Two canals, a river network that runs up northern tributaries to Lancashire, and south towards Cheshire
These canals and rivers meet up near the old dock at Salford Quays, formerly “Manchester Docks”, I walk that way when I either head for the tram bound for Eccles or when i’m on duty at the Northern Branch of the Imperial War Museum
The Canal itself leads on through Manchester and other parts of the county.
The opportunities by the waterside have seen the waterways cleaned up and provide leisure for people all year round. Narrow boats are a regular sight on the canal network, and moorings line the route all the way to the point where the Irwell and Mersey meet
Opposite the Canal Basin at Castlefield lie the Forum where open air events take place, The Museum of Science and Industry, with its Engines, Cars, and Aeroplanes and the Roman Wall, where the Roman Fort remains are in situ.
The scene Blackpool promenade – a local fish and chip emporium
family of four – Mum,Dad and two boys eating , outside in the summer sun – what else but fish? – haddock and chips
the two lads are asked would they like an ice cream
they say yes – meanwhile in the distance a seagull is watching from a safe distance
One asks for Strawberry the other Vanilla – and the boys wait patiently for their ice creams to be delivered.
The Fish shops cat appears into the Blackpool sunshine, purring away in the hope for some scraps of fish. She follows the waitress, from just a few paces away, as the seagull makes its move. The seagull swoops in – and is stopped by the cat – just as the waitress delivers the ice creams
Chaos ensues, as the cat and seagull rumble for goodies under poor waitresses feet. The Ice Creams land off target and an odd plate of leftovers lands on the floor
Cue the owner – avec sweeping brush and an assistant with two more ice creams – on the house – Cut to a Cat with the spoils and the Seagull with the scraps.
You mention the word pudding to me and i’ll ask you a basic question
Sweet or Savoury ?
You see, regular readers of this blog know I hail from that part of North West England known as Greater Manchester – or if you’re post Manchester County – I’m a Salford Lad from Lancashire.
Now the region I live in is the home to some fantastic traditional recipes, ranging from Lancashire Hotpot to Traditional Sunday Roast. But in addition to pies and pasties (which we adopted from our Cornish cousins) we also have Savory puddings
These are round suet pastry parcels which are filled (in the whole) with Steak and Kidney and then steamed in a water bath before being served up with vegetables of your choosing…Cut them open after cooking and the juices from the meat turn into a rich gravy. They go well with any vegetable – but nip to the local chippy and you’ll find them in the whole sold with chips.
They go down nicely with a drop of HP Sauce.
Of course – we also have puddings in a sweet sense too. Sponge is my favourite (its a cake), again it can be steamed , but some people prefer their sponges oven baked – so whatever layer your sponge cake looks like comes out like the top layer is protected. Various fruits can go into a sponge cake, everything from Bananas to Apples, my particular favourite – Strawberry Jam particularly if its served with Vanilla Custard. A delicious Tea time treat.
regional favourites from the area ? There’s the regional variation on the tartlet, with jam and sponge covered in marzipan fondant in bakewell whilst up the road, in greater Manchester, the sponge goes and the jam is layered with custard and coconut.
And my favourite school dinner pudding when I was younger – Chocolate Sponge and Chocolate Custard.
Today I took my camera on the tram to Bury, and met up with fellow Imperial War Museum (North) volunteers at the regimental museum of the Lancashire Fusiliers.
The Lancashire Fusiliers fought in battles all over the world during their time as a regiment in the United Kingdom, and this museum documented some of the stories as well as the history of the regiment. The bronze globe reminded me of IWM North’s building – “the shattered globe” as the wire frame showed all the places where the regiment fought in conflict.
During world war one , and the Gallipoli campaign, Six Victoria Crosses were issued to men of the Lancashire fusiliers to honour the regiment for their bravery. They’re known as the “Six VCs before breakfast”. A painting depicting the scene is on display by this picture.
For those who needed to know about the army and its structures – a helpful guide was on hand to show how the companies of men were formed.
In addition to the Uniforms – several weapons were on display, such as the Rifles used by the men of the fusiliers. In addition to our walk around, we were given an interesting talk by a member of the fusiliers who now works at the museum.
The Fusiliers are now part of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. This museum honoured those who fought and served in the regiment.
There is a memorial garden in the grounds of the museum containing the local cenotaph, whilst research facilities are available to search through museum archives.
My little sister called on Mum and Dad to look after my nephews this weekend, which meant I’ve been home alone … I filled my time this Saturday by taking a little trip on one of the new lines of Manchester’s Metrolink System.
