Toilets Of Manchester Tour.

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The bridge next to The Lass O Gowrie was the site of the Oldest ‘Pissotiere’

Can you think of a more unusual way to spend a few pennies ( Tee Hee )  than booking a walking tour round the old toilets of Manchester??  My friend Fi decided to do just that for her Birthday recently…..and it proved to be a very interesting way to while away a couple of hours. πŸ™‚  Billed as the cities ‘ most convenient tour’  this guided walk explores the history of Manchester’s use of toilets, from the Industrial Revolution onwards.

We met up with our tour guide and  the rest of the group ( which included a band of  poo enthusiasts !  )  at The Lass O Gowrie  Public House on Charles street , just off Oxford Road.  This old tiled Real Ales pub is situated on the site of  the oldest ‘Pissotiere’ in Manchester. A pissotiere is a much pleasanter sounding word for public urinal. It was a public toilet ( with no privacy ) , where gents could relieve themselves into the river below. As you can imagine the river Medlock soon became a very smelly cesspit.

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The Lass O Gowrie and nearby The Sailisbury are situated in a part of Manchester known as Little Ireland, a former slum area in the city. Anne ( our guide )  told us  that Irish immigrants moved here in the 1820s to work in the factories and mills.  Conditions were dyre with inhabitants living in crowded squaller in back to back terraces with  

whole streets sharing  just one toilet.  And that toilet was little more than a  big  bucket that was emptied once a week.  πŸ˜¦  With the smog and pollution and insanitary filth , it must have been one hell of a miserable life here. 😦

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Temple  Of Convenience !

On a more cheery note our next stop on The Toilets of Manchester Tour, was  a former public toilet which is now a subterranean bar !  The Temple Of Convenience  on Bridgewater Street was one of the Victorian-era lavatories  originally built for businessmen and gentlemen visitors to the city. I don’t think ladies went to the toilet in those days, not public ones anyway!  It would have been fun to bob inside the Temple for a quick half, but alas a drink in a former loo was not part of the  tour. ; (

 Anne regaled us with more tales and information about Manchester’s toilet history as we walked round the city in the wind and rain. It was therefore a nice surprise when she led us into an impressive  Neo Gothic building that looked like a church, but is actually John Rylands Library. 

John Rylands Library was completed in 1900 and was founded by Enriquita Rylands in tribute to  her late husband, a Manchester textile mill owner and millionaire. Enriquita wanted the best of everything in the library , including the latest in modern flushing lavatories. πŸ™‚

 

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Inside the magnificent  John Rylands  Library.

 The original  Victorian  toilets ( the oldest working loos in Manchester! ) can be found in the library basement.  Fortunately by 1900 Ladies could use public conveniences too, so Fi , Jo and I trundled off to spend a penny. πŸ™‚

 

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The imposing ‘ King Of King Street’.

Our last stop on the tour was  ‘ The jamie Oliver’ Restaurant !   It resides in an imposing  1930’s  Art Decor building , formerly the Midland Bank at 100 King Street , known as The King Of King Street.  

 Whilst the top floors house  a swish boutique hotel called  Hotel Gotham , the former bank vault ( which can be hired out for parties)  is adjacent to the rest rooms, which contain reproduction Thomas Crapper lavatories .  

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Flushed Away!

Thomas Crapper was a renowned Victorian plumber and inventor whose flush toilets had the Royal Seal of Approval!  His name lives on in potty mouths everywhere. πŸ™‚

We found this walking tour at manchesterguidedtours.com

Β£8 per person.

Can you recommend any unusual walking tours? 

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Spring has Sprung.

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Chaffinch.

