Wednesday, 17 June 2009

2009 Kindness of Strangers Tour

When American author Mike Harling of the blog Postcards From Across the Pond and the book of the same name:

suggested a virtual tour of the world via people's blogs, I thought "Here's a chance to show off the fair city of Manchester" so I invited him over as part of his 2009 Kindness of Strangers Tour:

* * * * * * * *

Manchester – Working Mum on the Verge

Clearly I need a better tour organizer.

Yesterday I was in Northampton, Massachusetts, today I’m in Manchester and soon I’ll be back in Massachusetts, not twenty miles from where I just was, to visit Mickey in Granby. Wait until I see my publisher! Not that they had anything to do with it, I’m just saying, wait ‘til I see them—they’re booked next and they live in Spain.

But today I’m in Manchester, the city that, to Americans, is the home of Daphne Moon, housekeeper and love interest to the Drs Crane in the popular sit-com, Frasier. To the rests of the world it’s the home of Manchester United, and to the people who live here, it’s just home. It seems a nice enough place, but it has been the most difficult location to pin down. My intention was to hit all the counties in Britain and I had a hell of a scavenger hunt through piles of virtual information trying to find out what county Manchester is in before it became apparent that it isn’t. In a county, that is. Manchester is an independent municipality, like Brighton, but without as much beachfront property.

It was really nice of Working Mum to take me in and let me post on her site. She is—the clue is in the title—a working mum, so it’s hectic enough around here with the juggling of jobs and quality child-time without having a perfect stranger underfoot posting on your blog. It reminds me of when I was Mr. Mom, working nights as an Identification Clerk for the Division of Criminal Justice and an occasional itinerant musician, and taking care of three young boys during the day, which involved housework and a lot of driving to (and helping out at) nursery school and such. It is not a time of my life I would chose to live over; I’ve grown accustom to at least 6 hours of contiguous sleep a night.

And strange as it seems, the itinerant musician side-line was actually responsible for my eventual relocation across the pond. Fans of my web site already know this, but since you’re a new audience, I can trot the story out yet again:

During the time I played music, I was booked into a number of Irish bars and became exposed to all things Celtic. I found I rather liked it and, in later years (read: when the kids were grown and I got my life back) I took up Irish step dance, and then the bagpipes. The next logical step seemed to be a trip to Ireland, so I booked a two-week vacation and set out on my own to explore the west coast of the Emerald Isle. While hiking through the hills, I met an English woman. Six months later, I was married and living in Sussex. (Those of you keeping track will note that I have left out a wife along the way; but that’s another story. If you’re interested, you’ll have to read the previous post.)

I’m going to wrap this up now; despite her busy schedule and my unremitting jet-lag Working Mum has promised to take me on a tour of her fair city.

I hope we get to see Daphne Moon’s house.

* * * * * * * * *

Me again, WM. Well, that's a great start, Daphne Moon and Manchester United! I see have a lot of work to do!

Firstly, Manchester has several football teams and we all know which one my husband supports:

(Poor girl doesn't stand a chance!)

Secondly, it has several museums and art galleries including the fantastic Museum of Science and Industry and the state of the art "Urbis":

There are theatres galore often showcasing new productions before they hit the West End, we have the largest IMAX cinema screen in Europe and of course, the world class concert venue, The Bridgewater Hall, home to the Halle Orchestra and the BBC Philarmonic Orchestra:

Following Manchester's very successful hosting of the 2002 Commonwealth Games we have the Velodrome, Eastlands Stadium and the amazing Aquatic Centre.

For shopping we have the revamped city centre (following the last IRA bomb in 1996) which, in the sunshine (yes, the sun does shine in Manchester) could be any cosmopolitan European city and for when it rains (and yes, it does) we have The Trafford Centre:

And if you wish to stay in Manchester,(and frankly, why wouldn't you after my sales pitch?), there are many boutique and five star hotels including the famous Midland Hotel and the new Hilton Deansgate:

So, what are you waiting for?

I expect to see Manchester overrun with bloggers this summer.

Including you, Mike!

PS Sorry, I haven't a clue what's going on with the fonts in this post!


Maggie May said...

That was a surprise! Glad you enjoyed Manchester Mike! Did you get to see daphne moon's place?

Lovely photos, WM, what tall thin buildings you have!

Mum's the word said...

Fantastic and more importantly, a very informative post.
Who cares what font it was written in.
I lived for a long time, across the pond and periodically have various friend and family visit me for a day or two during some amazing European adventure.
And the point of me saying all this, is that I love writing about my home town - London. I give details of my favourite walks, fab places for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus extras. I think it's a great thing to be able to appreciate the city you live in.
Look forward to reading more.

Claire Sutton said...

Oooh Urbis looks good, although what has it got inside? It was only being constructed when we left the UK. And the new Hilton looks rather tall!

Good tour WM!

Working Mum said...

Maggie May - yes, there does seem to be a trend for thin buildings. The Hilton is so tall and thin you can see it for miles around Manchester. The bit that sticks out near the top is the restaurant with a glass floor - with my love of heights, I shan't be going there!

Mum's the Word - I think we sometimes forget to appreciate our home cities. Manchester has much to offer tourists as they found out in 2002 when we hosted the Commonwealth Games.

Claire - Urbis is a museum of 'the city' and tells the tale of the growth of major cities around the world, what makes a city and why people live in cities. It is also home to Channel M (the Manchester TV channel) and the top floor boasts a very, very posh restaurant!

Anonymous said...

I'll be going to Manchester tomorrow. I come from there, my mum, sister and brother still live there with their families. Can't say I'm over-awed with it but over recent years it has become one of the places to go in England. I guess I'm proud of my home city. Not too sure about Manchester United though!

CJ xx

smitten by britain said...

Nice post Mike and I enjoyed seeing the photos of Man City (and not just the football kit) thanks to Working Mum. The Trafford Centre looks as if it were meant for some very posh shopping. What a gorgeous building.

Obviously I wasn't a Frasier fan because I had no clue who Daphne Moon was (Alfie Moon's cousin?). When I think of Manchester, besides football, I think of great music like The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Joy Division, Oasis, and so many more. On my blog, I have a link listed to Manchester Music Speaks, a great site dedicated to Mancunian music.

MikeH said...

Hi all! Yes, it was a great visit; I've always wanted to see Manchester and I knew there was more to the city than the "Daphne Moon tour" ;)

Off to Suffolk next.

Mummy Cow said...

I want to visit Manchester now! Well done WM!
MC xx

lulu's missives said...

Just to say that I was "Mum's the word" but unfortunately had to have a change, long story.
Would love you to stop by at my new blog.
jo x