Friday, 31 October 2014

Pandering to our needs...

We're coming to the end of another long week, where the nights have drawn in and we head to that time of year when us in the labour force rarely see daylight during the week.

Something needs to change...and until then, all we can do is ensure we grab the most of what free time we are allowed, and reflect on the better, small things in life. Bathing is out these days, I don't think I know anyone who bathes instead of showering, on environmental grounds, but I am prepared to make exceptions if you are a giant panda soaking in the tub... 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

#Ed, X marks the spot...

Today's photo is taken by Holly Sutton-Brand. She was one of tens of thousands of ecstatic fans in the Manchester Arena audiences who were taken to a magical place by Ed Sheeran this week.

Ed's 2014 album X (which stands for "Multiply") has sold in its millions.

And "X" is where Alhpabe-Thursday has reached today- this is my first blog post to them.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

ABC Wednesday: "P" is for Pollution...

ABC Wednesday reaches the letter "P".

Out on a wander along the towpaths of the Bridgewater Canal near Daresbury there is one direction that you don't want to look in or it spoils your walk... I feel for the people who live in that house. It affects us all though, so we need to use less gadgets around the house. The 1970s "Save It" campaign should have been reinstated years ago, in fact, it should be a way of life for every one of us in the western world.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Monday, 27 October 2014

Monday Mural: Paper woman and paper crane

An old photo that was taken on a wall off of Tib Street near the Lighthouse Building a year ago. A plea for a peaceful start to another challenging working week, no doubt. Taking part in the wonderful Monday Mural meme, sharing innovative street art around the world.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Country roads

I suppose we all have an idea of what a typical road looks like in a certain country. Often these are stereotypes but they are usually based on an element of truth.

I imagine that my overseas readers may see the above as a typical English countryside road with a typical British car (looks like  a new Mini?) on it? It was taken the other week near Dunham village in northernmost Cheshire. 

When I think of typical roads I have driven on around the world, I come up with visions of unmarked tarmac roads winding up hot and barren hillsides in the Greek Islands; of lush greenery as I steer past fields and forests in Wales; of endless straight and dry desert roads in the American west; the sheer distances on the Queensland coast of Oz; and narrow bends along the Amalfi Coast.


Friday, 24 October 2014

Skywatch Friday: under the rainbow

My contribution to Skywatch Friday this week is a rainbow that I saw from my balcony in mid-week. It was a blustery day, caused by the tale end of Hurricane Gonzalo.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Thursday Challenge: Home

This year is the Thursday Challenge meme's 10-year anniversary. It's the first time Mancunian Wave has taken part. Each week there is a different, often straightforward theme. Last week's was "Happy". This week's subject is "Home" so I thought I would share part of my bedroom and home office space with you! I am as inquisitive as the next person and like to see how people have designed and used their special spaces. The wall hanging arrived this week from Latvia and is, I believe, a 1970s' Scandinavian design.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

ABC Wednesday: October onset, On set

ABC Wednesday reaches the letter "O" and there is filming on Harter Street and elsewhere in the Northern Quarter and King Street all this week. Manchester doubles up as 1920s New York for the film Genius, with Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Dominic West, Guy Pearce and Colin Firth (release date is in 2016).

On Sunday they had to use fake rain but a Mancunian rain shower on Monday helped them out. I am afraid I am going to break the City Daily Photo (singular) rule today and give you the photos that I snapped while wandering around on the set, mostly on Harter Street, with the last one on Mangle Street.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Today: #SaveLibraryWalk versus the council. @savelibrarywalk

The Friends of Library Walk  want to save the special place that is Library Walk (see photo below left as it was from the 1930s until this autumn) from the council’s proposals to gate and glaze it. The scheme is unnecessary and a waste of money. As a Friend of Library Walk I too oppose the privatisation of public space and want to protect a much loved right of way!

The Public Inquiry starts today 21 October from 10.00 at the Council Chambers in Manchester Town Hall. It is also taking place tomorrow, 22 October.  Please attend if you can- sadly I have to be at work but will be there in heart and mind. 

