Carers Week 2019

It’s like waiting for a bus. You go ages doing the same old thing, week in week out, then everything happens at once. That’s Carers Week for you. Good fun but I’m half glad it’s over, I’m knackered!

First off, a trip to the Bridgewater Hall for the Halle Orchestra performing The Lark Rising, including a mini tour and buffet. What a treat. What a spectacular building and how lucky are we to have such talented musicians in our city. The ice-cream tubs (I mean it would be rude not to) were divine.Next up, Walking Football at Manchester City Training Stadium. Walking Football, if you didn’t know, is an actual thing that people do. The game has its own set of rules, even its own league and the Man City trainers run these sessions twice a week. It was a brilliant afternoon, the training facility was awesome and the buffet… delicious.The third event on my list was an Italian meal at Dom’s Tavola Calda on Deansgate. I decided to make a day of it and took an early tram into town. Had a rare mooch around the Arndale before meandering through M&S to the restaurant.Tucking in into Italian??

I soon spotted someone I knew, plonked myself down and had great time. Fabulous atmosphere, like being on a works do. Finished with a tiramisu as light as air, washed down with a glass of vino blanco – bellissimo!

Finally, and much needed after all that food, the week rounded up with a brisk walk, courtesy of Manchester and Salford Ramblers, around Salford Quays and Media City. It was easy to get to on the tram and the weather was perfect.

The walk took us past the Imperial War Museum and Ordsall Hall, both of which are free. I had a meander through the Blue Peter Garden and a nosy around the Lowry Shopping Centre. Thoroughly impressed and I’ll definitely go back.Somewhere near Salford Quays

There were lots of other things going on that week that I didn’t get to but a massive thanks to the organisations involved for their time, funding, facilities and hard work.  I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to get out, have some fun and meet new people.My fellow walkers outside Ordsall Hall

Carers Week isn’t a one-off. There are regular meetings, trips out, free training sessions, coffee mornings and activities going on all across Manchester all through the year and you can easily access them as well as get advice, information and support.

Not sure if you’re a carer? This might help…If you are local to Harpurhey/Moston, workshops run by Manchester Carers Network have been held at Broadhurst Community Centre. Manchester Carers Forum hold monthly meetings at The Avenue Library and Learning Centre in Blackley, Age Exchange run an activity club at EachStep on Charlestown Road and there are rumours that Manchester Carers Centre will be running sessions at Harpurhey Wellbeing Centre on Church Lane starting next month.

Further information on other localities and details of future events can be found by clicking on the links below:

Manchester Carers Network, Manchester Carers Forum, Manchester and Salford Ramblers, Manchester City Walking Football, Broadhurst Community Centre (FB)Imperial War Museum North, Ordsall HallAge Exchange, Bridgewater Hall.

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Moviecals – North West Theatre Arts Company at its best

It’s a treat going to the theatre and I sensed we were in for something special. I told my husband so…and I’m never wrong.

As we settle into our seats and the lights go down the usual announcement is made saying the performance is about to start. “Switch off your phone, no flash photography and enjoy the show…”, etc.

My husband whispers “Jesus! You didn’t tell me Idris Elba was going to be here.” You can imagine my expression. I think he’s serious but you can never tell.

I shake my head and study the playbill. Moviecals is a showcase of hit songs and dance routines from the movies covering a range of genres; from the comforting lullaby “Hush-A-Bye Mountain” (sung by Owen Maudsley) to the seductive “Cabaret” (Eva Carty), the cheeky number “Pick A Pocket” (Liam Watson), melancholy “Tomorrow” from Bugsy Malone (Poppy Evans) to the inspirational “This is Me” (full company).

It’s a preview evening. We’re privileged to be here. I’m excited but nervous knowing this is the first time the show would run in front of a live audience. Tension is in the air. I hold my breath for the first few minutes and feel nervous for everyone, front stage and back. So much responsibility.

But….they were fantastic! We were treated to full on dance routines that make you think you can dance too and songs that ring in your head for days. It was uplifting, emotional and magical.

