The Commute

We’re right in the middle of winter, the season of short days and long nights–at least where I live. My working pattern means I get to see the rising and setting sun on my daily commute.

Sunrise photographed through the tram window, on the way to work, above. Sunset photographed from the tram window on the way home, below.

The tramline has some marvellous views in this section, inaccessible by any other means. It makes the sardine-like conditions of the rush hour much more pleasant.

2019 Recap

Last year’s Recap turned out to be quite a good post, so let’s do it again!

January, a foggy walk to the tram stop in the morning. Taken with my smartphone, this shot has not been edited and was not taken in black and white. I like my gloomy pics.

April, Heaton Park. Ferns and out of focus ducks. You know me and ducks.

August, PIccadilly Gardens in Manchester. My favourite type of shot, sun through the trees, with added pigeons basking on the street light. Pigeons became a new feature on my blog this year.

September, a weird photo of the fence around a new car park behind my house, with, again, out focus animal, my neighbour’s cat. Autumn this year has been really good on the blog, if I say so myself (and if I don’t, who will?), hence my choice of a Recap pic.

Much of my 2019 can be summed up in one word–Yorkshire! I’ve had four trips to places in Yorkshire (Leeds, York, Hebden Bridge and Haworth), which provided a good chunk of the blog this year. Aside from Yorkshire, I also enjoyed visiting Chester and Marple.

And I finally made tribute posts for my favourite author Agatha Christie and my favourite fictional character, Anne Shirley.

I’ve been to two anti-Brexit marches in autumn, one here in Manchester during the Conservative Party Conference, the other in London. Yes, I know we lost, but that’s not the point here. I’m glad I went and don’t regret a single second and would do it all over again. Strangely enough, it wasn’t looking so bad at first. Brexit was delayed three times. Then came the election. You know the result of that. I don’t know why it happened that way, how the Tories won such a majority, all I know is that I feel crushed–and I’m not the only one. (This also proves that any year-end reviews should not be done at the beginning of December, because so much can still take place.)

Elsewhere in pop culture, Game of Thrones came to an end (unpopular opinion, I was okay with the ending… but I’m not posting any spoilers here) and Marvel Cinematic Universe reached its milestone with Avengers Endgame, which became the highest grossing movie of all time! And Amazon Prime blessed us with the hilarious and brilliant Good Omens. The song of the year seems to be Old Town Road and I’m sure you agree with me that it’s a banger.

At the end of August, Extinction Rebellion organised a Northern Rebellion here in Manchester, where they took over Deansgate for the weekend. Half of the road was closed to the traffic and they set up stalls and stuff–and it was beautiful. It made me wish more than anything for a car-less Deansgate (the street has a lot of restaurants and there is also a giant Waterstones store). Apparently the city council said it could be done, if they found a different route for buses that pass that way.

Also, like, not to be that person, but I knew about Extinction Rebellion before it was cool. As you can see, my post of their sticker is from November 2018, when most people only heard of them in 2019. Ha!

Speaking of climate activism, I cannot not mention Greta Thunberg. She has so much courage, I couldn’t do what she does, I couldn’t put myself out there, especially not at such a young age. Keep going, Greta!

So here we are, end of the year and end of the decade. What will the roaring twenties bring?

I wish everyone happy and prosperous new year.

Autumn 2019 Collection

I decided to make a recap post of some of the nicest looking photos I took this autumn. I’ve been lucky with weather; even though we still had a lot of rain, there were enough dry and sunny days to take some good shots. Although you’ll see two of these were taken indoors.

An oak.

A bowl of apples, my favourite fruit.

A cup of pumpkin spice latte. Normally I drink black coffee only; this for me is a once-a-year indulgence.

Two collages. The top one is made from smartphone shots taken on a walk, the bottom one is pictures from Heaton Park this autumn.

Another smartphone shot; this is Cathedral Gardens with Chetham School of Music in the background and the fountain where ducks occasionally hang out.

And I end this with two shots taken around the Manchester Cathedral.

Have a good November!

This is what you get for going to London for People’s Vote March…

Only Sir Patrick Stewart speaking on the stage!

This was my fifth anti Brexit march (I covered the first three on the blog before; the fourth one, which I didn’t post about, took place at the end of September in Manchester during the Conservative Party Conference). One sometimes wonders what the point is, why we still bother, but we do because it’s not the end yet.

I spent the whole time with three other guys from our coach from Manchester. As the coach dropped us off at the Embankment instead of Hyde Park, we decided to walk straight to Parliament Square, where the stage was set up for the rally and which was the end point of the march. So, we didn’t do any actual marching but we saw all the speakers. It’s the complete opposite of last year, where I did march but couldn’t even get to Parliament Square because it was so packed, the police had to turn people away at Whitehall. It’s really good to have experienced both.

