Look Up, The Skies Are Blue

We’ve had some nice blue skies in Manchester this spring. I have, as ever, been taking pictures. Here I want to offer you two contrasting photographs.

Picture of a blue sky and white clouds with modern architecture and street lights:

Picture of a blue sky and white clouds framed by trees:

And no, they don’t fight. As I always say, both is good.

New Islington, Manchester

I finally made my way there.

New Islington is a new development area near the city centre. (More info here.)

As I walked along the canal with my camera, I was asked by people to take their picture–all of three times. It does happen–but not three times during the same walk, in the span of about 10 minutes! I felt like I was living in a story.

The first time was two middle-aged men sitting on a bench; the second time two young men sitting on a bench–one of them actually stood up and approached me and even offered me money! (I said no, it’s just a hobby)–the third time was a group of young people from Liverpool. I did actually take their picture, but with one of their phones, not my camera.

What made me depressed, though, was that on two out of those three occasions I was asked “where are you from”, after speaking a bare one or two lines. I either ignore those type of questions or answer “Europe” or, like yesterday to those two older men (who were clearly Indian and spoke accented English themselves), “planet Earth”. Look, I hate my accent as much as you do and yeah, twenty years of living here I should not be speaking like that, but what can I do? Speaking is a skill I always lacked. Writing is my more of my thing. I don’t know what I should do, book some voice coaching lessons or what…

Well, this post escalated somewhere it shouldn’t have, so uh… hope you like the pictures. It’s been a nice sunny weekend here in Manchester!

A Murder Mystery. In Pictures.

You are invited to Heaton Hall, the country seat of Lord Ballingdon, for a weekend of good old fashioned fun.

The house is imposing and painted cheerful yellow.

After dinner, the host informs his guests he prepared a fun murder mystery game. It kicks off the next morning.

And so the next morning, after breakfast–rich, delicious full English–Lord Ballingdon gives his instructions.

You are to find the dead body.

It is no easy task. The grounds are vast and the body could be anywhere.

But that doesn’t discourage you. Let’s start!

Careful it gets steep!

You think the body might have rolled down this hill. But there’s nothing at the bottom.

Ooh look, a bench! Not very comfortable sitting on that stone. You reckon the victim must have sat here at some point, before they were killed.

Careful now!

Were they pushed off the ha-ha? If so, the murderer must have moved the body because it is not here.

You check under the ferns for clues. Nothing here.

Aaah, look, a folly. You bet that’s where the body was hidden.

The folly is locked. You peer through the windows, but the only thing you see is a broken electric heater.

It occurs to you that the body might actually be inside the house. Your host never said it was on the grounds.

Hmmm, your host… This is the first time you’ve been invited to Lord Ballingdon’s party. You’ve heard of him a lot, of course, everyone gushes how entertaining he is, people leave his gatherings with smiles on their faces. And he’s so charming! “He’s the biggest prankster I’ve ever met,” says your cousin, and coming from him, it means something. Your cousin has been playing pranks on people since he was eight.

Prankster. Of course!

You got it. Murder? Here’s the murder:

Lord Ballingdon bursts into booming laughter. You win the game.


Pictures are from Heaton Park in Manchester. The house is indeed called Heaton Hall, but it is not a seat of any lord, as it belongs to the city council. Lord Ballingdon is a fictional character. No murder mystery games take place at Heaton Park, however the place does share initials with the great Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, so make of it what you will.

The Cage at Lyme Park

It’s not a literal cage, it’s just named that way.

Lyme Park is a huge estate to the south-east of Manchester, near the village of Disley, Cheshire. It was recommended to me ages ago but it wasn’t until I got some time off work this June that I finally made a visit there.

I ended up with around 140 photographs, which for my outings is pretty average; but now I’m struggling with what to post on the blog. So I’m going to split them into groups, same as I did with my trip to Haworth. This post is dedicated to The Cage, a structure on a top of a hill. Climbing up there took effort, not gonna lie, but the result was worth it.

More pictures from Lyme Park will follow.

ETA: When I made this post, I was either too tired or too lazy to add more info about The Cage, so I’m adding it now.

The Cage was built by the warrior priest, Sir Piers V, in 1524, and was used either as a hunting lodge or a watchtower. In 17th century it was a holding prison for poachers awaiting trial, and this is where its name comes from. In the 1730s, Giacomo Leoni rebuilt it to make it more hospitable, so that it could be used as a banqueting room. Later it was a home for estate workers.

York Minster

It is the undoubtedly magnificent cathedral of York–and here I give you the pics.

Dean’s Park. It was wort it coming here in autumn, for sure.

Inside shots:

In addition to the normal entry fee (£11.50, valid for 12 months), you can also purchase a trip to the tower for an extra fiver. This means climbing up 275 steps. When I was offered this, my immediate thought was, I probably won’t regret it, so I said yes.

I didn’t regret it.

Although when the woman selling the tickets told me about 275 steps, it never occurred to me it would be this:

I’ve never climbed that high up a spiral staircase, so yay for another new experience!

Trips up the tower are done in groups at regular intervals, so I just joined the next available one.

Reward in the form of panoramatic view of York.

Friends Meeting House, Lancaster

Greetings, this is another repost.

This is Friends Meeting House in Lancaster. The building featured previously in my post Things That Look Like Faces, which was my contribution to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

I don’t have any more photos of this building, so the bonus here is going to be this sign on the side of the house on the opposite side of street.

When I took these pictures, I had no idea what Friends Meeting was–I even feared I was not supposed to actually photograph that house and was doing something naughty. That’s why I only took the one sole pic. Now, of course, I know it’s the Quakers and it seems disrespectful to be using their meeting house for things-that-look-like-faces type of internet thing.

Therefore, a repost/remix.