Saturday, 31 May 2014

Weekend Reflections. Browns

Browns bar in Manchester city centre is elegant enough inside and out, and its neighbours are equally imposing- they form my last May contribution to Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Happy hammock time

Down by Castlefield it may be time for a mid-spring, mid-afternoon nap....

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

ABC Wednesday: "T" is for two tame deer - too tame, dear?

Time for "T" at ABC WednesdayThe deer at Dunham Massey are so tame. At the moment some areas are fenced off for the imminent birth of foals. Many of the other deer still seem so young and Bambi-like. You can wander right up to them in the expansive grounds and they seem unperturbed. Their antlers are slowly taking shape- one of them, not in these photos, is rather grey in markings and reminds me of another "T"- not Mr T but Mr Tumnus from Narnia. I will try and track him down for a photo shoot another time....

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Lunch with Bert...

Lunch on the steps of the Albert Memorial on Albert Square. This is named after Queen Victoria's first cousin and husband Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel of Saxe-Coburg, who died at the age of 42 in 1861. 

Manchester's Albert Memorial, completed in 1865, was the first of several Albert Memorials around the UK and is similar to the one in London, which was completed seven years after this Mancunian monument.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Monday Mural: Return to trash of the Titans

A few weeks ago I posted the old Trash of the Titans' mural which was on this wall. It now features this eclectic bunch of aliens. sheep, birds and assorted hipsters. I always seem to pass by at the end of the day when the rubbish is awaiting collection! That's urban life for you. Taking part in Monday Mural.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

St Ann's Square Markets this week

There is an arts and craft festival of markets in St. Ann's Square from 22 May until 8 June. Along with crafts stalls there's a good range of food and drink- plus some lovely little spaces to chill in, such as in today's photo.

There are some specialist days too. This weekend has a vintage fashion market, and Monday 26 May features upcycled  furniture and accessories- raising funds for the homeless charity Emmaus. Among other not to be missed days are the vinyl record fair on 4 June, and independent book fair on 7 and 8 June.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Weekend Reflections: Green ginger

My Weekend Reflections entry looks into the fabric shop Greenginger and reflects Altrincham's market hall.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Skywatch Friday: scudding skies

An evening view of the north sky last week. Start your weekend by enjoying this week's other Skywatch posts.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

European and local Elections today #VoteGreen

The Green Party of England and Wales promotes the policies of ecological sustainability, a fairer more stable economy and a more equal society. We believe in a higher standard of democracy and the accountability of politicians to the communities they serve. We believe in social justice on a global level as well as in our own country.
A vote for the Green Party means standing up for the rights and welfare of the many – not just the privileged few. You can place your trust in Green politicians.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

ABC Wednesday: "S" is for Simple Thai Style Stir Fry #NVW2014

ABC Wednesday reaches the letter "S" and so, as it's National Vegetarian Week I'm delighted to present a second simple, succulent and stunning recipe from The Vegetarian Society (who kindly emailed me the recipe and photo for use on Mancunian Wave).

Simple Thai Style Stir Fry

Serves 4
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes
Can be vegan

350g Quorn pieces or marinated tofu pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil
500g bag of mixed ready-prepared stir fry vegetables
400ml coconut milk
1 tsp nori flakes
1 lime, juice and zest
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Thai 7-spice mix
250g ready to wok noodles
Salt and pepper, to taste
A small bunch fresh coriander, chopped

1 Gently fry the Quorn or tofu in the oil for five minutes, then add the bag of vegetables.

2 Continue to cook for two minutes.

3 Add the coconut milk, nori flakes, lime juice, soya sauce, sugar and Thai 7-spice mix. Reserve the lime zest for the end.

4 Add the noodles and cook for a few minutes to heat through.

5 Season to taste with salt and pepper, then decorate with lots of fresh chopped coriander and the lime zest.

Recipe and photo courtesy of © The Vegetarian Society

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

May flies by...

Last weekend saw the sleepy village of Dunham spring into life, adorned with bunting for the crowning of their Rose Queen. Antiquated and sexist perhaps but I suppose that’s how many traditions are, and we wouldn’t want to lose them all.