I didn’t plan to blog about this march, or any other march again, I don’t want to clog my blog with Brexit posts (it seems to me there are too many but what can I do when I feel it every single day?) but at the same time, I feel like I need to give it a shout out. Truth is, it was an amazing, fantastic, beautiful experience and probably one of the best days of my life, despite getting up dead early to catch the coach at 6:30 and spending altogether about 11 hours on the said coach.

I would do it again.

If you want, you can read more about the march here.

Elizabeth Gaskell House

Elizabeth Gaskell House is in Plymouth Grove, Manchester and was a home of, obviously, Elizabeth Gaskell, the writer, who lived here between 1850 and 1865. After recently reading her book North and South, I thought I should go and see it, so I did.

And here’s the pics:

This is the study of William Gaskell, Elizabeth’s husband, a Unitarian minister, teacher and and all round remarkable person.

The drawing room:

Pictures on the wall in the drawing room. Portrait of Elizabeth on the left, the one on the right you may recognise as fellow Victorian author Charlotte Brontë , who was Elizabeth’s friend. After Charlotte’s death, Elizabeth wrote The Life of Charlotte Brontë, biography of Charlotte on request of Charlotte’s father Patrick Brontë. (My Haworth Parsonage post is here, if interested.)

The dining room:

Table in the dining room where Elizabeth did her writing work:

The contents of the house are not originals. Elizabeth and William had four daughters, two of whom never married and lived here till their death. The last one, Margaret, nicknamed Meta, died in 1913 and after that the house and its contents were sold. Later, the house was used as accommodation for students (Plymouth Grove is not far from the universities), until it was acquired by Manchester Historic Buildings Trust and reconstructed to look as much as possible as how it did during Elizabeth’s life.

The Gaskells used to have a lot of famous visitors, aside from Charlotte Brontë these included Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens and John Ruskin. You look at that nice tea set and think, hmmm, I bet there was a lot of tea spilt!

Here’s the link the Elizabeth Gaskell House website, which has all the info.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s books are all now in public domain so you can read them for free or download them from Gutenberg. I’ve only read North and South so far, it’s her most famous novel and it’s a fantastic story but… on my dears, 19th century literature is… well, 19th century literature. Why use two words when you can use twenty in a sentence, eh? I don’t think I’m ever going to not struggle with it *long sigh*. But in the case of North and South, it’s worth it. The 2004 miniseries is pretty good too and it’s on Netflix, so go check it out. (Also, Richard Armitage as the love interest Mr Thornton, need I say more?)

Have you read any Elizabeth Gaskell? Have you visited the house? Tell me in the comments!

I forgot my blog’s anniversary…

I’ve not been on my blog for a few days and so it passed me by that it was its birthday on 2nd September.

Reposted image – four years, four candles

I get “dry” phases when I don’t post on my blog (because I don’t have anything to post, or I don’t know what to post or I’m too tired to post). This time around it’s not exactly the case as there is something I want to post about, only it’s more text-heavy so, as is ever the case with me and writing, it’s going to take me time to come up with the words.

Well that’s it, I don’t have anything else. Here’s my cat in a box:

And thus the prophecy comes true…

Content warming – extreme grossness, though it’s probably too late if you’ve already seen the pic in the image preview.

I can’t for sure declare this was a prophecy, but I think it was, because what else could it have been?

I first saw this piece of street art on the very day of the Brexit referendum, 23 June 2016, at the Shudehill Metrolink stop. I remember the day quite clearly, I wasn’t at work because it was my week off (this was really lucky, though I didn’t book that week because of the referendum). I was going to Didsbury to take some pictures and saw the poster from the tram. Two days later I went to Shudehill to photograph it, though by then it was, obviously, too late. People didn’t heed the warning on the poster.

It seemed totally wild then. Boris Johnson was only an MP that campaigned for Brexit and Donald Trump only a candidate, who many people still believe would lose to Hillary Clinton.

I don’t know if I myself believed it, though I had a feeling things would turn out badly. But that’s not important now.

There was another one underneath.

He doesn’t even need that wrecking ball, he is one himself.

Some Writing – A New Blog

I’m pleased to announce a new blog for my writing, called Some Writing.

It’s just some short pieces of fiction (usually flash fiction) I felt should be released to the world. It’s only appropriate to make a post about it here.

I’m looking forward to see what I can come up with. I’m no writer, I may sometimes have an idea or two, that’s all.

This blog will continue with photography.