Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Parking Lot Blues.

Parking Lot Blues., originally uploaded by mithering.

Spotted outside Salford Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday morning. Described by Maria Who Sits In Front Of Me as "The last bastion of respect". The parking space had been left empty.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Kicker Conspiracy - Day Sixteen.

We came across this fella on the way back from our post-Doctor Who visit to Heaton Park on Saturday night. It was in the grounds of the St. Margaret's Community Centre on St. Margaret's Road in Prestwich.  Going to the park so late with the kids wasn't something I'd done before and only happened because I was in such a jolly mood following Doctor Who that when The Youngest suggested it, I bit.  Based on previous early-morning archaeological experience of the kind of stuff that got left in the playground I anticipated a late visit would yield an army of sullen teens, and primed the kids to expect it. Instead, there was a healthy number of families still using the site.

We left the playground bit at nine and, at The Youngest's prompting headed off down towards the (closed) Farm Centre and beyond that, The Haunted Passage. On the way back up The Wobbly Path I suggested to the kids that if they stopped screaming and yelping they might see something special, like a fox or a hedgehog or, at worse, some rabbits. They duly obliged, but we saw nothing until, skirting The Commonwealth Games Bowling Green, The Eldest spotted five baby rabbits on the bank at the edge of the supposed community facility.  We doubled back from the way we were going and, through some expert creeping, got as near as we could to the little fellas.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Kicker Conspiracy Day Fifteeen

Yesterday, Heywood Road, Prestwich.

Park Life (Nights)

Heaton Park right now. Join us.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Eat Yourself Fitter.

Eat Yourself Fitter., originally uploaded by mithering.
I work with this bloke called Barry who is legendary within the office for creating fantastic meals with the minimum of equipment.  He once used a microwave oven and a kettle to cook trout stuffed with watercress and watercress sauce and buttered noodles. Above is his dinner from yesterday; stuffed pasta and pesto, rocket, water cress and tomato salad and, for pudding, fresh stawberries and mango.  It smelled delicious.

Monday, 21 June 2010

People Take Pictures of Each Other #4 - Chris Sievey and the Freshies: Dancin' Doctors

More great old footage of 'town', but this time with a sad subtext. I heard today that Chris Sievey has passed away. He'd recently revealed that he had cancer, and it obviously got a lot worse very quickly. Most people know him from his papier mache-headed alter ego, Frank Sidebottom, who I had the fortune to see a few times. Most memorably supporting Jonathan Richman at The Town and Country Club in London, where he came into the crowd after he'd played and never once came out of character. Most recently when he supported The Phantom Surfers in Wigan and came on stage with them for the encore of 'Sheena Was A Punk Rocker' (that's what they recorded it as). I never got the chance to see The Freshies, as I was exiled in Lincolnshire when they were in their pomp, and the one and only time our timetables converged was the night they were due to play at The Beach Club and it either burnt or closed down. I have bad form for that kind of thing, later having the same experience with The Living Room in London which I went to the week after it was raided and closed down. Ho hum. Enjoy the footage, ropey as it is, and enjoy Chris without his papier mache head on.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Kicker Conspiracy - Day Nine.

"Sorry little News of the World flag." Spotted today by Mr. Jay Taylor on Lytham Road, West Point, Levenshulme, Manchester, M19.

Send them in folks.

Saw another one yesterday, near Prestwich Metrolink Station and another one today looking down on the famous Simister Island interchange of M60, M62 and M66 on our way back from Same Yet in Simister.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Kicker Conspiracy - Day Eight: Encore

We're back in The Republik and on the 96, so here's this morning's other lost and forlorn flag. The weather is much nicer on this side of the Pennines.

Smiley Smile

Sitting in a coffee shop in York station with Smiler here. Coffee came in what was essentially a soup bowl with a tiny handle on it.


Jackie Charlton doing the crossword in The Daily Express. I think it was the quick one, but I can't say for sure.

Stand Down Margaret.