Today was glorious and sunny. The kind of sunny that actually feels warm. πŸ™‚  I went for a walk down through the fields to the river. This is one of our usual dog walking routes, but I let Wil carry on ahead with Hugo ,so I could get a few piccies without a black labrador crashing through the undergrowth. πŸ™‚

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Delicate Blackthorn blossom.
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Blackbird.
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Barren Strawberry Flowers.
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River Ribble.
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Male Mallard.
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Robin.
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Ivy.
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Male Bullfinch.
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And another shot….just because it’s very rare that I manage to photograph a Bullfinch.  πŸ™‚
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First Butterfly sighting. A Small Tortoiseshell amongst the celandines.
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Wild Garlic Leaves.
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Wood Anemone.
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Spring Lamb.
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Mistle Thrush.

I also saw Sand Martins , back to reclaim their sandy nesting holes in the river bank, a male and a female Goosander flying down the Ribble and a tiny Goldcrest. I think I may do one post a month,following my wildlife sightings in this tiny corner of the world. πŸ™‚

Links & Likes March. β™‘

Starlings and Hares by Rob Barnes.

Hey and welcome to March Links& Likes. I thought I would include some pretty pictures of mad March hares frolicking around with not a care in the world.  If only our lives could be as carefree as these beautiful illustrations.  Anyway without further ado….

Gina put   The Kelpies

 

 in Falkirk on her visit list. I would love to see these Giant horse sculptures for myself. 

Fancy a walk that meanders through a pub and ends with a Waterfall?  Let Jo  show you the way.  

Naomi tells us about  The Joy of Gorse and how the shrub’s sunshine yellow flowers  can be made into a fresh and delicious cordial. πŸ™‚

Illustration by Lucy Grossmith.

Louise  follows in the footsteps of  Peakland writer Roger Redfern and finds that things haven’t changed all that much ,since he published his own rambles in the 1960s.

One of my favourite travel boggers ‘Mary’ from Travels with the Blonde Coyote hasn’t posted in a while, but hopefully that will all change now she’s introduced her gorgeous new dog pal ‘ Vida’. What a beauty! πŸ™‚ 

Erin has visited the vibrant and colourful city of Lisbon. Me too please. πŸ™‚ 

Illustration by Louise Scott.

This fab post by Baked by Mummy Iris explores London’s Covent Garden. It looks like foodie heaven and certainly makes my tummy rumble. πŸ™‚

 Hey did you know that there is a A Cat ~^^~ who actually works in B & M Bargains???  Check out this cute Kitty ! 

And if your planning a trip to Iceland this year , here is a very useful blog to consult I β™‘ Reykjavik.

Wendy Andrews ~ Dreaming of Spring.

Thanks so much for dropping by. If you have any blog recommendations, that you think I will like, please let me know. β™‘

 

 

Cat Cafe Manchester.

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‘ Time Spent with Cats Is Never Wasted’ , this Sigmund Freud quote is replicated on the time card my friend Lisa and I were given on arrival at Manchester’s only Cat Cafe.  Cat Cafe  in the city’s independent and creative Northern Quarter can be found on the corner of High Street. With its large floor to ceiling glass windows, it is easy for curious passers by to nosy in at the ten furry friends who call this bright and airy space home.  Before Lisa and I entered the cafe area we were given disposable shoe covers and told to use antibacterial hand gel. Then it was our time to enjoy the company of its feline residents….. Β£12 each for the hour.

Cat Cafe is devoted to comfort. The humans can get cosy on the many snug sofas whilst drinking an unlimited supply of hot and cold beverages  ( included in the entry fee) and the moggies have the run of the place. Some of them were busy snoozing and others were only to happy to play. There are plenty of cat toys for the kittys…..and their visitors to keep entertained.

 

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Play Time. πŸ™‚

Lisa and I soon made ourselves cosy with a lovely hot chocolate ( complete with paw-print) and a slab of the most delicious Orange & Chocolate cake. The cafe serves a mixture of drinks, cookies and cakes. All food is paid for at the end of your allotted time slot.

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Cats and Cake. 