Manchester CIty Council have stolen the public's space of Library Walk - an elegant sweep and a link between Albert and St Peter's Squares; they have wasted millions of pounds in the process. People objected in large numbers when plans were released a few years back but the council ignored us. Hopefully sense will prevail and the sorry out-of-keeping monstrosity, let alone the fact it is an obstruction, will be taken down. Those responsible for ignoring the public will should surely foot the bill, not the tax payers.

Before, for the past 80 years; and right and above, as it is now.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Monday Mural: John Cooper Clarke

On Blackfriar's Road in Salford, John Cooper Clarke by Stewy. The legendary Salfordian punk poet is now 65 yet still pretty much looks like this- some achievement. Taking part in the Monday Mural.

the house on nowhere street is one of many JCC poems that I like. Here are two verses from it.

    "...the trempling tongues he once enjoyed
    talk behind his back
    tell me he was self employed
    he gave himself the sack
    he's on the scrounge in the cocktail lounge
    where once he wined and dined
    a thousand eyeballs shake him down
    from the pale blue bamboo blind

    the music will continue
    there is no way out
    bone muscle and sinew
    begin to move about
    whip that sucker with a heavy back beat
    you gotta be cool to be kind
    who haunt the house on nowhere street
    with the pale blue bamboo blind..."

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Weekend Reflections: A walk by the Macc

Friday was gloriously sunny, with high temperatures for late October of 18C°+. It was great to start my three day weekend with a lovely walk along the Macclesfield Canal from Bollington, heading northwards and then back  It was warm enough to stop for a mid morning snack on the banks too. Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Weekend in Black and White: Man in the mist

A jog in the fog. I enjoy the mysterious swirls of fog that autumn can bring. It can create misty patches that envelope all and sundry and then a few hundred yards later you have walked right through it and out into glorious sunshine. This was very much the case in Dunham Massey's grounds last weekend.

Taking part in another Weekend in Black and White. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Skywatch Friday: A Mancunian skyline

The sometimes slightly ugly and often utilitarian hotch-potch of early 20th century warehouses always makes for a mixed Manchester skyline, but when there is blue in the sky who cares? Charles Street and beyond feature here in my contribution to Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Vintage phone boxes

It could almost be a traditional tourist postcard of Britain; the gleaming old GPO/BT telephone boxes and the Italianate arch. St. Peter's Square has rarely looked better.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

"N" is for NEF's 4 day working week as the norm

Taking part in ABC Wednesday where my "N" is for the normalising of a 4 day working week as advocated by leading health professionals and the New Economic Foundation.

I featured in Manchester City Life Extra's #Blogwatch column this week (issue 38, 9 October 2014). Sadly they left out my publicity of the four day week campaign which is led by the New Economic Foundation, so click to see 10 reasons how society will benefit from this. 

I also wrote:
"I am lucky in that I recently reduced my working days to 4 a week, which can be tough financially but it puts your heart, body and soul in a great place when you get a three day weekend every week. There’s a growing campaign in the UK led by the New Economic Foundation for a four day week to become the norm and for people to be paid a living wage for those four days."

The rest of the otherwise well-edited article was:

How to be a tourist at home

Mancunian Wave gives a daily glimpse of life in and around Greater Manchester; my photos might be of a band, street art, a walk in the countryside, anything that grabs my attention as I go on my merry way. 

What I’d like the blog to do is grab someone’s attention and for a few seconds of their busy day lift their spirits and give them a wave of excitement that makes them appreciate the great city we live in a little more.

A few years ago I noticed how quiet the city centre was on Saturday mornings - devoid of traffic and commuters there was the space to look up and appreciate the wonderful buildings and sights, without bumping into people or getting run over. I saw things I hadn’t noticed before and started to see Manchester as if I were a tourist. Imagining the city I live in as if I was just visiting for few days cast a new light on everything- bars, galleries, squares and statues - it stops me from taking everyday sights for granted. I wanted to share what I see with anyone who might be like-minded and a blog seemed the best way.