Another May event that I've noticed for the first time is that of the mayflies’ short lives- they burst into life in early May, especially around rivers. One evening I saw hundreds on my balcony, flitting around with abandon. The more hardy, or maybe the late comers, are still there, but now merely in single figures. The rest have danced their merry May jig and shuffled off this mortal coil...

Monday, 19 May 2014

Monday Mural: A night at the opera

Two murals for the price of one at the Royal Northern College of Music. The "we are music" murals adorn several staircases and are also on banners for the 2013-14 academic year - a year which is working its way to a final crescendo. The "we are..." (or "RNCM is...") slogan extends to jazz, orchestral, rock and pop, chamber, big band, world music and brass...

Taking part in Monday Mural.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

National Vegetarian Week 2014 (19-25 May)

Today we visit the The Vegetarian Society HQ which is in Altrincham, Cheshire.

 Founded in 1847 it inspires and supports people to be vegetarian. The charity organises National Vegetarian Week (this week 19-25 May) and runs the Cordon Vert vegetarian cookery school. It encourages everyone to leave behind the cruelty, wastefulness and immorality of eating animal products.  Find out more at

If you like to browse your recipes on the move, then you need the Vegetarian Society’s free recipe app, launched just in time for National Vegetarian Week 19-25 May 2014. Wherever you happen to be, get inspiration for that butternut squash, the lonely can of chickpeas or search for the best chocolate brownie recipe. The Vegetarian Society’s free recipe app is available from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. Visit to find out more. 

The app features a great range of recipes for cooks of all abilities along with a handy ‘binder’ function so you can save all your favourite recipes in one place.  For news and updates on National Vegetarian Week 2014 visit where you can sign up for the e-newsletter, follow @NVW2014 on Twitter or visit the Facebook page.


Saturday, 17 May 2014

Weekend Reflections: University old and new

One of the Victoria University of Manchester's oldest buildings is in the Old Quadrangle and one side reflects here onto one of its newest buildings. 

The buildings around the Old Quadrangle date from the time of Owens College (In 1851 John Owens' wealth founded what later became part of Manchester University), and were designed in Gothic style by Alfred Waterhouse and his son Paul Waterhouse. The first to be built was the John Owens Building in 1873. Cognitio, sapientia, humanitas (Knowledge, Wisdom, Humanity) is the University motto. Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Manchester Vegan Fair 17 May #Vegan #healthy #crueltyfree @ManchesterVegan @vegsoc

Photo of Bombay dosa with chickpea curry sauce (see recipe below) from the wonderful Vegetarian Society- whose National Vegetarian Week starts on 19 May. There's more about that here on Mancunian Wave tomorrow. 

Before then though there is another creative, tasty, healthy and cruelty-free eating event to relish: The Manchester Vegan Fair on Saturday 17 May at the Chorlton Irish Club, 17 High Lane, M21 9DJ. 11.00 a.m to 5.00 pm. 

Bombay dosa with chickpea curry sauce

Serves 4
Preparation time 25 minutes
Cooking time 35 minutes

For the dosas
100g gram flour
100g rice flour
1 tsp curry paste
Salt and pepper, to taste
400ml water
2 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying

For the Bombay potato filling
300g potatoes, unpeeled 
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp curry paste (use your favourite)
2 large tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
1 lemon, juice only
Small handful of coriander leaves

For the chickpea sauce
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil 
1 jar curry sauce (use your favourite)
1 can chickpeas, drained 
Small handful of coriander leaves

To make the dosas
1 Mix all of the dosa ingredients together and allow to stand while you prepare the filling and sauce.

To make the Bombay potato filling
2 Place the potatoes into a pan of boiling water and cook until just tender. Drain the potatoes and allow to cool slightly before peeling and cutting into small chunks.

3 Heat the oil, gently fry the onion for five minutes and then add the potatoes and curry paste.

4 After five minutes add the tomatoes and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper then set to one side.

To make the chickpea sauce
5 Gently fry the onion in the oil for five minutes, then add the jar of curry sauce and chickpeas and simmer for another five minutes. Add fresh coriander to taste.

6 Reheat the Bombay potato on a low heat and keep warm while you make the dosas.

To make the dosas
7 Heat a little vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan. Once hot, add a little batter mixture, tilting the pan to get an even coverage.

8 After 1 minute carefully turn and cook the other side. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make four dosas.

