Saturday, 31 January 2015

Weekend in Black and White: Adrift in the snow

Adrift is a statue created by Irish-Mancunian sculptor John Cassidy over 100 years ago in 1907. It's of a family in peril and its base inscription reads "Humanity adrift on the sea of life, depicting sorrows and dangers, hopes and fears and embodying the dependence of human beings upon one another, the response of human sympathy to human needs, and the inevitable dependence upon divine aid". Taking part in The Weekend in Black and White.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Skywatch Friday: Snow play today

As soon as there is any snow across the country, sporting fixtures are thrown into havoc with postponements. There will be (s)no(w) play on this suburban rugby field for a while and after the snow comes the thaw and a flooded mudbath of a pitch... 

Linking with Skywatch or should that be Snow-watch? Click to see this week's other Skywatch posts.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Snowy Thursday

A blizzard of sorts and plenty of sleet made it hard to get out even in the city centre last night (while up in the hills of Lees and Marple friends of mine were getting snowed in). 

I pity the ever increasing numbers of homeless people in Manchester. Last night, as ever, several were seeking refuge in doorways along affluent Deansgate. Some of these marginalised people are victims of the coalition government cuts - surely there will be deaths on the streets when temperatures plummet to below freezing?

This was the view that greeted me at first light today - snow on the banks of the Irwell and settling all around Greengate and Trinity Way. I am hoping it will subside so that I can get into the office soon and attend various meetings. However, such hardships are as naught when compared those who are forced to live in poverty on the streets in these conditions.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

ABC Wednesday: "C" for a Cosy glow at the Oxford Road Cafe

ABC Wednesday reaches"C" and I have chosen a cafe on Altrincham's Oxford Road, although it is arguably really on adjacent Peter Street. I have read good reviews on Trip Advisor although not eaten there myself. I wonder what its healthy food options are like...

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A winter's day on Morecambe Bay...

Looking out to Morecambe Bay as the sun shines over the tranquil and bright green fields of near Hest Bank in Lancashire.

One for Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Monday Mural: Revolutionary music (but reactionary news coverage)...

Billed as "Revolutionary Music", I have liked these graphics for the two BBC Philharmonic concerts of 23 Jan and 7 Feb ever since I picked up a flyer last autumn. It may not be a conventional entry to Monday Mural but it captures that same street art ethos I feel.

7 Feb is Schoenberg's Pelleas und Melisande, Op 5 and Beethoven's Concerto for Piano No. 5 in E flat major 'Emperor', Op 73. Played by the BBC Philharmonic with Juanjo Mena conducting and Hannes Minnaar on piano.

It's about the only time the BBC ever does anything revolutionary! With its news, politics and business coverage it is conservative with a small and a capital "C", as reports have proven yet again this past week (as mentioned at George Monbiot's blog), from which I quote below.

"The BBC’s business reporting breaks its editorial guidelines every day, by failing to provide alternative viewpoints. Every weekday morning, the [Radio 4] Today programme grovels to business leaders for 10 minutes. It might occasionally challenge them on the value or viability of their companies, but hardly ever on their ethics. Corporate critics are shut out of its business coverage – and almost all the rest. On BBC News at Six, the Cardiff researchers found, business representatives outnumbered trade union representatives by 19 to one. 'The BBC tends to reproduce a Conservative, Eurosceptic, pro-business version of the world'. This, remember, is where people turn when they don’t trust the corporate press."

"Another study reveals a near total collapse of environmental coverage on ITV and BBC news: it declined from 2.5% (ITV) and 1.6% (BBC) of total airtime in 2007 to 0.2% and 0.3% in 2014(14). There were as many news stories on these outlets about Madeline McCann in 2014 – seven years after her disappearance – as there were about all environmental issues put together."

So much for an impartial public broadcasting service...if only some of their music coverage matched their news coverage.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Inspired Sundays: Chapel Door...

One of the side doors at Chadkirk  Chapel. There are records of a chaplain at or maybe from Chadkirk in 1347. The chapel fell into decay, passed through a succession of owners and was used as a stable. For a time it was used by Nonconformists who were ejected during the reign of Queen Anne. It again became neglected and was "in a ruinous condition" until in 1747 it was taken over once again by the Church of England and restored. Further repairs were carried out in 1761 and 1860. In 1876 there was a restoration when much of the furniture was removed.The Chapel was declared redundant in 1971 and was acquired by Bredbury and Romiley Urban District Council. The Chapel was restored in 1995 and is now open as a visitor attraction. Taking part in Inspired Sundays.