As a result I have developed a fascination for all level of details about the region. Rather than wishing I lived in San Francisco or Paris I appreciate Manchester for what it offers. I look out around for hidden gems as well as writing about the more obvious sights. Going to restaurants, bars and coffee shops to write about them is fun too. It makes me think creatively and feeds my enthusiasm for the small things in life: a reflection in a puddle or a painting.

Wherever I go I’m always ready to take a quick snap, but rather than capturing selfies and meals, it’s more likely to be a photo of an unusual angle in the street, or part of a building that takes my fancy. So I always have a stack of photos I want to write about. 

What I like most about doing a blog is connecting with people such as local band The Madding Crowd, who I try and champion in my own small way, and supporting various causes and campaigns. The Northern Spirit Theatre community asked me to curate their Wondrous Place blog for a week where I enjoyed writing a series called Manchester Movementsand Manchester Moments including old local music and the Town Hall clock tower.

The downside of blogging is of my own making – as Mancunian Wave is part of the City Daily Photo Community, I need to do a blog post every day. But there are tricks to the trade and you can set posts up in advance - so I don’t have to worry if I decide to flit off to the Cote D’Azur for a week!

Four days a week I work as the research manager at the Royal Northern College of Music, which is as creative and friendly a place you could wish to work. (The views on my blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my workplace or other organisations I am involved with).

To be honest I didn’t know what response to expect when I started blogging. I think the most important thing is not to bore your friends about it- you have to build an audience who really want to read your blog because they enjoy it, not as a favour. I follow other city daily blogs around the world and it’s lovely to have a coffee and hone in on what Steffe’s seen in Haninge, Sweden is or Tanya’s take on life in Roanoke, Virginia. It gives me a little buzz, that 30 seconds of a look into other lives and places and to see a photo with a wow factor. It’s a warm feeling to know that I am showing our great city of Manchester to people, in my own small way.

Support has come in from locals and further afield too, saying things like “I know Manchester but you show it in a way I have never seen” Although most of my readers are local or UK based, people in over 150 countries have visited. It’d be nice if I have made one or two people think “I want to see that myself” or “I am going to support that campaign too”. That makes the daily effort completely worthwhile.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Project Maya Peat-Free Pledge #PeatFreePledge

Although I thought everyone knew that we shouldn't be using peat in our vegetable plots, allotments and gardens, it seems this is not the case and it will not become illegal until 2020. Shame on any gardeners that use peat- it's time to stop! Here's how and why.

So Project Maya is pushing for all gardeners to take the Peat-Free pledge and to use alternatives (organic, pesticide-free and non-animal based are what we should surely be using, for many environmental reasons).

· UK Peatlands store more carbon than the forests of the UK, France and 
 Germany combined. 

· Peat is being consumed 200 times faster than it forms. 

· 94% of our lowland bogs in the UK have been lost. 

· Every month, UK gardeners use enough peat to fill 69 Olympic swimming pools. 

Inspired by the research of Professor Mark Reed (Birmingham City  University) Project Maya is asking gardeners to pledge to be peat-free in 
their gardens. 

There would be an outcry if a company started excavating top-soil from your local park and selling it to gardeners. And yet most of us are silent about the excavation of peat from habitats that are just as valuable to us.  The UK gardener is a gift to wildlife; we are increasingly growing flowers that are perfect for pollinators, along with our own fruit and vegetables, saving the  packaging, and carbon used in transportation. In fact, our gardeners make a huge positive impact for UK nature. Yet, each month UK gardeners are using enough peat to fill the equivalent of 69 Olympic swimming pools, with no idea of the damage they are causing by doing so.

An average 100 litre bag of peat compost takes around 100 years to develop. In this time, a bag this size will have absorbed as much carbon dioxide as you would emit by driving from Manchester to Gloucester and back in a petrol VW Golf. 

Speaking about the campaign, Dr. Olly Watts, the RSPB’s peat-free campaigner said: ‘The RSPB has encouraged gardeners to go peat-free for many years – our bogs are wonderful places with amazing wildlife. It’s a tragic irony that they are drained and dug up for gardening, especially now there are good alternatives widely available.’ 

