Monthly archives: July 2007

Collectormania Manchester

Collectormania Manchester
Collectormania Manchester,
originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

We know some total Collectormania maniacs and, with this first visit to Manchester, we thought we should check it out.

I couldn’t bring myself to pay for any autographs, though we did strain for a glimpse of Michael Shanks and Chris Judge (should have whipped the camera out and tested the zoom capacity). If I were feeling richer, and there was any space whatsoever in the flat, I could have gone completely mad in the aisles of figures, comics and dvds. In the end all I bought was the graphic novel of Brodie’s Law, just because the artist was on the stall being all enthusiastic.

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 12/02/06 by Ian

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Manchester European Markets

manchester's european markets
manchester’s european markets,
originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Now for more than just christmas. I love these markets, but then, unlike some, i think we should be more european.

Yesterday i spent ten pounds on salami and today we sampled such joys as the quark ball, a chunk of gingerbread with a jam centre, coated in sugar to give it a crispy shell.

The market is on until some time in december and we’ll be sampling foods from it all that time.

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 19/11/05 by Ian

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Bon Appetit!

Anyone for Czech food?

I went out yesterday to a Czech restaurant in Neos Kosmos. Outside, you think you are entering some sort of warehouse. On the inside it looks a bit like a British pub, with wooden panelling and dim lighting. However, the comparison ends there. O Kalos Stratiotis Svejk (Good Soldier Svejk) turned out to be a superb restaurant, with excellent food, a range of choices on the menu and a nice selection of wines.

We tried a traditional salad and main course – fantastic! A king couldn’t have eaten better. The portions were enormous – so much so that I couldn’t finish the main course, unusually for me. The meat was tender and perfectly cooked. Plus, there were these unusual pieces of a kind of thick, almost suety bread to dip in the sauce. Very filling. One thing I noticed was that a lot of the salads seemed to contain nuts – maybe that’s a feature of Czech life? Perhaps there are lots of nut trees there.

It makes a nice change from all the typical Greek tavernas around here. Nice though they are, it’s good to have a bit of variety, and Svejk was just the ticket!

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 04/11/05 by Millie


Today is “Ochi” (no) Day in Greece

This is the day when the Greeks celebrate their resistance against fascism during the Second World War. It’s a bank holiday (Greece seems to have far more of these than other countries!) and anyone interested can go and watch the parade.

There is a parade in each town, or in the case of Athens, a major parade in the centre in Syntagma Square, and lots of other, smaller parades in local areas. It consists of schoolchildren dressed either in school uniform or traditional costumes marching down the street to the applause of the crowd. I went to the main parade at Syntagma Square, and although the school uniforms were rather boring, I must admit that the traditional costumes were interesting to see. There was quite a variety, with different regions of Greece represented. Another highlight of the parade was the young children, members of local cub and brownie groups. They didn’t march so much as amble along, waving Greek flags and smiling brightly at the crowd.

After the parade, we went for a walk through Plaka – more on Plaka to come another time – which was quite crowded, as people were enjoying the hot weather (it’s still like summer here) and taking advantage of the day off to go out for lunch.

An interesting experience. I don’t know any other countries where they dress children up in school uniforms and just watch them march down the street in order to celebrate a national holiday. And this happens twice a year in Greece!

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 28/10/05 by Millie

lg action sports championship

lg action sports championship
lg action sports championship,
originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

It’s very hard to take action shots with my phone. I don’t understand how people can be interested in a sport as static and dull as football when there’s stuff like this around. Even when there are no competition runs on people are pulling stunts just to keep their legs warmed up. The street course is buzzing with plank pushers skating for the simple joy of it.

The skate vert competition is being led by chris gentry as we enter the final round.

Posted to Spinneyworld 22/10/05 by Ian

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Rotterdam in under 2 hours

Rotterdam is an unusual City as almost everything is new. I mentioned this to someone later in the day and they explained that the Germans bombed it heavily so few old buildings survived. There are a few remaining but they are squeezed in between modern high rise offices and flats creating an interesting mix of old and new.

My first stop of the day was the tourist information for a map then on to see the church on Binnenrotte. I took several photos here showing the church, some very Dutch buildings and a view looking back over the city. The thing that really struck me was the the amount of building work going on across the skyline as every road seemed to have a crane or 2 working away.

