smoke and pollution they caused would have made a clear view like this impossible.  The main chimney here is part of the electricity sub-station on Bloom Street, though it looks to me more like a 19th century factory of some kind? The white chimneys in the distance, top right, are of the Royal Scots Brewery.

Monday, 1 April 2013

City Daily Photo theme day: Pedestrians Crossing

It is the coldest Easter in the UK since 1910, so the last blasts of winter continue and we still can't banish those bobble hats to the back of the cupboard. For the City Daily Photo theme day this month- Pedestrians Crossing, I snapped a busy scene commuters flocked to Piccadilly train station to head home for the weekend.

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