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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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…