Photo below and some of above text from Wikipedia.
Romiley - Chadkirk Chapel.JPG

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Weekend Reflection: Babbling Brook on Fountain Street

A close up of one of the entrances to Brook House on Fountain Street. It's home to the Spanish Embassy, Active English Academy and various businesses, but of more interest to me are the doorway's classical head and the reflective surface. What tales he may tell, if only he could talk...

Taking part in this week's Weekend Reflections.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Skywatch over Marple

Fluttering clouds scud across a winter morning sky on a walk near Marple, where it's always seems a degree or two colder than back west down in the city. One for Skywatch Friday fans!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Thursday Challenge: trees

This week's rather straightforward Thursday Challenge is Trees. Although there has been snow all around Manchester this week, especially up in the surrounding hills, down in the Cheshire Plain we have mostly been dealing with damp and fog, as here on a slightly spooky walk in fields and countryside in the Dunham area. With thanks to Susie for the idea and inspiration see her photo at Instagram of the same tree on 17 January.

I find the Thursday Challenges to be more of a theme than an actual challenge and would encourage them to change the title or up the challenge!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

ABC Wednesday: "B" is for Belong...

ABC Wednesday where my "B" is for Belong -  
To feel happy and comfortable in a particular place or with a particular group of people. To sense a feeling of belonging... 
Something we'd all believe in...

Photo taken above a Korean restaurant on Princess Street.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Manc Floyd - Wish you were here?

Tribute bands sometimes get given a hard time, but they shouldn’t. They are merely playing composers’ music in the same way a classical orchestra plays Elgar etc. I added another Pink Floyd tribute band to my list on Sunday when I saw Manc Floyd at Bury Met Theatre. 

They were good, although the stage was too small to accommodate all eight of them and the screen, which made it all a little cramped and took away some of the joy in being able to see all of the musicians at their instruments.

There were several moments when I got that amazing buzz, adrenalin rush, floating feeling that such music can produce, especially live, which made my evening complete.
The one photo I took at the gig was at the start- then I put my phone away so as to not annoy fellow audience members. Shine on you Crazy Diamond with bassist and vocalist Simon Renwick left and guitarist and slide guitarist Benjamin Pritchard right.

As it’s the 40th anniversary year of Wish you Were Here they played the album in full. Then in the second half played The Division Bell, See Emily Play, Astronomy Domine, One of these Days, Lucifer Sam, Time, Money, The Great Gig in the Sky, Another Brick in the Wall. The encore started with Run Like Hell, but I missed anything further or I too would have had to run like hell to catch the last tram (an archaic Sunday service – "24 hour city"? my foot -  means the last tram Bury to Manchester city centre was at 2259).

IMHO the best Floyd tribute bands by far are Brit Floyd (as well as seeing them in concert I recommend their Live at Red rocks DVD, only a fiver!) and Australian Pink Floyd.  Others, such as Manc Floyd and Darkside are good enough for a Pink Floyd live concert experience to remember, and a lot cheaper to see. Only £12 for this one.

Taking part in Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Monday Mural: Ryan Vintage & Frank Sidebottom

For this week's contribution to Monday Mural we visit Oldham Street in the city centre. 

Ryan Vintage is basically an old style army-surplus shop that is riding its luck with the current in-fashion vintage tag. Mostly a dusty and disorganised large shop with militaria items and a scattering of 1970s hi-fis and vinyl, other oddities and bygones from a long gone era, along with some vintage dresses and other clothes that might appeal to those seeking vintage chic and who are prepared to work hard to find it and adapt it -unlike in nearby Affleck's where such items are more plentiful, better identified and presented by people with more of an eye for such items than the middle aged owners at Ryan- who are more specialists in militaria than what most of us look for in vintage.

The unrelated Frank Sidebottom mural outside has sadly been defaced now by people who show no respect. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Trinity in green

Sacred Trinity Church was the first church in Salford. Originally built in 1635 the current building dates from 1752 and is on the junction of Chapel Street and Blackfriars Road. It  is a lovely and lively community centre, with samba classes midweek. I have peeked through the doors to see some sultry, not very religious dancing going on inside. Other activities and organisations who meet here include:

Manchester Universities Guild of Changeringers ring the bells at Sacred Trinity most Sundays and practice every Tuesday during term time 7 - 8.30 pm. Beginners can practice from 6.30 pm.