At the National Railway Museum in York. Somebody has 'done' Thatcher, and the tape suggests it may be a regular thing.


Me and The Youngest are off to York filled with industrial strength cheese on toast from Rustica in The Science Quarter of MCR. The Train Guard has just told me that Jackie Charlton is in the front carriage of the train, but he's wrong as Wor Jackie is sitting two seats in front of us.

Kicker Conspiracy: Day Eight.

After days of nowt it only takes a draw with Algeria to expose the citeh side of Ingerlund's support.

Paper Plane.

Spotted yesterday near The Bridge With No Name. Nice to see that despite Manchester's intensive cultural offer some still like to spend their time chucking paper planes out of hotel windows.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


Bdum bdum. If there's one thing worse than school sportsday it's school sportsday in the blazing sun. I'm not made for it. Genetically, at best, I'm mongrel northern European. It's why I can't won't don't do festivals unless I have full backstage access and a lift out of there (those were the days). I've ended up sitting, alone, in the only strip of shade available. Like Billy Casper stuck outside the headmaster's office in Kes. What would really help right now is a nice cold beer. I need to get on that PTA and start suggesting stuff.

Update: Burnt the top of me blithering bonce, didn't I?  Also blazing sunshine meant I missed that I'd included a bit of my finger in the photo. I took the photo to try to find out what the blue (or pink - I'm colour blind) flower is.  Anybody know?

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Up On The Roof.

Black Redstart, originally uploaded by Sergey Yeliseev.

Not blogged (or, indeed, tweeted) about birds for a while. There are two reasons for this; first, work is taking up a lot of my mental capacity at the moment so the mooching and thinking I usually do before posting (honestly, I do) are not happening. Secondly, work is in a different place, which means I'm no longer getting my three mornings a week cutting through Peel Park and skirting The Irwell into town. Which means no Kingfishers since just after Christmas. I've picked up a short walk along The Irwell slightly further towards town past Strangeways and usually walk up to Wellington Bridge. It's a good site for spotting Grey Herons and the Goosanders who were with us until a month ago hung out there and up towards Broughton Bridge. Oh, and the Grey Wagtails, but I've not seen much unusual along there. It's also a bit too secluded and slightly seedy; broken bottles, burger boxes and condoms are pretty common, but at least the resident tramp seems to now know I'm down there for a good reason and we're on nodding terms. And on a positive note I found a fiver on the other side of the subway on Friday. I hope he didn't drop it...

As mentioned, work is now somewhere else. That being the corner of Lever Street and Faraday Street, where the streets are named after scientists and somewhere up there is a black redstart that refuses to show himself when I have bins in hand. At other times, I've seen a bird on top of a television aerial singing, and the song is the appropriate one, but until I get a proper view I'm not counting him.

In the meantime, thanks to Sergey Yeliseev on flickr for his great rooftop pic of a juvenile black redstart.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Kicker Conspiracy: Day Three (Echo Delay).

Slight delay on yesterday's update on lost and abandoned England flags due to Technical Problems. To wit, I had left the lead which connected the mobile phone to the computer in work, and it would have cost me 30p to send it via the interweb. Given the abject quality of the picture in question (see above, taken from moving car, England flag can just be glimpsed, top left, Bury New Road, M25, Prestwich) you'll understand why my six shillings stayed in my pocket. Also spotted two on the M62 and one on Heys Road.

None seen so far today, but the streets in and around the Scientific Quarter of Manchester (centered on Tib Street) had definitely been swept before I made my 8.30am entrance.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Kicker Conspiracy: Day Two.

No lost flags spotted today so here's one found by The Eldest on Friday and brought home to M25.

Saturday's kids.

Heaton Park. Right now. Join us.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Kicker Conspiracy: Day One.

Kicker One, originally uploaded by mithering.
In celebration of this year's World Cup I'll be documenting every lost and abandoned super-patriotic Cross of St. George car flag I find in the street. Here's the first from 8.14 this morning. Found on Julia Street, Manchester, M3 while I was on my way down to The Forbidden Zone for a bit of pre-work birding. More to follow. Undoubtedly.