9 To serve, place a little Bombay potato in the middle of a dosa, add a little fresh coriander and roll. Either spoon a little curry sauce over the top or serve in a separate bowl.

10 Repeat with the remaining dosas. Finally, garnish with a little coriander.

Recipe courtesy of © The Vegetarian Society

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

ABC Wednesday: The Rs of Shudehill...!

ABC Wednesday reaches the letter "R" and I  present to you the Rs of Shudehill, on an old warehouse or office building opposite the Shudehill tram stop. I'm not sure what or who the Rs represent or what the previous business was. 

Rolls Royce started in Manchester so that sprang to mind but it's the wrong font. The Rolls Royce 110th anniversary celebration took place in the city last week.

There must be thousands of people a day who stare at this wall while waiting for a tram, so I wonder if any if them have worked it out? 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Bridgewater Triptych

 Francis Egerton (a Duke of Bridgewater- the third if you are counting), engineer James Brindley, and another 18th century gentleman -possibly John Gilbert, the agent of Egerton - responsible for the growth of the canal network.
All hanging in Duke's 92 pub in Castlefield.

Linking with Ruby Tuesday Too.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Monday Mural: Keeping up with the substation @arisustreetart

I don't walk past the Northern Quarter sub station every week but I feel that whenever I do then there is a new mural or three here. Popping into North Tea Power the other day I saw this mural had recently been painted. It's by Arisu Street Art (aka the talented Alice Baldwin).

A little gruesome in places for some perhaps, although I find it witty (those hands grasping for help, the mix of masks). Even if a certain mural's not quite your thing, in Manchester you know there'll be another one in its place in a few weeks ;-)

Taking part in Monday Mural.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Salford Conservative Party's untruths - a reply from Working Class Movement Library

The Trustees of the
Working Class Movement Library have written to the Electoral Commission in protest at a leaflet issued by Salford Conservatives.

The leaflet was distributed by the local Conservative Party in support of candidates in the forthcoming local elections. In it they state that the Library has “been receiving tens of thousands of pounds of your money over the last few years and yet you cannot walk in and read any material”.

The Library, along with many hundreds of other charities in the City, does indeed get a council grant each year. This is to recognise the great importance of its world-renowned collections and the work it does with the people of Salford. Along with most other charities the grant has been reducing over the past few years. In return for this grant the Library opens its doors to any member of the public on a daily basis between Tuesday and Friday. All are welcome, entirely free of charge, to read any of the quite extraordinary range of material that make up the collection.

Maggie Cohen, Chair of Trustees, said: “The Conservatives have now, in effect, told every household in Salford that they cannot use the Library. This is not merely untrue, but actively detrimental to the huge efforts constantly being made by Library volunteers and staff to encourage local people to come and share the Library’s fantastic resources.

Everyone is welcome to the free talks, film shows, exhibitions and tours held here. Just next week we have three free film screenings plus Salford’s only contribution to the national Museums at Night celebration, and we are looking forward to taking part in the Spirit of Salford Festival later this month with the Salford launch of a new biography of Shelagh Delaney. A recent Lottery-funded oral history project involved us working with students from Buile Hill Visual Arts College, and we were delighted when they won the Best Schools Histories award at the recent Manchester Histories Festival for their part in our project. We would like to assure everyone that they will receive a warm welcome if they pop in to visit this Salford jewel”.

The Library collection contains books, pamphlets, personal archives, photographs, plays, poetry, songs, banners, posters, badges, cartoons, journals, biographies, newspaper reports and more. They tell the story of Britain's working classes from the earliest days of industrialisation to the present day.

It is open to the public on a drop-in basis on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. At other times visitors are welcome to make appointments to view or use the collection. Admission is free. It's at 51 The Crescent, Salford, M5 4WX.

The Library’s film festival Last Cage Down runs from 12-14 May –  . 

The Library’s Museums at Night event takes place on 15 May - 

More about the Community Histories Awards.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Friday, 9 May 2014

The corner sweet shop, Leyland

The corner shop has long been a feature of many a city or suburban street. Are they as prevalent in England's south as here in the north? I can't remember. Anyway, today's shot was taken in a tiny sweet shop in Leyland, Lancashire. 

It's a corner shop specialising in confectionery but has no name, signage nor obvious opening times; its window display showcases jars of fashioned sweets (and modern day cleaning products). 

