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!

Pigeon Takeover

More pigeons!

Last Friday (3rd May), Piccadilly Gardens, an area in Manchester city centre, got evacuated due to a suspicious package. The police and bomb disposal squad were called, did their thing, the device was not viable, nothing bad happened and the culprit was arrested. So what has this got to do with pigeons?

I went out on my lunch break to see what Piccadilly Gardens looked like when it was empty. It was empty of people, but not of all living creatures, as you can see on these shots.

This wasn’t more than half an hour after the evacuation. It’s amazing how fast they took over once people were gone. But that is more of a topic for my Gloomscapes series.

Alan Turing Memorial, Manchester

It’s in Sackville Gardens, a small park bordering Canal Street, aka the area in Manchester commonly known as Gay Village.

Alan Turing was a brilliant computer scientist and mathematician, who worked on first computers at the University of Manchester and during WW2 was part of a team at Bletchley Park, working for the Government Code and Cypher School, cracking Germany’s military codes. Unfortunately he was not treated very well and was prosecuted because of his sexuality. He was granted a posthumous pardon in 2013.

Essentially, Alan Turing is the godfather of all modern computers.