Manchester School of Samba - Wednesday nights, 7.00 - 9.30 pm

Ydalir group of Vikings meet every other Tuesday at 7 pm.

Ara - A Sanctuary for Alternative people - 4th Friday of the month from 9 pm

Manchester Gay Christian Group - often on the 3rd Friday at 8 pm but check for details

STAG (Sacred Trinity Art Group) - Meet on Tuesdays from 12 noon. Open to all.

...and also Catholic services at the weekends.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Weekend Reflections: Patisserie

A chain of shops and cafes that sell over-sugary confectionery is the antithesis to what I approve of, but hey,  at least this cake shop on Oxford Road does reflect some grandeur in the early 20th Century architecture opposite.

Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

City Daily Photo bloggers post photographs on a theme on the first day of each month.  On 
February 1, they will address this intriguing question:  If you had to leave forever the city 
from which you usually post, what would you miss most?  

Friday, 16 January 2015

Skywatch Friday: A walk in the country

A frosty morning, bracing indeed and another Skywatch Friday ... with a crunch underfoot in mid Cheshire getting my weekend off to a magical start. Plane trails in the sky may look pretty but I get very concerned about the environmental damage they cause. In the
Another Green World thesis which exists in my head (and one day on paper/online maybe), we would all have more leisure time and be less dependent on air travel. We could afford the time to go by rail instead.  

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Hut, near Bridge number 134

...on the Trent and Mersey Canal on the Staffordshire-Cheshire borders is this cute and colourful summer house. The waters turn a murky colour around here due to the soil and it all reminds me of a relic of the British Empire in Malaysia or somewhere- it certainly recalls a river trip I made in Malaysia once down a wider but similarly coloured river where poverty-imposed villagers panned for minerals.

This week's Thursday Challenge is Red.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

ABC Wednesday: "A" is for A loo with a view...

At Bury Met Theatre, there's not a bad view from the ladies loo. The best loo view I have ever seen is probably from the toilets halfway up to Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio de Janeiro. But this will do me for now! I'll be back at Bury Met (and Automatic restaurant next door) at the weekend to see Manc Floyd who are playing there on Saturday and Sunday.

Starting Round 16 of ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Curious incident of a healthy dose of culture

My plan to see more culture to get me through winter continues apace. On Friday I saw "The Theory of Everything" - an absolutely amazing film; moving and beautifully portraying the characters and the shifting of time. Highly emotional and tears were shed several times by me. I'd give it 5 stars (out of 5).

On Saturday we were at the Lowry Theatre above for the last day of the play of "The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night Time". The set was fabulous, with this grid subtly changing to become streets, the insides of houses, the underground railway and more. The soundtrack was good too and the lights. The play itself at about 2 hours 20 minutes was too long for me. I can cope with long pieces of art -  music or films - if they hold my attention, but a ten minute segment where the father took his son's clothes off to put him to bed, in silence, was 10 minutes too much for me. 2.5 stars.

We were all at home as a family on Sunday night, which is a rarity in itself and watching Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" was an accidental masterstroke (The DVD was only put on due to an A level English course but we all ended up watching, enthralled). It was one of those rare occasions where I feel the film was far better than the book- filmed as it was in a slightly surreal way with plenty of clever contrasting imagery and effects which added to the drama and dreaminess. The modern soundtrack was a good twist too (so that we could all relate to the 1920s hedonistic partygoers- rather than merely seeing them as extras from a bygone era) along with the Gershwin classics scattered throughout and a lovely track by The XX to end with. Highest praise and 5 stars.

Yesterday's culture dose was the Monday Recital Series at the RNCM. Francis Poulenc's 1962 Oboe Sonata FP 185 was wonderfully performed by Amy Roberts on oboe and Philip Sharp on piano. This was followed by breathtaking piano skills from Ewa Tytman Csiba, playing her fellow countryman Chopin's Nocturne in E flat major Op 55 No 2 and Fantasy in F minor Op 49. Without a score too! Stunning and another 5 stars from me.

Sharing my cultural kicks with Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Monday Mural: Koffee Pot on the move

A real mixture of traditional graffiti tags, an angry sci-fi/comic book character and an almost 1950/1960s portrait pastiche, adorn the shutters of the Koffee Pot Cafe. Its interiors have often been used in tv series;  the location of this greasy spoon cafe on Hilton Street at Stevenson Square undoubtedly raising its kudos among the NQ crowd. 

