Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The rain falls hard on a humdrum town


It has become a family tradition to meet up with my sister Sabena and her partner Gary for a city break at the end of March; this year's destination was Manchester
 
The weather was distinctly Mancunian, but it would be foolish to go to the UK's North West at this time of year and not expect grey skies and rain.



We were certainly windswept in Salford, visiting the Imperial War Museum North and the Lowry.


Claudia's nearly as tall as her auntie these days.

Another beautiful visitor; I've never seen a swan diving like that before, its feet were enormous.


I lived in Salford between 1989 and 1992, just as the Quays began to be developed but before MediaCity existed. 
 
 
I didn't care for much for Manchester at the time; I found the city a hard place, edgy and intimidating, and it never felt like home. 

Revisiting it after many years (and since it's a mere hour away on the train, I really don't know why I haven't been back more often), I can appreciate the grandeur and vibrancy of the city centre.


The Town Hall is a magnificent example of Victorian Gothic.


Albert Square is named for Prince Albert, who has a memorial there...
 
 
while his missus is in Piccadilly Gardens...


crowned by pigeons and smelling of wee, poor old love. (Some things don't change, Piccadilly Gardens is still a bit rough.)


Hands up who can do an impression of Gladstone?

There are interesting architectural sights galore...


reminders of the city's political past...

 
and lovely public art works to admire.


The Central Library is gorgeous...


and so is the majestic Midland Hotel...


where we couldn't afford to stay, but we did manage to have a coffee and pretend to be guests for the purposes of photo-taking!


That's a commemorative plaque in the background showing Henry Royce and Charles Rolls, who were introduced to each other in the Midland Hotel in 1904. 
 

We all adore spending time with Beanie and The Bloob!


1970s cotton maxi skirt - vintage fair
Denim jacket, top and scarf  - charity shopped
Boots - retail

I'd better leave the rest of our Manchester adventures for another post, and get going with a massive blog reading/commenting catch-up...


  I'm horribly behind!
xxx

40 comments:

diaryofapennypincher said...

Amazing what you can see in a city if you just look up! All that lovely architecture. Love your chosen seat at the Midland, very vintage, and another great outfit too!

diaryofapennypincher said...

First!!

Vix said...

Yay! You're back! Manchester is gorgeous, the capital of the north! Such majestic architecture and yes, it's definitely changed for the better since I was a regular visitor in the 1980s.
I'd ask Jon but he was off his face in the Hacienda most the time he was there.
What great photos. You've captured Manc's beauty a treat despite the inclement weather.
Claudia has shot up, hasn't she?
Great to see all the family making an appearance.
Pour yourself a drink and take your time blog catching-up, you'l need another holiday if you do it all in one go.
Love ya! xxxxxxx

Fiona said...

Yes I've been to Manchester several times but like Jon I was usually off my face. When I was a hostie we had nightstops in MAN, the hotel was in Deansgate and shamefully we didn't manage to stagger much further than the nearest pub/club/curry house.
Thanks so much for showing us Manchester's 'best bits', some very beautiful architecture there. Lovely to see you en famille, your lot are getting to be pro's at posing. Hope you get time for sewing soon. xx PS Love the pic of Queen Vic with bird shit.

mondoagogo said...

I remember I liked Manchester when I visited, but it's been a long time since I did! I like a city that has trams, though. On one visit (for work) I stayed in the Britannia which looks grand like the Midland, but I remember being disturbed by the bathrooms which all had fake (plastic) red marble all over the walls -- it was like having a bath in a room made of streaky bacon, not very relaxing...

I see you commandeered that denim jacket from Claudia :)

(ps anyone else noticed the cute little dancing robot after the captcha?)

Ivy Black said...

I like Manchester. Haven't been since the Eighties I'm sorry to say, and I too was liken to Jon at the time! It's changed a fair bit I bet.
I was offered a place at Manchester Poly as was, but didn't take it. That's some lovely architecture and some very lovely family.
Loves ya!
xxxxxx

kaffesoester said...

