Miscellaneous

Manchester: One Year On…

#ManchesterTogether

It has been a year since the Manchester Arena attack and Manchester remembers the victims.

manchester together5

All bees must buzz… As I mentioned previously, bee is a symbol of Manchester.

manchester together4

Trees have been placed in the city centre between Victoria Station and St Ann’s Square, on which people can hang hexagon-shaped cards with written wishes.

manchester together2

Messages in chalk in St Ann’s Square.

manchester together1

Gloomscapes, Outdoors

Gloomscapes #17

In last week’s Gloomscapes post, I was initially going to add one more picture of a broken window–the one I am posting now. But as I was looking at it, an idea started forming in my head and I concluded that not only did it deserve its own post, it deserved its own piece of fiction.

This is not meant to be a regular thing, I just got inspired. Enjoy! (Or not, as I say.)

broken window3

Nobody knew how Zara got that stone.

The girls were kept in what used to be a convent. An imposing, forbidding stone building, newly installed security cameras in each corner. Thick walls, windows high and narrow, with bars on them. Little sunlight got through; the residential wing faced north. Inside, all the rooms were identical. Floors of dark hardwood, walls painted slate grey.  A bed in each corner, metal-framed, with a thin mattress and an old worn-out blanket. No pillows. One single lightbulb hung from the ceiling. Heavy black doors were locked every night at nine o’clock by the guard on duty, unlocked again at six in the morning. The girls wore long grey dresses, starched white blouses with high collars and black shoes. The oldest ones were no more than sixteen years old. Those were the only ones who still remembered books, music, films and TV, videos, photographs. Now, all they were allowed to carry around was the Party Manifesto pamphlets. As if they didn’t know it by heart already, as if it hadn’t been engraved into their minds. To build and protect our homeland, be prepared. Always Prepared! Yet they carried it, every single one of them, dog-eared, covered with greasy fingerprints and doodles, here and there quotes and passages highlighted in neon colours, from the time before even neon highlighters were banned. Desperate attempts to mark their own individuality.

Afterwards, Zara’s roommates swore they didn’t notice anything unusual. Zara was a quiet girl who kept to herself. It seemed she had wandered off behind the gardener’s shed, the only place where such stones could be found, during the afternoon break, when even the strictest of teachers couldn’t deny themselves the indulgence of little rest. She hid the stone in her sock, at the back of her calf, no doubt thankful this time for the long skirt. She kept it there throughout the afternoon activities and dinner, until it was time to return to the rooms. Half an hour after the lights went out, she slipped out of her bed, clutching the stone in her hand, tiptoed to the window and with all the force she could gather in her sixteen-year-old body, smashed the glass.

#KeepOnGloomin’

Disclaimer: the above text is entirely fictional. The photographed building is not a former convent and no girls are kept there. The writing is merely a work of my imagination and was inspired by the picture of the broken window.
Miscellaneous, Random and Weird Phone Shots

Random and Weird Phone Shots – What’s the Deal with Avocado Toast?

I don’t know what the deal is with avocado toast. I just eat it for breakfast.

 

avocado toast 2
avocado toast, guilty as charged

It had, in fact, already been my breakfast choice before that dude Someone Or Other blamed the Millennials’ inability to buy a house on their penchant for avocado toast. I thought it was so absurd, because, well… I’m not a Millennial (Gen X maybe, if I even fit into any of those boxes at all) and I’m not a hipster. I like what I like and hate what I hate, regardless of whether it’s cool to like or hate it. I rent but I don’t care about buying a house. I switched to avotoast from my previous bacon sandwich because I needed a healthier choice after it turned out I had high cholesterol. So, that’s that.

I also never bought an avocado toast in my life, because I make my own. And this is coming from a person that spends minimum time in the kitchen, no “I cook everything from scratch” from me. It’s dead easy, you just get an avocado, peel it, mash it in a bowl and add salt and pepper. One avocado can last a whole week. As can be seen from the pic, I like it with a slice or two of tomato. Yummmm.

So, make of it what you will.

PS: Also, since I’m on the topic of breakfast, I never eat cereals. I hate those things. There, I said it.

Animals, Outdoors

Bee-live It!

So, as usual I went to Heaton Park with my camera. And would you bee-lieve my luck, this is what I got:

bee

I was taking a landscape shot when this wonderful bee-ing landed in the flower. I’ve bee-n (okay, I stop now) seeing headlines and articles about decline of bee numbers lately; this is worrying–without bees, the humans can pack it. So here is a list of 20 facts about bees and how we can protect them.

Bee is also a symbol of the city of Manchester. This comes from 19th century and the Industrial Revolution, with the hard workers of the city, the “worker bees”, being a sort of a “hive” of activity. After the Arena attack last year, it also became a symbol of unity.

From the memorial at St Ann’s Square, shortly after the attack:

manchester bee memorial

If you visit Manchester now, don’t be surprised to see an image of a bee in shop windows and on buildings.

Street art in Northern Quarter:

manchester bees streetart

Since I’m on the topic of bees, I have just remembered a favourite TV show from my childhood–Maya the Bee. I’m talking about the 1975 anime version (obviously, not the new series on Netflix). I don’t know how well the series is known in the Anglosphere, if at all. It was German-Japanese co-production and managed to break through the thick Iron Curtain and get broadcasted in several Communist-bloc countries, including former Czechoslovakia (there is both Slovak and Czech version). We used to watch it like mad, I recall they used to show it as part of the Sunday morning kids’ TV slot and on Monday morning at school we would ask each other “did you watch Maya the Bee yesterday?”

Maja the bee old
screenshot from YouTube

She meant a lot to all of us.