UK gardeners make a significant contribution to improving the environment for nature, and by going peat-free they can do even more. Our peatlands are a beautiful and incredibly valuable resource. Let’s keep them and our gardens beautiful. For more information, and to take the pledge head to 

Peat is used in compost because it’s cheap, light, retains moisture and stores nutrients. But we don’t need to use it. Most amateur gardeners wouldn’t notice a difference in the performance of peat versus peat-free composts, but switching to peat-free would make a significant difference to our peatlands.

If we don’t start buying peat-free composts voluntarily, they may be banned. Already, the Government has set a target to phase out the use of peat by amateur gardeners in England by 2020. They are monitoring peat use and will be reviewing progress next year to see if  “additional policy measures are necessary”. 

Peatlands are a vast green lung that provides unique places for recreation and habitats for some of our most threatened wildlife, whilst absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

A contribution to Our World Tuesday

Monday, 13 October 2014

Monday Mural: No hope, NoHo shutters

No hope of getting into NoHo bar when it's closed but I love the urban landscape that their shutters project. It's a shame that Manchester doesn't look more like that! This is one of five similarly painted shutters that protect Noho from the daylight and city activity until it opens up and comes into its own every evening in the twilight... Taking part in the Monday Mural.

"NoHo is an independent bar set in a truly one-of-a-kind space, with experienced bartenders that offer a seasonal cocktail menu. Low-lit chesterfields, Connect 4 and other classic games, with films shown off the huge 'drive in movie' style wall art. Resident DJs offer a mixture of grooves and beats..."

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Weekend Reflections: Hotel distorts the truth...

No offence is intended to the woman on her phone inside the Double Tree Hotel when I took this (nor to anyone else), but if you look closely you can see how a reflected passer-by does seem to give her an unusual appearance... Fortuitous for me. 

Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Weekend in Black & White: On John Dalton Street

Early on a Saturday morning is always a good time to view the city centre without crowds of commuters and other traffic.  Taking part in the Weekend in Black and WhiteLong shadows, elegant silhouettes of buildings and a blast of sunshine warmth, even on a crisp autumn day.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Skywatch Friday on Blackstone Edge Reservoir

Blackstone Edge Reservoir up above Rochdale, on a windswept early evening. I must do a decent walk around here next time. Here is a link to today's other Skywatch Friday posts.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

A Portland Street favourite - Watts' Warehouse

On of my favourite sights in the city is Watts' Warehouse (now the Britannia Hotel) on Portland Street. When the wheel (round) windows are lit up at night it looks like a fairy tale, by day this side view looks solid and yet creative- this side view always reminds me of Paris' Notre Dame.

Wikipedia states:

It opened in 1856 as a textile warehouse for the wholesale drapery business of S & J Watts, and was the largest single-occupancy textile warehouse in Manchester.  

The sandstone ashlar warehouse was built by local architects Travis & Mangnall from 1851-56 at a cost of £100,000. It typifies the extravagant confidence of many Mancunian warehouses of this period, but the Watts Warehouse is notable for its peculiarly eclectic design. 

Designed in the form of a Venetian palazzo, the building has five storeys, each decorated in a different style – Italian Renaissance, Elizabethan, French Renaissance and Flemish – and roof pavilions featuring large Gothic wheel windows.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

ABC Wednesday: "M" is for the Moorlands Hotel

ABC Wednesday reaches the letter "M". The Moorlands Hotel in White Cross, Lancaster looks a fine, if slightly spooky, historic building: late 19th Century is my guess but it's a little hard to find information on that.