What a beautiful city, very different from my expectations (all from the TV). I do like the modern bridge as well as the historic buildings.

I think you look very royal in that chair, in a vintage way! Your pattern mix is lovely, and the pose is definitely advanced level!

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Shame about the weather in Manchester, but that's Manchester isn't it? I've not been for over 25 years. I wonder if they still have a place called Afflecks Palace? That's all I remember. It's always interesting going back to a place after many years as different things are on your radar, (like architecture) and it's like seeing a place for the first time in a way.
Glad you had a lovely time. xxxx

Lesley Extance said...

A very interesting post Curtise and great pictures, have a great Easter and best wishes x

Goody said...

Everything I know about Manchester I learned from The Smiths and Joy Division-glad to see it isn't quite as bleak as it sounded.

You don't want to mess with a swan-they're mean!

Great photos, great smiles on everyone, so glad you had a nice visit. We just started our spring break and I'm already out of ideas for entertainment beyond, "Go dye some Easter eggs." Next year, can I just send Danny to you?

beate grigutsch said...

amazing buildings! love the spooky victorian architectural details!
i´m glad you and your family had fun together - tea at the hotel and all. and you proofed that you are a city girl - seeing a diving swan the first time :-)
in my childhood the corduroy fabric was called "manchester"!
xxxxxxxxxx

thorne garnet said...

geez, another beautiful city. Thanks for the tour.

That swan is being rather rude!

señora Allnut said...

always lovely to see what caught your eye!, architecture, landscapes, city life, everything looks picturesque and interesting!
wish you're having a nice time!
besos

Trudie said...

It's wonderful that you have such a tradition of adventure with your sister at the end of each month. Manchester looks wonderful, but I always think your country does and I'm also a fan of rainy grey days it never brings my mood down.

Diane said...

I love visiting Manchester but I wouldn't like to live there. It is a lot harder, edgier than Sheffield, but great for a break. My daughter spent her first year at Uni in Salford and it depressed her beyond belief! But it is a great place foe a visit. I love the Imperial War Museum in Salford. I did once go to Manchester and it didn't rain! (but Bazza Manilow was in town and he brought the sunshine) xxxx

Kezzie said...

When I went to Dedham Vale in February, I took a whole stream of swan-bum photos! Two teenagers were nearby discussing how they weed and were scrutinizing their undercarriage as they dived, searching for telltale portals! I found myself joining in just out of curiosity!
Lovely to see you and your family and sister together- she really does look like you despite differing hair!x

Kylie said...

Whose hogging the camera?
Nina?! ;)
xxx

Patti said...

Thank you for this - I've only driven through Manchester in the dead of night and completely lost. It's got some beautiful sights! And how darling do you all look together. xox

Jazzy Jack said...

You are such a whizz at building photos! I was inspired to have a go but mine need work!
So glad you had a lovely time away. Lovely to catch up with family isn't it. I have family 2.5 hrs away and we only see each other once or twice a year. Shameful Jack!
I do love that photo of you in the chair/throne...Queen Curtise :-) xo Jazzy Jack

PinkCheetahVintage said...

What a cool little trip!!!

Sue said...

More fabulous old buildings for me to enjoy, I thank you for another series of gorgeous photos with commentary. How cool is that chair you are sitting in/on, love it!!

Melanie said...

Manchester looks exactly like Vancouver except with great architecture and a long history. ???! Great photos of your two families - you are lucky everyone gets along so well. Too bad you can't take that chair home with you. It reminds me of a soundproof spy chair. You could always just skip to the new batch of blog posts so you don't burn out. People understand these things.

Vintage Bird Girl said...

Glorious pics, I'd probably love the steely grey weather over there! I am rather envious that you can be in another grand city in an hours time. Australia is SO big in comparison. Xx

Liz said...