Friday, 4 June 2010

We Are Phuture.

Found this the other day on a drainpipe I pass every day on my way into work. A relic of the future/past. And on digging around to try to find out when the world's greatest Madchester band might have played on Oldham Street I discovered that they're just about to reform.

Update 2010-06-11: Just walked past the site and it's not there any more.  Peeled or scratched off.  Or maybe it's just gone back into space?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Swans., originally uploaded by mithering.
After a tea of pasta with watery Gorgonzola sauce from a crap restaurant, we decamped to The Jolly Sailor, a bar just off The Reeperbahn. The barman was a right miserable twat and while I don't want everybody to be all Have A Nice Day, I also don't expect to be made to feel unwelcome. So, on the pretext of getting a jumper from the hotel room I headed back in the direction of Budapester Hof. My route back took me partly along The Reeperbahn, which greatly resembled The Golden Mile in Blackpool, but with more butt plugs and a less threatening atmosphere.

Adjacent to the hotel, with only the small kiosk soon to be renamed The Ein Euro Bar between us, was The Jolly Roger, the FC St Pauli fans' bar.  I ended up in there watching a Bundesliga game which ended up with The Underdogs beating somebody or other one-nil with a late goal. Sated with excitement, and having been up for 40 hours, I headed for bed knowing that damned nature and my own stupid inner clock would have me awake the next morning by seven at the latest, and probably much earlier.

In the end it was about 5.30.  In and out of consciousness and topped off with the noise and chaos which shook the walls of the hotel several times during the night, I managed to stay in bed until seven am when breakfast was due to be served.  Downstairs, in the breakfast basement, it was just me and The Germans. The Old Germans. The Old Germans who had had the misfortune to book into a low-priced Hamburg hotel at the exact point the pandemonium hit town.

Back in England I'd made the decision that I would spend the earlier part of the day 'doing the galleries' by way of keeping me out of the bars of Hamburg until an appropriate time.  Before they opened I decided to walk up to the Alster lake to do a bit of urban birding. I headed out past two or three FC heads who had had to spend the night on couches in reception as one of their number had locked himself in their room and could not be roused from his slumber and made my way past the Milerntor.

In the car park adjacent to the stadium a classic car show was taking shape, but of more interest to me were the trees on the other side of the road.  A park. Cocking a snook to German convention I jaywalked straight across the empty, Saturday at 7.30am road.  Inside, it looked like your average park park with a (closed) cafe and swings, joggers and early morning can-clutching alkies staggering about.  After a few minutes it became clear that I was in something rather more toot schweet than your average park park.  I was in the Old Botanical Gardens.  I knew this because the interpretation boards were, very handily, written in German and English.  On returning, I find that I skirted the main bits, but I was on my way to somewhere else, and the pond I walked along was pleasant enough so I only have a tiny regret that I didn't go and have a look at the really interesting stuff in the greenhouses.

By the way, if you've made it this far, god bless you. I'm trying to exorcise myself of this damned stuff and it keeps pouring out.  I can't even bail at this point because we've not got to the picture above.  Okay, let's go straight for it. They're nests. For swans. Man-made nests for swans.  Part of a well-developed infrastructure for breeding birds which was in place around the Alster lake.  I got up to it and rang home, describing the scene and when I got off the phone I decided to walk all the way round the lake.  And to Hell with Art

Boring list of birds seen in Hamburg that I've seen many times in inner city Manchester, except for the Barnacle Geese (the Grebes can be seen in Heaton Park):

In order of sighting: Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Mallard Duck, Feral Pigeon, Starling, Black-Headed Gull, Swift, Wren, Great Tit, Coot, Long-tailed Tit, Barnacle Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Blue Tit, Hedge Sparrow, Grey Heron.

And then I had a great day which involved FC, Ein Euro, Hin Und Veg, The Carpenters, Zeckenbiss, Fanladen, a Ukele and Aldi.

And now back to our usual programming.