Upon landing in Rochdale town centre, I took a walk through the town market and saw the restoration of Rochdale’s historic bridge, which crosses the river roch, which gives the town its name. I reached the Pioneers Museum on Toad Lane (Catchy Name!), which gave a comprehensive tale of the Co-operative society, its aims , values and people behind it in its infancy. It reminded me upon arrival of Matthew Tomlinson’s shop in Lark Hill Place in Salford. The Museum’s front door was dressed as if you were back in time in the 19th Century, and beyond that weights and measures of the time were displayed as you were greeted by an original counter marked out with the 7 principles of the Rochdale pioneers…
As part of the first world war centenary – there was a lot of focus on what families sent to loved ones out on the front line as well as tales of the co-operative staff sent out to serve on the allied lines during the war.
There was also a section in the museum on the Pioneers work with the Woodcraft folk, an organisation similar to the scouts, without the early military aspect.
I got back on the tram at Rochdale station and headed for my next stop, Oldham Gallery. which was brimming with artworks from renowned artists from Oldham and the surrounding area. I enjoyed looking at the paintings, and the sculpture studio was a pleasant surprise – the bronze of LS Lowry raised a grin. Equally the tales of famous sons and daughters of Oldham made me smile, and there was a brief military exhibit in relation to the first world war – as part of the centenary celebrations organised by the Imperial War Museum*. I had to hold my stomach to get through the taxidermy exhibit though….Might be nice to look at, but Owls and Birds of prey should be flying over the Pennines – not be on display in it’s museums.
I raised a smile at the wall of famous sons of Oldham – I am a fan of Eric Sykes’ comedy and enjoyed reading his story in the museum, I liked the goon shows he helped write with Spike Milligan.
I finished the visit off by having my lunch in the Museum Café ….A lovely sandwich salad – Really nice food and friendly staff. After a brief walk around the town centre and enjoyed the Pennine views, I headed for home with my memories of the day stored on my camera. Best bit of the day enjoying the pennine views and the lovely gardens in both of these Lancashire towns.
*small addendum – I volunteer at the Northern Branch of the Imperial War Museum during the week, so it was great to see what other museums were doing as part of the centenary celebrations.
In a part of the corridor, just by the stairs by the front door, lies a pair of Old Black Boots. It’s been quite a while since they have been walking. And if their owner were truthful – they could do with a bit of a clean. The hooks holding the laces crusted with dirt, their leather is worn from the passing of time having seen many a moorland excursion. Lakeland water now pools at the toes.
But they still feel right. As if once put on, they could take their owner from their Salford home out to the hills of Perpignan and back again, covering miles along the way and without a mutter or moan.
Rugby Boots and Training shoes might be fine for a sportsman at Old Trafford but they don’t cut it on the fields of the West Yorkshire Moors. If these boots could talk, the tales they would tell – of covering rocky paths once stepped by Roman Legionaries, of campfire ditties sung round old ancient stones, and of moonlight illuminating mugs of steaming hot Beef Tea.
They’d sit outside tents so the groundsheet stayed clean, and leave their owner a morning surprise if they hadn’t been left under the flysheet. They would walk for miles as their owner crossed field and moor, praying that they would avoid the hidden cowpats. Of course they’d get cleaned on one day, just before parade, as the group amassed around a solitary flagpole.
Where they’ll go next, is anyone’s guess. But for now they just sit on the varnished wooden shelf, looking quite a sight with dark brown Yorkshire mud entrapped in the soles. They look at themselves in the tall hallway mirror and think of the streams they’ve crossed and the moors they’ve run, the bracken broken for kindling and stiles climbed in fun.
If you could split your time evenly between two places, and two places only, which would these be?
Now – this is a toughie
You see , there’s a few places in Europe I’ve visited and I’ve enjoyed them equally. From the Hedonism of the Spanish Island of Eivissa (to use its proper title – Ibiza if you prefer the other) to the Moorish Delights of Oludeniz in Turkey.
However – If I had to – i’d be spending my time between Lancaster and Zakynthos Town…Right about now you’re probably asking Why?
Lancaster is the last City before the Lancashire border meets up with Cumbria and the Lake District – its home to some quite beautiful countryside and is quite picturesque in its own way with Forests and Parks, there’s also some brilliant history behind the City and has its own Castle….. If I wasn’t living in Manchester – I’d be there.
Zakynthos – A Greek Island, that has plenty of things going for it – Wonderful beaches, Great scenery, clear blue skies and Cuisine that is brilliant…the locals are warm and friendly, and its the combination of fine local food, wonderful tavernas and stunning landscapes that made me fall in love with the place…The Blue Flagged beaches aren’t half bad either.
Don’t pay for a pedicure – the fish in the sea will do that for you! 🙂
Then after playing on the beach – sit down and watch the sun setting – before heading off for your dinner – trust me, it’s well worth it.