Cat Cafe  has a short list of rules that visitors must abide by. No waking  any sleeping cats, no feeding the cats ( except for the treats supplied  by staff) and no flash photography. Many of the kitty’s were chilling on cushions and in basket beds. They have the choice to stay in the cafe area or if they are not feeling sociable, they  have their own room to escape to. I think we managed to see most  of the Cat Cafes Cat family on our visit. πŸ™‚

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On Watch.
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Aslan enjoys a cat nap. 

I really like how  Cat Cafe is set out and the cats really do seem to be content in their surroundings. The hour soon sped by  and all too soon it was time to leave these mischievous moggies behind.

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Who needs a telly !

 

Cool for cats.
Ygritte looks down on her surroundings.

But not before we witnessed new recruit ‘Stan’ the siamese kitten enjoying ‘treat time’, which tends to happen on the hour every hour. Aw bless. πŸ™‚

Time for a treat. πŸ™‚

Maybe I will return oneday  for one of  Cat Cafe’s  special cat themed events.  Fancy a Yoga class or a film night in the company of some furry felines ??  Sounds very relaxing…..

Have you ever visited a cat cafe?

 

Photo an Hour 18th March 2017.

8am.  Starting the morning by finishing my book. Its a good un. πŸ™‚ The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owens. My Other Half is a good un too, as he has taken the doog out in the rain. πŸ™‚

9am. Nothing in for breakfast so I’m at the supermarket. Brekkie shall be croissants.

10am. Washing up and admiring these daffs Mum gave me from her garden. πŸ™‚

11am. Off out to do some jobs uptown shortly. The weather is still a bit grim. 

Noon. I pass this little fella on a shop sign as I walk through the town centre.

1pm. Having a spot of lunch in a cafe called Brioche in Clitheroe. The wall is adorned with clocks of all shapes and sizes.

2pm. Back home and watching my plastic windmills whirl and twirl in the wind.

3pm. Sorting out which of my clothes to take to London in two weeks. Two weeks!! 

4pm. Milk, a cereal bar and my fave magazine. πŸ™‚

5pm. Watching reruns of ‘Gavin & Stacey’ on the box. I love this show. I always secretly hope they will make a one off Christmas special again. That would be lush. πŸ˜‰

6pm. Going to close the curtains and shut the world outside. Don’t judge me, I have been in my pjs since just after 3. 

7pm. Busy writing up a blog post.

8pm. Hugo looking sorry for himself. Maybe he is objecting to his very pink fleece !

9am. Yep I’m going to bed and its only nine. And I’m ending this post by starting The Yorkshire Shepherdess’s 2nd book. πŸ™‚

Thanks as always to louisa 

and Janey 

for organizing Photo An Hour. X
 

 

Sunday Sevens 19th March.

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Two Good Books. πŸ™‚

Hi its Sunday yet again so time for a quick round up of the last 7 days via  a  Sunday Sevens post.  This last week I’ve read two really good books !  I sound surprised because I’ve read a few meh ones recently , so it’s great to find a couple of cracking reads. Firstly The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware is a modern day Agatha Christie set on a boutique cruise with plenty of twists and turns. ‘Lo Blacklock’ is a journalist who thinks she’s witnessed a murder , a woman thrown overboard in the dead of night. But nobody seems to have heard of the victim. Paranoia and suspicion engulf Lo and make this’ Who Done It’ an absorbing and scary thriller.  Secondly, a just as absorbing  but true life tale is  The Yorkshire Shepherdess  by Amanda Owen.  This is Amanda’s own story about how as a youngster she read the James Herriot country vet books and dreamed of working on a hill farm with her own flock of sheep. And amazingly through a lot of hard work and determination she has ended up doing just that. As well as a flock of sheep she has a husband, 8 children and lives and works on a remote farm in the Yorkshire Dales. An inspirational and often funny read, I loved it. πŸ™‚

