Sunday, 30 August 2015

Manchester Pride - 2015

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Nothing to do with Pride but something to get James’s adrenalin going – parked next to the boat one morning!

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On Friday afternoon at 5 o’ clock we gathered on Andy and Rich’s boat “Carpe Diem” to enjoy Champagne and canap├ęs. Such great hosts both of you – thank you.

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Doug and Les with a little Champagne inside – they make a lovely couple.

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On Saturday morning, with the Pride parade just a few hours away it was our turn to host morning coffee and cakes. We were pleased that Les and Chris’s friends Ian and Cheryl from nb “Wine Down” joined us for the day.

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The Pride parade started spot on 1 o’ clock with Sir Ian McKellan leading it this year. A marvellous sport and great ambassador.

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The gods looked kindly upon us and the sun shone all afternoon.

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Soon on the scene was the Coronation Street float with actors Daniel Brocklebank and Jenny McAlpine on our side of the street.

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There are bodies that require to be clothed and those that do not.

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The police turn out was tremendous and got, as usual, a deafening appreciation from the crowd.

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The Fire Brigade was not far behind with their prized pink tender. Like all the services which were represented, they too got a brilliant reception.

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The Sharks swimming club like to be kitted out well.

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Many churches took part – but their was little silence for the Quakers to do it that afternoon.

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The Spartan rugby club ……

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….. ‘tried’ hard. A great turn out.

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Our personal photographer Chris was in prime position to get the ‘official’ shots.

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The piped band of the Gay Gordons Scottish country dance group virtually drowned out the noise of the crowds – and good on ‘em.

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The individual entries were stupendous as always …….

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….. and someone who was very happy to take his shirt off for a photo shot!

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James found a new friend that afternoon  …………

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….. and the Fire Brigade brought their tender that gets to the places that other tenders can’t reach.

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This is Deansgate and the rest of the city centre was no different.

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Clothing was optional of course – as always …..

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….. and the Outdoor Lads were out.

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A Transformer perhaps?

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The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence need to be around to keep control

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Some entries were a spectacular work of art.

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A Golden Boy from Oscars Piano bar …..

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…. followed by the not-so-golden boys!

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There was a lot of flesh on display but maybe it was just built for display purposes!

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Fujitsu honoured the Pride Hero Alan Turing. A man without who’s brilliance we may not have won the Second World War was, because of his sexuality, treated despicably by the government afterwards. There is a bronze statue in remembrance of Alan and his contribution to the war effort in Rembrandt Gardens next to Canal Street in Manchester. Alan Turing took his own life in 1954.

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A couple more individual contributions.

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After the parade it was to Canal Street that thousands of us went to continue Manchester’s celebration of diversity – and it was there that we could get close up to some of the marvellous “creations” by many celebrants. This guy had a dashing pink tutu which James unfortunately didn’t get in the shot.

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The party continued on the roof terrace of G-A-Y in Canal Street – Cheryl, Doug, Andy, James, Chris, Rich and Les. Ian behind the camera.

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As the afternoon became evening there was nowhere free of happy people. It was another spectacular parade for Manchester Pride and the weekend will continue with thousands of people enjoying and celebrating diversity, individuality and culture. Bring it on!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Manchester–full of Friends, Food and Fun!

Way back on Saturday, after we arrived in Castlefield Basin with Les and Chris, and after watering and mooring up, ……….
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…….. we all took to The Wharf for a bit of relaxation in the lovely sunshine which we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy here in Manchester.
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On Monday we had, with great pleasure, the company of friends Pam and Geoff who travelled down from Cumbria to see us. After a splendid lunch in nearby Albert’s Shed we went back to “Chance” for drinks on the back deck – again in the lovely sunshine which Manchester is not known for. We so enjoyed the day and are looking forward to seeing you both again soon.
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On Tuesday, friends Rich and Andy arrived in the basin on nb “Carpe Diem”. This completed the meeting up again of all three boats which we arranged at this same place and same time last year. Chris, Les Doug, Rich and Andy.
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In the evening on Tuesday friends Justin and Robin came to see us for a meal at The Wharf and afterwards on “Chance” for cheese and biscuits, drinks and coffee. Sadly, only Robin’s leg can be seen here and Justin is between Chris and Les. James is in the galley making coffee ………
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….. and Doug, who was cuddling Robin and Justin’s gorgeous little dog “Oscar”, took the pic.
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Wednesday, all of us (Rich, Doug, Les, James, Chris and Andy) went to Albert’s Shed to dine ‘al fresco’ before ………..
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…… going to the Opera House to thoroughly enjoy “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” starring Duncan James. Brilliantly performed, it’s one of the best ‘feel good’ shows ever.
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Today we took the tram from the amazing and newly refurbished Deansgate station and journeyed to Altrincham.
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There was a very good reason for us to centre on the very splendid Goose Green conservation area of the town …………..
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…….  and that was to meet up with dear friends Pauline (the cup-cake queen of the canals!) and Neil for lunch at Franc’s Restaurant. Doug and Pauline spent the entire time in complete hysterics while the “engineers”, Neil and James (in matching shirts) had their own important issues to discuss.
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To say we enjoyed ourselves is a very big understatement and, while saying goodbye to these two lovely people, we were presented with a box of Pauline’s superb cupcakes. Well, it was another lovely sunny day just to make things just perfect and we hope to meet up again with Pauline and Neil in the next week. Yippee!!!!!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Nine very tough locks then – 999!

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At 8:30 on Saturday morning we started down the notorious “Rochdale 9” flight of locks down to Castlefield. The first lock is particularly uninspiring.

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Bits of the flight pass under buildings with a complex array of old and new structural engineering to keep you company.

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Even one of the locks is now buried deep beneath huge concrete constructions.

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After our subterranean adventures we were back out in open air and travelling parallel with Canal Street. The lock “landings” on the couple of locks here have been improved so there’s no more need for heroic leaps from the boat to the lock gates!

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During it’s building they seemed to shoe-horn the canal through the city – there are still some tight old corners to have to deal with.

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Still travelling adjacent to Canal Street, Chris extracts himself from another tight spot!

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Les guides “Eleventh Heaven” from underneath one of the more architecturally pleasing buildings that adorn the canal side.

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There are still some original artisan buildings along the canal side. This old cottage has now been subsumed into the cafe / nightclub complex at the bottom of Whitworth Street.

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Further along, and one lock to go, the canal passes under a magnificent (and recently painted) iron railway bridge.

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The ninth, and final, lock of the flight – known as Duke’s Lock, it was the wettest! The main issues which make this flight a bit on the tough side are the lack of adequate by-washes which forces water over the lock gates and the cramped nature on many locks which results in very short gate arms.  This lock has the most extreme of both. The lock empties very slowly due to the quantity of water flowing over the gates and the boat steerers (Les and James in this case) get very wet from the spray!

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Anyway, after the very respectable time of just 2 hours to negotiate the 9 locks, we arrived in Castlefield Basin where our favourite mooring was waiting for us.

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Only hours after we arrived a huge pile of wood in the adjacent car park caught fire so James rang for the fire brigade. Worryingly, they didn’t seem to know where Castlefield was!

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Anyway, 7 minutes after the emergency call the fire brigade arrived to give us their version of how to put out a fire! 

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After all the excitement it just had to be done – while Chris got some beauty sleep on “Eleventh Heaven”  Les joined us on “Chance” for wine and nibbles in the glorious, hot sunshine which we weren’t supposed to have on Saturday afternoon.