Manchester Canal Walk

At this time of year I love to spend cosy weekends at home with books and copious cups of tea, pottering about and conserving energy to keep those winter bugs at bay; but it’s good to get out sometimes, to blow away those cobwebs.

I decided on a Sunday afternoon visit Manchester Museum of Science and Industry where there is a special exhibit (post to follow soon). Rather than push through the crowds of Christmas shoppers, I opted for a relaxing stroll along the Rochdale Canal.

43FF49DC-9F0D-49FB-9945-A69535740C9A

The Rochdale Canal runs down into the city of Manchester from high in the Pennine hills. In the late 18th and early 19th century it was key to the city’s industrial growth, through the transportation of cotton and finished goods to and from the plethora of mills and canal-side warehouses.

AE4C5D53-5385-4621-99E6-A51B0B850F68

21650F09-EAF6-46E1-9DBF-5B03E9C0A513

Of course, the industrial buildings have all now been repurposed, some as swanky offices or apartments, or even trendy clubs and restaurants.

EBEB051B-EDE7-4D1F-B922-7EA111D4B6D5

The Sun was shining and quite a few people were out cycling or running or, like me, finding a quieter path through the city clamour.

18DFF122-2529-4423-AAFC-5912B56918F4

950267AD-6FBB-4834-997B-22FDD1A8F9E6

F52848A2-F333-429C-B16D-7395C3FC4FEF

Locals of the feathered variety ventured out from their desirable residences.

6FEA67A2-1A0C-4E0D-86F5-00797EF04151

AA943AB0-2D39-422D-8680-B88E1B2DB86D

An art installation celebrates the late famed Tony Wilson, Mr Manchester: journalist and broadcaster, founder of Factory Records and the Hacienda nightclub.

4C9DAB97-69B5-4141-BC1D-C2E89D7A0BEE

AA750D52-78EF-4B0A-B746-2FE378ADB5D9

I walked by Deansgate in the direction of Castlefield, passing under dark low bridges and alongside swelling lock gates holding back walls of water

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A couple of work men repaired railings on the towpath

56A1C1A3-C0C5-4F18-84ED-F755202C4426

A little further ahead, Castelfield hub offered light and space

C579142F-6F93-4266-8D5D-8AAB60B19EEE

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The wharfs and basins around Castlefield, once a hive of commerce where boats were unloaded at the city warehouses, is now one of the most popular spots in the city, especially in summer where people gather on the towpath and at the bars and restaurants. A wedding party posed for photographs. I offered my congratulations as I passed.

6E59A5AC-2D44-45BD-B707-00B466158A5A

0151EB16-64F3-48FB-897B-FD4BE7118EC6

4DC622A7-DB0B-44C2-AB8B-907423A635E7

A small number of boats are permanently moored ….

3FE06421-432D-4E24-9326-8BE558712A10

….where an attractive space is used for outdoor performances and recreation. A single practitioner of Tai Chi moved gracefully whilst a group of boys practised skateboard stunts on the steps a short distance away, where my canal walk reached its end.

64CE9CE0-1858-4967-8DD8-1593390CEFD7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Garden

 

84CEF383-3DAD-4AEA-97FB-5167F733C308

Winter has arrived. It’s still mild for December, and this afternoon offered some intervals of sunshine betwixt the cloud and drizzle. I decided to get into my little garden to have a tidy up and plant the last few daffodil bulbs.

2471EF25-A1F5-4558-B673-1752A9E58768

It may be too late for these, but fingers crossed. All will be revealed – or not – in early spring.

I wasn’t alone, as Paddy and Cleo decided they would join me.

51AC04C6-2317-4B35-A032-75B83DEBAC52

B27CFCF1-9F5D-45C7-9759-5FEB9E5E053E

Almost everything is dying back or lying dormant, falling in with the primal rhythms of nature. The last of the roses fade. The buds that remain will not open now.

 

Autumn was warm and long, and October brought us ladybirds in abundance. A few are still around.

475C4EAA-386F-42A9-A9EB-9673F2969B9F

The vivid colours of autumn leaves: russets, reds and golds are resplendent.

4CCC6A77-D498-4383-B276-7B2C5AAAD23C

The garden is a peaceful place in winter as all slows down. It’s a time to meditate on what has been and what may come in the year ahead.

F8364891-88EC-4FDC-ACB9-6A9AA2BAA3F9

To some, the seasons are the same. Stoically, they observe the passing of time in silence. They’ve seen many comings and goings.

B1C68692-ACBA-4E7A-9A27-D918459CC9D8

 

There is still plenty life and vibrancy in the garden. Delicate winter jasmine blooms as the temperatures drop.

 

 

Leaves on the path don’t spoil some folks’ journeys. Even at snail’s pace they’ll get there in the end.

5DFD37AF-2D7C-4A16-8CB8-A2A790502E66

E29A32A2-19DD-4CF5-94E3-7865DA2881AA

All that glitters may not be gold but a touch of winter sparkle is always welcome.

 

The evergreens carry on regardless.

F3C4FF77-1ED5-4770-B141-FFABE3F7E874

The hours of daylight are decreasing as we head towards the shortest day. Setting off to work as the sun rises and returning home in darkness, it can sometimes feel like winter days pass me by. The weekends still offer the chance to see the beauty to be found at this time of year, literally on my own doorstep.