As well as having my nose in a book this week, I have been using up some holidays and  had a couple of days off work. On Thursday my friend Lisa and I had a fun afternoon hanging out in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. She showed me some great independent shops in this creative area of the city and we also had a really tasty lunch at Oak Street Cafe Bar in the Craft & Design Centre. And I got to cross something off my 25 Before 45 Bucket List !  I had booked us a slot in Manchester’s only Cat Cafe, very originally called  Cat Cafe  which is situated on High Street in the Northern Quarter. Imagine coffee, cake and cats all in one spacious area , adorned with comfy sofas, cushions and cat toys. I will blog about it sooooon. πŸ™‚

On Friday Wil, Hugo and I went to visit family in The Lake District. My family live not far from Ullswater so for some reason Wil , my brother and I thought it would be a good idea to go and check out Aira Force , a waterfall not far from the lake.  The problem was, it was an incredibly rainy and windy day , which always annoys me as I can’t take any photos with the rain blowing in my face. We had to agree though that the force looked amazing in the weather and we will definitely have to go back on a much drier day.

Last Sunday it was raining  too but not as badly ( Hurrah ! ) so we were tourists in our own town and took   The Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail around Brungerley Park. Just in case you missed my post , you can check it out here πŸ™‚

All in all a pretty good week. What did you get up to ?

 

 

Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail.

I have walked through my local park  Brungerley Park in Clitheroe often enough, but Sunday was the first time I had picked up a leaflet for the area’s Sculpture Trail and tried to spot all the different Art works.  The Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail  can be accessed from either West Bradford Road or Waddington Road and takes  you  through woodland, grassland, a quarry and by the riverside. Roadside parking is available and the walk takes about an hour, so is short and family friendly. πŸ™‚

Here are some of the sculptures we saw on the trail, our starting point was the Waddington Road Entrance.

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Common Comfrey by Halima Cassell. A Ceramic representation of a comfrey plant found in the park.
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The Cook House by Helen Calaghan.  This steel sculpture  is of a pan of tripe !  The quarry area is rich in fossils.
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Leaving Touch by Kerry Morrison.  Two leaves carved by a chainsaw.
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Butterflies by David Appleyard.  A Way marker covered in doodles and memories from local school writing groups.

As you can see the sculptures are quite diverse and many are inspired by the local area. It was good fun finding them all. There are free Trail leaflets at the Tourist Information Centre in Clitheroe which is situated inside the Platform Gallery near the train station.

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Sika Deer by Clara Bigger. A pair of life size stainless steel sika deer. I have yet to see any in Brungerley , but apparently live ones have been spotted. πŸ™‚
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Hazel Catkins.

 

The Ribble King by Matthew Roby. Looking over the River Ribble, this majestic Kingfisher is made from copper, steel and recycled materials.
Otter by Fiona Bowley. Limestone otter. The Ribble is home to these beautiful creatures. πŸ™‚
One of several colourful mosaic Way markers by Paul Smith.

Brungerley Park was first opened in 1876 and became the place for Clitheroe folks to enjoy their leisure time. Boating and Ice skating on the Ribble, band concerts, folk tales of River Spirits and Pendle Witches and even Victorian Bathing Huts on the river bank.

Hugo by the River.
Lords and Ladies by Halima Cassell. Ceramic representation of the ‘Lords and Ladies’ plant found on the trail.
Wildlife Ceramic Mosaic by Louise Worrell.
As the Crow Flies by David Halford. Wooden Compass points.

As we neared the river I spotted the first of the Spring Wild flowers that will adorn the trail. Another few weeks and there will be plenty more to see. 

Cheery Celandine. πŸ™‚
Fish Mobile by Julie Ann Seaman. These three fishes look like they are leaping out of the water.
Just a few of the gaggle of geese on the other side of the river.
Two Heads by Thompson Dagnall. Depending on your view point, you will see one or two heads carved into a dead elm tree. I only saw one.
Primroses.
Alder Cone by Halima Cassell. Ceramic representation of the fruit of the Alder Tree, found in the park.

So there you have it. There are a few sculptures I forgot to photograph, including  some more ceramics by Halima Cassell. She certainly gets around a bit on the trail! Also look out for various play areas for the kids and keep an eye out for wildlife. πŸ™‚