Comedy didn’t get left out either. The links between numbers were covered brilliantly by Laurel and Hardy aka the multi-talented James Valentine and Jonny Molyneux – hilarious. Steve Cougan and John C Reilly watch your backs, these two were an absolute treat.

Jonny’s rendition of “If I Were a Rich Man” was also outstanding. Both he and James had us in stitches.

If you’ve ever been on a Disneyland theme park ride this was just the same except it stopped off at the West End and Warner Bros on the way round. I wanted to climb off and join in.

Across the 44 songs and routines covered, there was a chance for everyone to take centre stage and shine. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

The curtain came down as mist from dry ice filtered through the emptying seats. We drifted into the bar area and passed by the technicians whose lighting, sound and stage management skills helped bring it all together.

In the bar, front of house positions were held by students of the theatre’s stage school playing their part in making it an all-round special experience.

I applaud you all.

Was Idris Elba there? No, was he hell as like! He too should watch his back though. Apparently, my husband reckons, Prab Singh (Director…and announcer) sounds just like him.

For information about NWTAC including What’s On, booking tickets, North West Stage School and more, click here.

There may still be tickets left for Moviecals but, if you’ve missed out, sign up for their mailing list.

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Nature’s all around us

Wasn’t Easter Weekend fabulous! Glorious sunny seaside weather. Who’d have thought a few days after going for a paddle you’d need a paddle just to get about.

On Friday 26th April I stood in the car park next to the Moston Fairway Nature Reserve wondering what on earth I was doing there. It was bucketing down, blowing a gale and freezing cold.The group, believe it or not there were others, were wellied and sporting water proofs and seemed oblivious to the rain. We huddled around while Martyn Walker, the man in the know about plants, like this guy really knew his ribworts from his ramsons, gave us a bit of history about the reserve. It was once a busy and industrious railway siding but is now transformed into an inner city haven for wildlife.Martyn doing his stuff

Hilary Wood, from the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, thanked us all for turning out on such an inclement afternoon. Then we set off down the path heading for the marsh area of the reserve first.

I should explain why we were there; it wasn’t just for the fresh air. We were taking part in a Global, that’s all the world, City Nature Challenge; competing to make as many observations of nature and find the most species.

To be fair, I’m clueless. I know the difference between a rose and rodent but I can’t remember the names of my fellow humans never mind rare plants.

We’d been asked to download an app onto our mobile phones beforehand. A young lady from the trust helped me out and explained the obvious. Easy – you find a plant, bug, bird, butterfly etc., get close, choose ‘new photo’, aim and click. The app saves the picture, helps match it to a species and pinpoints the location – techno magic!

… and I was off. A dodgy leg (I broke it last year) left me keeping to stable ground so when the group wandered onto the marsh I kept to the path. Two hours flew by, the wind and rain kept coming but we hardly noticed.Moston Fairway Nature Reserve is a naturalist haven.  A mixture of grassland, marsh and woodland, with a diverse range of plant and animal life. It’s unique in Manchester and therefore very special. It forms part of the Moston Brook Corridor; four areas of green space right on our doorstep. Open all year round and free.

At home, my soaking clothes went straight into the washing machine and, hot brew in hand, I got clued up about the City Nature Challenge. This quote from their website sums it up…

There is nature all around us, even in our cities! Knowing what species are in our city and where they are helps us study and protect them, but the ONLY way to do that is by all of us – scientists, land managers, and the community – working together to find and document the nature in our area.

By participating in the City Nature Challenge, not only do you learn more about your local nature, but you can also make your city a better place – for you and other species! 

The challenge takes place over 4 days. I was totally hooked on the iNaturalist app anyway so I carried on taking snaps all weekend and the weather even picked up.My favourite shot…

If you missed the event, don’t worry, you can take part in Lancashire Wildlife’s Trust brand new initiative “My Wild City – reconnecting people and wildlife in Manchester”. Click here for the details and have your say.

Also, feel free to take a look at the iNaturalist webpage for other projects.

Or just take a stroll around Moston Brook Green Corridor, relax and enjoy the space. Up-coming events around the brook can be found on their Facebook friends page.

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