Beginnings of Spring in the City

At least I hope so, it’s certainly looking that way. It is a bit too early–these pictures were taken on the same day as the Peaky Blinders sets ones of the previous post, so the penultimate day in February. They’re all from St John’s Garden, a little park in Central Manchester, on the edge of Castlefield.

Daffodils!

See that crow in the tree? (It seems to be my thing, birds in trees.) It was cawing its head off, but what was funny was that it sounded hoarse, as if it had a sore throat. I can’t describe it any other way. People were looking at it and laughing.

Peaky Blinders Sets in Castlefield, Manchester

If you’re a fan of Peaky Blinders, you probably know that Season 6, recently announced as the final, is being filmed now. Some of it shot here in Manchester, as the architecture offers the perfect environment for the interwar Birmingham that is the show’s setting.

My phone notifications informed me that filming was taking place in Castlefield, so I thought, let me go there to check it out this Saturday. So I did. Not by the order of the Peaky Blinders, only by the order of me. (Before you ask, no, I didn’t see any actors.) This is a selection of pics I took:

I like the props; the chains, the rope, the barrels, the crates, everything.

And last but not least, the Garrison, pub frequented by the members of the Peaky Blinders.

With green screen.

I didn’t want to take my camera; all the pics are taken with my smartphone. It turned out it was better anyway–the phone’s lens is small enough to fit between the bars of the barriers.

I had not watched the show yet when they filmed all the previous seasons, so I’m really lucky that I got a chance to see the sets for the final season. There were supposed to be seven altogether, but due to coronavirus they shortened it to six.

Manchester has been a popular location for filming, among others, some Captain America The First Avenger scenes were filmed here. This article gives more details.

Hand Sanitiser Tied To A Tree

You can’t get more 2020 than this picture.

Of course, you find hand sanitisers at all sorts of places these days but what’s funny about this one is that it’s installed there temporarily. As you are no doubt able to observe, these are market stalls. Markets in Piccadilly Gardens only open Wednesday to Saturday (maybe Sunday, but I have no idea, I’ve not been to town on a Sunday in years). So when the markets are not there, neither is the hand sanitiser. I just love it so much.

Manchester In Lockdown

I took a few pics of Manchester after lockdown while I was still going to work (I’m classed as a key worker).

Piccadilly Gardens:

Pigeons have now taken over the town (I’ve seen that happen before, albeit briefly), though I wonder how they’ll get fed, as with no people in town eating, there are no crumbs left for them.

Is there any better sign of the bleakness of the times we live in than a closed McDonald’s?

Market Street:

Written in chalk on the pavement:

Entrance to Arndale from Exchange Square.

Printworks–I’ve never seen it shut down in all the 17 years I’ve lived in Manchester.

Well, here’s your gloomscapes, the Universe whispers to which I respond: I did not want this! I only like it when it’s fictional! I only to like to imagine it!

I used to joke often about the upcoming end of the world, never did I imagine it would happen for real. In the future, we will talk about the before and after. Everyone will know someone who has lost someone to the virus.

How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

Bastille, Pompeii

The only way is to hope that the world will change for the better–and work towards it.

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.

Christmas in the City

I’ve taken a few shots with my new Motorola One Zoom of the festive Manchester, so I thought I’d make a post of them. The phone shoots quite decently in the dark, which is something I still haven’t learnt to do.

Some pics of the Christmas markets, which have now wrapped up.

This last one is from inside the Printworks. So good of Iorek Byrnison to grace us with a visit! I bet that scarf was a gift from Lyra. 😀 😀 😀

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!

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!