Monday, 19 July 2010

More from the Lowry Outlet Mall

After visiting the Lowry Centre, it was back to earth with a bump as I needed to meet up with the rest of the family in the Outlet Mall.  Quite an impressive place (if you like that kind of thing) but it's clear that there were several empty spaces remaining to be filled.  I love the euphemism involved with such announcements: Exciting New Retailer Coming Soon sounds so much better than Boring Old Retailer Went Bankrupt...

Everything had a "Sale" on, including a rather large kitchen and household goods store.  A bit like a warehouse, with all the charm which that entails.  At least the escalators were rather more aesthetically pleasing!

My final view of the Mall, which seems to sum it up for me.  Several people wandering aimlessly about, buying "stuff" which they don't need and eating fast food which is bad for them.  The bin just about says it all.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Salford Quays and The Lowry Centre

Exactly like the last time I visited, the Manchester weather closed in as soon as we'd reached Salford Quays.  Typical.  This didn't worry Izzi, however, as her prime interest was a retail experience in the Outlet Mall rather than admiring the architecture.  Again, typical!  No problem, as this gave me an hour or so to wander round taking pictures.

I was determined to go into the Lowry Centre as I'd heard the interior was well worth a look.  The exterior wasn't bad either...

I never got to the Lowry exhibition itself as I was overwhelmed by the foyer and theatre.  The whole place is made up of either polished steel or solid blocks of vivid colour: primarily red and orange, but also yellow, blue and purple.  It was one of those places where the main question is "where do I start?".  Well, the following selection of pictures is in no particular order, but I hope will give some flavour of the place.

As you can probably tell, I was totally bowled over by the place.  It was pleasantly empty too, which is more than could be said for the Outlet Mall...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

To Salford Quays by Tram

There's something about travelling by tram which is both very old-fashioned and ultra-modern at the same time.  The Manchester tram network is pretty amazing, and we decided to make the short journey from Castlefields to Salford Quays using it.

By the way, that disgusting steel & glass monstrosity with the grid on top is the Manchester Hilton Hotel.  You can see it for miles around - unfortunately...

The trams were clean, quiet and very speedy.  Mind you, we were travelling on a sunny Sunday afternoon - who knows what they'd be like during a rainy rush-hour in November...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Castlefields Canal Basin

In Manchester we were staying in a flat in the Castlefields area, close to Deansgate.  The flat is in a converted warehouse next to a canal basin, and we walked along the towpath on our way to catch a tram to Salford Quays.  A world away (and then some) from the Curry Mile in Rusholme...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Graduation Day

Yesterday was Frances's graduation in Manchester.  A moment for Harriet and me to be proud parents, and for Izzi to wonder what on earth was going on.  It was all rather different to a Cambridge ceremony, but I was pleased to see that the robes were made by Ede & Ravenscroft.

Once the robes had been collected, there remained one important thing to do before graduation itself: namely, choosing a bear.  It was never like that in my day...

It was a short walk across the road to the Whitworth Hall, but being Manchester it was raining - naturally.  The hall itself is large Victorian edifice, and is absolutely stunning with a huge organ at one end.

After the ceremony, it was back across the road again for a reception and buffet lunch.  Admission was "strictly by ticket only" with only two tickets per student, but since there was nobody on the door to collect the aforementioned tickets (strictly or otherwise) we all joined Frances for something to eat.

Before handing the robes back, there was the obligatory "I wonder what I'd look like with that silly hat on" experimentation.  Izzi soon got the idea, but it seems that the Cambridge graduate doesn't quite know which way is up...  

Of course, the true graduate knew exactly how to wear it on the day.