The shop is part of an end terrace house and I imagine the owner is only in there when customers enter- to buy a quarter of humbugs, gobstoppers, or as in the case of the friend I was with (Holly Marland the Kora Queen), the sweets known as rhubarb and custard.

Thursday, 8 May 2014


Mirrored and slightly impressionistic reflections on the Trent and Mersey Canal near Dutton. Taking part in this week's Rurality blog hop.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

ABC Wednesday "Q" is for quality quiet time...

My ABC Wednesday entry for the letter "Q" catches up with me in the garden on the May Day Public holiday weekend just gone- Some quality quiet time: sunshine, The Guardian on my e-reader, this month's Towpath, this month's National Geographic and my current book- Charles Montgomery's Happy City- transforming our lives through urban design.

Maybe all this brain power I'm taking in will be soaked up by the crops struggling to grow in the vegetable patch. The new potatoes, raspberries and spinach are doing ok, beetroot are few and far between and there's still no sign at all of the broad beans. 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

In the palm of my hands...

Palm trees in the tropical paradise of Manchester. Spring by the Bridgewater Hall.

Taking part in Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Monday Mural: woodland creature

An otherwise dull car park gets the mural treatment on Hilton Street. A similar mural also featured on Stevenson Square's previous round of artwork by the Outhouse Project. The artists are Matt Sewell and Richt. Taking part in Monday Mural.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Street view, Sounds From the Other City @sftoc @TheSkinnyNW

Old and new in Manchester city centre always looks good in the sunshine we've had a lot of this past week or two.  But I suggest people head just over the Irwell into Salford's Chapel Street today (3 p.m. to late, £18) for the 10th annual Sounds From The Other City festival There are new bands from all over the place including Adult Jazz, Broken Twin, Horrid, Yellow Ostrich et al. Gigs take place in churches, mills, pubs and galleries all in the Chapel Street area. Wonderful.

Talking of music, I read another one of those "Xxx is the best city in UK to live in articles" this week (published on 3 April)- one that appeared in the free right-wing weekday newspaper Metro (copies to be found littering a tram, bus station, train platform or pavement near you).

It states reasons why Greater Manchester is the best UK city (by which I assume they include Salford and the other boroughs). It includes the 1980s music scene being a factor. Only the week before last I saw a Leeds friend post a similar article from the same newspaper's website proclaiming that Leeds was the best city!

The reality is of course that it's all relative, there is a good case for many cities- it depends on what you like and what your income is. Greater Manchester is great for me because of its heritage, culture, coffee/cafe bars and the proximity of lovely countryside. 

I'm sure many cities can claim this too though. I cannot believe that yet another article bangs on about Manchester music of the past citing the usual suspects, (but without taking that small step beyond to other 1980s bands like Magazine, Crispy Ambulance, the Chameleons etc.)

More galling is when people write about (Greater) Manchester's rock and indie music scene as if it were a unique phenomena (it surely isn't- many cities have their own home grown bands to shout about). I wish they'd at least mention some current day and up and coming bands and artistes, rather than relying on the ancients - no matter how influential and good that many of them were- that are always mentioned...

Hey Metro music journalists- how about getting along to Sounds From the Other City today (or taking a leaf out of The Skinny's pages- Independent Cultural Journalism). 

There are plenty of new and new-ish Greater Manchester bands across several genres for the mainstream to write about such Delphic, The Minx, Positronik, Ingested, Delaplains etc. (and in other cities too)...

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Weekend Reflections: Power napping…

There were some warm days earlier this week and the prime lunchtime spots around Spinningfields were crowded with office workers on deckchairs, benches and at café tables.

A quieter, if less comfortable, spot was to be found here by the Lowry Hotel on the riverbank. While some sat in the sun catching some rays, others lay in the shade catching some zzzz… Befiore you doze off on what is forecast to be a gloriously sunny Saturday here in Greater Manchester, visit the other Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Squares

City Daily Photo's theme day for May is Squares. These mosaic squares are at UMIST's Faraday Building and presumably date from the year the building was completed, which was 1967. They're the work of Hans Tisdall and are called The Alchemist's Elements.

I've always loved their richness, especially in the evening sunlight. They will continue to make a dramatic welcome when the building is finally reconfigured for student accommodation.

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