There is sometimes a live music night and even occasional Psychic Nights, with one Helen Carr. Well, there used to be, but 
one thing they didn't see coming was the closure late last year of this pub, which is being redeveloped as apartments... what a shame.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Chapel Street Police Station

This building on Chapel Street is the former Salford police station. It was built in 1888 by Arthur Jacob who was a Salford Borough engineer. It's been refurbished and is now for let as what would be rather a quirky office space. I like this artistic interpretation of it.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Monday Mural: Swallows stay put

I went for a enjoyable walk along the Bridgewater Canal and saw the narrow boat Swallow moored up. It was displaying a creative piece of artwork towards the aft on the cabin doors.  With swallows migrating to Africa from these shores last month, this is the closest we're likely to get to any for a few months. Taking part in the Monday Mural.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Weekend Reflections: 8 green bottles on Faulkner St

Bottles line a window sill in Chinatown. When you look at a script or language you have no inkling of it makes you realise how tough life is for those unable to read or write. 

Indeed, in a case like this, you are illiterate yourself. I am sure the little sign translates as something rather dull and everyday, but to the unknowing eye it is full of intrigue. Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

City Trial Bikers on Deansgate #citytrial

Closing off and setting up on part of Deansgate on Thursday morning for the biker trials which start at noon today- looks interesting...

For the third year the world's best city trial bikers compete in Manchester's city centre today; this time on Deansgate which has mercifully been closed to traffic for a few days. There were traffic jams as a result but maybe it will encourage more people to take public transport, or to campaign for improvements to our public transport (if they have a problem with it that means they drive in and out every day?).

Friday, 3 October 2014

Skywatch Friday: Place Saint Pierre @ManCityCouncil

St. Peter's Square has really opened out now the war memorials have been relocated to the right here, and the Peace Gardens have been removed, I must admit that I was wrong when I wanted the sunken Peace Gardens to stay- had the council maintained them in an orderly fashion they might not have looked such an eyesore but that's another matter.
Taking part in Skywatch Friday .

The square now looks positively European but with a northern English feel to it still. Now, if they can finish it off by putting nice paving over this temporary tarmac and install some creative modern art and a fountain, such as I saw at Place Masséna in Nice the other week (photo below) it really could look good. I look forward to the centuries overdue Peterloo Memorial being placed here too. Place Masséna is similar to St Peter's Square in that it has trams running down the middle, and distinctive historic buildings around it. 

So, Manchester City Council, please commission seven resin figures that change colour at night, one for each continent, but make some of them women. Then please ensure that you don't do anything to mess up this square, such as putting a tacky and unwanted link between the library and town hall, blocking off a lovely view and public access. Also please make sure you don't try and run extra tram lines through here and spoil the shape, or demolish the few remaining 1930s' buildings on the eastern side of the square. (as if you would do anything so foolish!...)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Autumnal Irwell morning, National Poetry Day

My breakfast time view this morning looked down from my balcony and along the River Irwell's banks, where some trees are changing colour much faster than others. Who needs the blandness of breakfast tv when you have a view like this - and the BBC World Service on the radio for real news, plus The Guardian delivered to your e-reader? It was an inspiring start for me to National Poetry Day.

Here's an extract from a  poem by Bessie Rayner Parkes (1829-1925) about two of our great Mancunian, Salfordian, Lancastrian rivers, called The Mersey and The Irwell. (It also mentions a third, the River Irk).
"...Where blended Irk and Irwell streamed
While Britons pitched the tent,
Where legionary helmets gleamed,
And Norman bows were bent,
An ancient shrine was once esteemed
Where pilgrims daily went...
...And though it be long since daisies grew
Where Irk and Irwell flow,
If human love springs up anew,
And angels come and go,
What matters it that the skies were blue
A hundred years ago? "

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

City Daily Photo theme day: movement

After the driest September in England for 50 years we start October on another mild day. The City Daily Photo theme day for this month is "Movement".

Of course, I first thought of famous Manchester movements that have changed lives: of communism - of how Marx and Engels met and worked togther in Manchester and how the dire industrial squalor and inequalities that the world's first industrial city caused led to their world-shaking theses.

The UK Suffragette movement too came from Manchester of course and I have blogged on and around that before.

In fact, I should merely point you again to my week's curation last year at Northern Spirit where I came up with the theme of Manchester Movements and Manchester moments, including the formation in 1847 of the UK Vegetarian Society.

But, hey, for once I will conform and go with the flow, and offer you two night time views of traffic on Trinity Way...

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