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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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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Spring into… Boggart Hole Clough

It wasn’t part of the plan. I was only in the Clough to take few photos and the next thing is I’m fly fishing. Well, learning how to cast. It’s a start!Me and a very patient Danny Williams

The week before I was at the clough for an event attended by Diane Modahl, Olympic runner and winner of a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. I’m a cautious fairweather walker so I started gently on the 2K, then, accidentally, joined the 5K group and I ended up doing a random distance somewhere in the middle. I’m claiming it as a 5K anyway.The sun was out, it was a smashing turn-out with all ages from tots to totterers (aka me) and everything in-between. Runners, joggers, amblers and dog walkers were all welcome.

North Manchester Fitness, who organised the event, meet every Saturday. You can run with Donna, walk with Lorraine or just chat in the cafe. If you’re an early bird, Jason does a sprint session at 7:45am. I’ve never met Jason as I’m never early and don’t ‘sprint’ on principle but I’m sure he’s dashing(?).

Oh yes, back to the fishing. On 30th March the King William IV Angling Society hosted their annual event called ‘Spring into Fishing’. It sort of launches their junior season starting in April.I can do no better than share this information from their website:

King William IV Angling Society as a club hold special events in association with The Angling Trust. We also provide free junior coaching sessions every Saturday mornings from 9:30am-12pm April to the end of September all events are held at Boggart Hole Clough.

Once again the weather was kind. Individuals and families signed in and fishing coaches were on hand to help set up participants along bank and show them what to do.Danny Williams (Angling Trust Development Officer) and Duncan Mottershead (King William IV Angling) set up some fishing rods

The enthusiasm of everyone was contagious so when Danny suggested I give it try, I swapped my camera for a fishing rod in a flash. Bearing in mind my knowledge is limited to watching ‘Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing’ on the TV, I did my best. It was great fun and I loved it.

What’s better than sitting peacefully on a sunny day listening to water slapping gently to a background of bird-song and the hushed discussions of fellow anglers?A ripple in the water gives way to excitement as a fish is caught, photographed and then released back into the lake

I’d left my husband in the café but he emerged to take the pictures I was supposed to take. His ears pricked up. “Did I hear someone mention sea-fishing? Brilliant! When are they going?”

I think he’s planning something.

For details of all of North Manchester Fitness activities and events check out their website.

To read more about the fishing event at Boggart Hole Clough and the coaches read Danny Williams’ account here.

Information about King William IV Angling Society is on their Facebook page and there’s lots of information on the Get Fishing website too.A happy angler…