All good things come to an end and such was the case with Leslie’s visit. We took her as far as we could, Security at the airport and she then enjoyed (?) an uneventful series of flights back home to Anchorage. Where, unbelievably, there was one more, final snow flurry before, maybe, possibly, Alaskans can finally bid farewell to a very long Winter.
Liesel’s been a fan of Duran Duran for most of her life and we had tickets to see them in concert many years ago but we didn’t make the show on that occasion due to indisposition: this was well before the days of Covid.
So imagine the delight on Liesel’s cute little face when she found out that they were playing in Manchester within two weeks. In a rare moment of spontaneity, she booked tickets for us, and so it was, we found ourselves in Manchester on a Saturday night, visiting the Arena for the very first time. In general, we try to avoid large stadiums, other than Hyde Park, but we had a very good time.
Before the show, we found something to eat and, eventually, somewhere to eat it! Not many flat surfaces (aka tables) to sit at or even stand by, given the place has a capacity of 20,000 and presumably, most of them want to nosh on something before the show.
There were two support acts, both of whom seemed very excited and pleased to be supporting Duran Duran.
Lia Lia is German Chinese but some of her dance moves were, we thought, Japanese influenced. And yes, we were quite a long way back so no there was realistic possibility of close-up pictures on this occasion.
The next guy seemed familiar and it took a while before it clicked: in his shiny silver suit was Jake Shears from Scissor Sisters.
The best I could do from a photographic point of view was to wait for a close-up to appear on the TV screen. He was very energetic and he knew the audience wanted him to sing some old Scissor Sisters songs as well as his own.
And then the moment Liesel’s been waiting for for forty years: Duran Duran. Their show was very visual and amongst all their big hits, they performed some new songs, both genuinely new and some just new to me.
I think it’s fair to say the conditions for me to take pictures with my phone were less than optimal! Some of the stage lighting was so bright, I had to look away and then blink away the green blobs before my eyes.
In the olden days of course, all these lights would have been cigarette lighters. We welcome the reduced fire hazard, but what a strange custon, when you think about it, to illuminate your phone’s flashlight just because a particular song is being played.
As advised, after the show, we didn’t rush to leave, and it was about 45 minutes before we were able to leave the car park. If we ever visit the Arena again, I think we’ll be going by public transport. Or at least, parking down the road in a totally unrelated car park.
The day after the gig the night before was quite relaxed. Did we go out at all? Probably, briefly. But the following day we went for a really long walk, towards Sale Water Park, mostly along the river. In places, the bank is being reinforced. And near Sale as with Didsbury, the paths beside the river are in a much better state of repair than those in Northenden.
It was nice to see so many ducks out and about, and especially nice to see this heron.
To be honest, I’m not sure this is a real heron perched up there on a gate post, its eye looks a bit googly. We stopped for a break at a pub, where we had a plate of chips each. Perfect preparation for the wander back home.
Some of the gardens in Northenden are now beginning to show the results of all the occupants’ hard work.
For the first time in many, many years, I watched some of the final of the World Snooker Championship from The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. I watched it on TV, of course, I didn’t schlep all the way over there to Sheffield. Luca Brecel from Belgium won for the first time, becoming only the fourth non-UK player to become World Champion. And some of his shots appeared to defy the laws of physics, he might be some kind or wizard or something.
One of the most exciting sightings of the week was in Wythenshawe Park, we we saw a peacock butterfly. Lovely to see one, but it would be so much nicer if there were flocks of them like we used to see.
I approached very slowly but even so, it flew away before I could get a close-up. Maybe I should just get a zoom lens for my phone. Or even, as I keep saying, take out my real camera.
I showed Liesel the bench, commissioned by Netflix and Campaign Against Living Miserably, as featured in the TV series After Life. As we walked away, this chubby little robin came to say hello. We think he’s a very young one, and hopefully he’ll look better when he sorts his feathers out.
Did it feel strange, now, just being the two of us? Well, yes. Leslie didn’t join us for many really long walks, but it doesn’t take long to adapt to having a third party join us, out and about while she was here. And now there were two. But not for long.
Just a few days after Leslie returned home, we were joined by Jyoti. After not sleeping for the duration of her flights, needless to say she was a bit tired. But we all went for a brisk walk to Fletcher Moss Park.
From the boardwalks near the park, we spotted a thousand tadpoles in the water below.
And on the way home, we saw more ducks in the river including a family of ducklings. Another encouraging sign that Spring is here.
After a jolly good night’s sleep, Jyoti and Liesel were raring to go for another long walk. After a false start, when we got as far as the landing before it started raining, Liesel and I retraced our steps, more or less, towards Sale Water Park, this time with Jyoti. On this occasion, en route, we walked around Chorlton Water Park, just to get a few extra steps in. I rescued a small beetle from Liesel’s shoulder, and it sat on my finger for the whole circumnavigation of the lake.
We revisited Jackson’s Boat for lunch and then wandered back to Northenden on the other side of the river. And what a good day for bird watchers. More ducks of course, plus a ring-necked parakeet and even a great tit. But on the river itself:
In the evening, I went to Tea and Talk at Benchill Community Centre where a few people from Factory Internatioanl were doing work in and for the community, as well as telling us about Manchester International Festival. I wasn’t expecting a meal but that was very welcome, and it was good to see some people I knew.
The room was decorated in preparation for the Coronation. Lots of red, white and blue plus posters of the new king who I pretended not to recognise.
Which is an amazing coincidence, because my Wythenshawe Radio show this week was inspired by the Coronation. Two hours of songs about or by Kings and Queens. You can pay homage here.
2 thoughts on “One out, one in”
A lovely post – feeling a bit jealous that I’m not there too!