I've never visited Manchester - looks like a great place for a day out!
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Darling Curtise,

So, this is what you have been up to.

What a fun time you all look to have enjoyed together. Yes, it is indeed at times such as these that one wonders why one has waited so long to repeat the visit. So much to see and do but often one overlooks what us on the doorstep in favour of pastures new.

The architecture of these Northern industrial towns is so very impressive. It shouts of success, importance and substance. The public buildings of Manchester are indeed a celebration of the greatest architects and architectural styles of the day and they continue to do so, often blending the old and new in excitingly visual ways.

It is always a good idea to take tea or coffee in grand hotels. Relatively inexpensively one can enjoy luxurious surroundings and perfectly appointed loos. You look very comfortable in the leather armchair!

Wishing you and your family all joy this Eastertide!

Miss Magpie said...

Unlike most of the above I have never been to Manchester. Looks like you had an ace trip, is it just me or does Gladstone look just a wee bit camp?

Angels have Red Hair said...

Glad you had a good time in Manchester ... looks like another one to pop on my list of "must visit one day"
xx

Olga Rani said...

Seems like the weather was not that bad after all, the photographs are really good. As always, it was interesting to have this mini photo tour along with you.

Porcelina said...

I've never been to Manchester, seems like it's a bit more historic than I thought it would be! x

Mim said...

Oooh, Manchester looks fun. We could never go into the centre when visiting the mother-in-law as we weren't sure about disabled accessibility, so the closest I ever got was the Trafford Centre! I always wanted to look around though. The North really does have the most wonderful Victorian buildings.

Suzanne Carillo said...

You got some great photos here.

My Grandfather was from Manchester, although I've never been. Now after looking at these I would like to visit one day.

bisous
Suzanne

Laurie Duncan said...

What lovely old architecture! I'm sure I could spend hours in that library alone! You all look like you had a great time! :)

Natalia Lialina said...

What a wonderful family trip! You and Sabena both look gorgeous, and... very different from each other. I admire your appreciation of architecture, it's always such a joy to read your travel posts with all the beautiful photos. Manchester looks like a grand city indeed. We too had a Spring break and traveled, can't wait to start working on 500 trip photos. :) xxxx

Forest City Fashionista said...

Never went to Manchester when I visited the UK, although I've always liked the sound of the name. It does have very impressive architecture (the Town Hall!) and art. Nice you got to spend some time with your sister. Have a lovely long weekend!

Mother of Reinvention said...

God, I haven't been to Manchester for more than 20 years. Thanks for all the beautiful photos. Looks like you all had a great day. To be honest I never liked Manchester either. It was always a bit rough and scary and full of people trying to rip you off. Didn't have very good experiences visiting at all. I am sure that it is not all like that or even like that now. Lovely buildings. Xxxx

Bety said...

Cool trip! The photos are really good.Lovely buildings!

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Beth Waltz said...

Manchester is indeed very gray and very imposing! However, you've enlivened its mood with those snaps of a swan's dabbling bottom and HM Queen Victoria's avian ornament. And how very much at ease you appear in that hooded chair, Curtise, so "to the 'manner' born"!

Shawna McComber said...

Any time anyone says Manchester I immediately have the song from Hair in my head, or at least the line 'Manchester England England..' Hair is my favourite musical so any excuse to sing its songs works for me. I LOVE your maxi skirt and the whole outfit. The architecture is rather stunning too. It's always fun to see pics of your family.
I am always behind in blog reading-can't ever catch up. I am also behind in doing the washing up but guess which one I would rather be working on? xoxo

The Vintage Knitter said...

I've never been to Manchester although we keep planning a trip there when we're staying in Preston to see family. It does look like its a city full of beautiful architecture - especially the Midland Hotel.

Have a great Easter break with your family xxx

Trees said...

So many beautiful photos - I don't even know what to say! Manchester does look like a beautiful town, hopefully at some point I can visit the UK and see all these amazing places.