Saturday, 2 November 2013

Traditions and buildings.

Well, we’ve got Hallowe’en out of the way. Our smaller grandchildren collected bags of sugary stuff on Thursday evening, out knocking on doors with a bunch of friends or, as a friend of mine calls it, “demanding sweets with menaces”. 

Meanwhile, children at a bilingual free school in Brighton got dressed up like lots of other children in the UK but instead of going trick or treating they learnt about The Day of the Dead, El Día de los Muertos, in Mexico. This school teaches in English and Spanish, using native speakers and teachers who have lived and worked in Spain, doing it properly by all accounts. 

Anyway, back here in our neck of the woods the emblems of Hallowe’en are disappearing. The ghost outside one of the local pubs has already gone. Some pumpkins remain on doorsteps, their carved grins gradually melting as the pumpkin rots away. Far more gruesome than the original grinning figure. 

Now everything is momentarily geared up for Bonfire Night, not really tonight but next Tuesday. Many people will be having their bonfire parties this weekend although the weathermen are warning that there will be high winds and they should be extra vigilant. 

Yesterday went through the gamut of weather possibilities. I ran in the morning in bright sunshine. The sky was blue and clear. By the time I got back the clouds had moved in and when we went out into Manchester early in the afternoon the rain was coming down in bucketsful. Fortunately it had practically stopped by the time we reached the city centre so we didn’t have to get soaked walking to the cinema. 

We took a beat-the-weather route from Victoria station. First we went through the old Corn Exchange, now a shopping centre known for a while known as Triangle but now called imaginatively Corn Exchange Shopping Centre. It’s rather a nice building, nicely preserved and converted into a shopping centre even if most of the shops are rather pricey. 

From there we cut through Selfridges, ever so tastefully decorated ready for Christmas, and on through Marks and Spencer’s, also Christmassy but less ostentatiously so. And then we had to emerge into the outer world once again but at least the weather was continuing to improve. 

After a stop-off at Gap, where we spent quite a lot of money but got discount for being on their VIP mailing list (signing up to these things sometimes works, you see), we made it eventually to the Cornerhouse Cinema on Oxford Road. We rarely go to the cinema but when we do it tends to be this art house film venue rather than a huge multiplex. And once again we got discount, this time for being over 60. Being old and crusty also has its benefits. We saw Kate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”, Woody Allen’s latest oeuvre and well worth seeing. A good end to the afternoon. 

En route to the cinema we spotted this building with its strange tall chimney pots. 

I have no idea what it is. No doubt it forms part of Manchester’s industrial heritage. When you walk round the city you need to keep looking up as there are so many fine old buildings to admire. Not all of them have been nominated as part of our official “heritage” even though they almost certainly deserve it. 

On the other side of the world I understand that this garage has been named as part of the official Local Patrimony. It’s the place where Steve Jobs started building computers and they have decided to preserve it. 

 Maybe it will become a tiny Steve Jobs museum. Who knows?

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