However last month it poured its last koffee and served its final cholesterol-ridden breakfast, at these premises anyway. It has been forced to move, but only around the corner to the northern end of Oldham Street, where it reopens this month. (See photo below, I assume the murals on the shutter are leftovers from a couple of years back when faux stags' heads were en vogue). 

The good news is that there will also be a deli and a bar in the new location and, as a result of that and in search of healthy and cruelty-free food, I will for the first time want to cross its hallowed doorway.

Taking part in Monday Mural at the Oakland Daily Photo blog.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Lock keeper's cottage

A restored lock keeper's cottage, situated where on the Rochdale Canal close to where it meets the Bridgewater canal in the city at Castlefield.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Weekend Reflections: Fog on the Bridgewater's mine all mine...

Coming at you on a misty morning on the Bridgewater Canal is this Lymm-registered narrow boat. Apart from the helmsman's cap and cagoule the year could be 2015, 1915 or 1815. Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Frosty Friday

Skywatch Friday in the fields near Dunham Town - a walk in the frost is enough to lift the spirits after that difficult first week back at work.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Manchester Wheel at night

It looks best at night lit in pinks and blues, with a bonus being that it is then that the true awfulness of Piccadilly Gardens and its gruesome "Berlin Wall" are out of sight...

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

"Z" is for a 'To the Zoo' sign

ABC Wednesday finishes another round of its own alphabet soup; the letter "Z" can prove a challenge but this nice sign jumped out at me the other month. I have always liked the Fired Earth Showroom on John Dalton Street and their displays of paints and tiles often showcase their heritage style as well.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Looking up on Tasle Street

Elegance on Tasle Street in the form of this post World War I building (1919) which became home to the Liverpool, London and Globe Insurance Company. 

A century before that it was a part of central Manchester that was rife with cholera. This is outlined in Henry Gaunt's 1833 volume The origin and progress of the malignant cholera in Manchester, which is available as an e-book. 

Taking part with Our World Tuesday

Monday, 5 January 2015

Monday Mural: Affleck's silver tree

This wonderful tree has "grown" over Afflecks and I always think of the singing ringing tree (an ancient tv programme and also a tree on a hill near Burnley which I must visit and post about sometime in 2015) when I walk past it on Church Street.

Since 1982 Afflecks has been "an emporium of eclecticism, a totem of indie commerce in Manchester’s Northern Quarter and above all else a fantastic place to shop for anything from top hats to tattoos."

An unusual post for the first Monday Mural of the year. Welcome back to reality folks- hang on in there and think positive. Think of all the friendships, holidays to come, good music, good art and literature that you can immerse yourself in and that will pull you through the January blues. (A crisp and sunny day here in Manchester helped me on my way to the office too). That's my coping mechanism anyhow...

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Inspired Sundays: St Mary's on Pendle Hill - there be witches...

St Mary's Church in
 Newchurch in Pendle, Lancashire, with a gravestone below of one of the relations of an innocent woman charged with witchcraft in the 17th century. The tower above dates back to 1544.

The Pendle Witch Trials are a shameful chapter in Lancashire's history. In 1612, 12 were accused in the area around Pendle Hill, and were charged with the murders of ten people by the use of witchcraft. All but two were tried at Lancaster Assizes on 18–19 August 1612, along with the Samlesbury witches and others, in a series of trials that have become known as the Lancashire witch trials. One was tried at York Assizes on 27 July 1612, and another died in prison. Of the eleven who went to trial – nine women and two men – ten were found guilty and executed by hanging; one was found not guilty.

Taking party in Inspired Sundays.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Weekend Reflections: Frosty the towpath

My twelve festive days off of work are passing so quickly. I've enjoyed some low key walks every day. The most magical countryside strolls were those where frost, snow and ice scattered the trees, fields and canal banks, as here along the Bridgewater Canal.
Weekend Reflections.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Skywatch Friday: House on the canal banks

A frosty start to the day down near Whatcroft Farm, a typical 19th century black and white timbered Cheshire family home. Taking part in the new year edition of Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

City Daily Photo: Photo of the year

Happy New Year! It's hard to choose a favourite photo of the past 365 days from your blog but that's this month's City Daily Photo theme. This one of Lincoln Square in summer got a lot of nice comments and was also one of the photos of the week at Black and White Weekend. It was just a snap into sunlight from my rather poor quality camera phone but come out fortuitously.

Elsewhere on my 2014 travels,  the sunsets in Porec, Croatia in July were hard to take a bad photo of (see below), and this one from an autumn afternoon in RHS Wisley Gardens in Surrey got a lot of "likes" and comments on my Instagram account.

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