No time to stop so I headed on towards the Maritime museum. This looked interesting and had boats behind that could be visited, but no time for that today. While there I stumbled across a small but very attractive museum building hidden in the shadow of 3 skyscrapers. Photos were taken and I moved on again.

I headed west from here via the back roads. Wish I had more time as there were some interesting non-chain shops to browse. I then reached the park near “Club Vibes” (76 on my map) and took photos of the park and, yet again, the skyscrapers were in the background. Time was fast running out by now, so I dashed off and headed to my meeting.

Overall, it was an interesting tour and I would like to come back. There seems to be enough here for a long weekend though the lack of history caused by WWII might mean a week is too long. The night life looks good (the Wok restaurant on Coolsingel is worth a visit) and interesting shops are waiting to be discovered.


Originally posted to Spinneyworld 20/10/05 by Duncan

Back from the Brink!

On Sunday I attended a volleyball match between two first division (Alpha Ethniki) teams – Panellinios and Orestiada.

At the start, the Panellinios fans were celebrating, as the green-shirted guest team, Orestiada, appeared to be half asleep, and Panellinios chalked up point after point, soon leading two sets to nil.

However, after their lacklustre start, Orestiada appeared to wake up, and the next set was fast paced, an exciting game, won clearly by the greens. This brought loud cheers from their fans, who were in the minority in the stands, as Orestiada is a small town far to the north. Despite their small numbers, however, Orestiada’s supporters were by far the most vocal, and perhaps it was thanks to them that their team managed to take the third set and start off with a seven-point lead in the fourth.

The fourth was a tough set, with both teams giving it all they’d got. But, Orestiada held firm and maintained their lead to the end, evening up the score, 2-2.

The tie-break set started with Orestiada going into the lead, but there was soon a moment of tension as Panellinios overtook them. However, feeling demoralised at having been unable to keep their two-set lead, Panellinios did not perform well in the last set, and the green team soon left them far behind to take the match, 2-3. Loud cheering and clapping erupted from their group of fans.

Despite the sleepy start, the game developed well, and Orestiada’s return from disaster was impressively fought and played. All in all, a great match.

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 18/10/05 by Millie

Anybody know which train for Schiphol Airport?

I really like Holland and, as Austin Powers would say, the freaky deaky Dutch. I got off the plane yesterday at Schiphol and was convinced I must be in the UK and I have yet to find someone who can’t speak English. The trains and taxis have, up untill now, been cheap + reliable as they speed through mile after mile of flat but scenic countryside.


I got up early this morning and checked my PDA told the same time as BBC News. All fine so I set an alarm to remind me when I should head for my meeting with the bank and went to tour Rotterdam. At 10.45 I arrived for my 10.00 meeting and realised I had spent the morning in the wrong timezone (damn the cable tv). However, excuses were made so all fine so far.

After my meeting, I headed for the station to discover there had been an accident and my train was going nowhere. After much confusion, the freaky deaky Dutch came to the rescue and got me on a train to Schipol Airport via Utrecht.

I have, however, missed my plane home so once I finish writing, I’m going to have to spend 3 hours in a Dutch bar at the shareholder’s expense. On the whole, Holland is great- the people are friendy and the train service extremely reliable. If you can’t speak any other languages but want some culture, I’d thouroughly recommend.
(I’ll post details of my Rotterdam tour later this week)

Originally posted 14/10/05 by Duncan

Manchester Food Festival

Manchester Food Festival
Manchester Food Festival,
originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

It’s Manchester Food Festival this week. Friday saw a selection of local and specialist food suppliers selling on St Anne’s Square and the usual farmers’ market on Piccadilly. It was all too much for me and I spent twenty pounds on food of various sorts.
I’m going to be posting Food Festival Specials to Digest as I cook meals with my purchases.

Manchester Food and Drink Festival

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 09/10/05 by Ian

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Manchester Farmers Markets

originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

The Manchester Farmers Market is nowhere near as large and impressive as the one in Ashton, but it has become aregular part of my food buying routine.

The country comes to Piccadilly Gardens on the second and fourth Friday and Saturday of the month. Last time I put together a breakfast of bacon and Chouriac from this stall, this time I was very decadent and picked up two large sirloin steaks from Savin Hill Farm. Cooked so they were still purple most of the way through they were gorgeous with fresh spinach, tomatoes and ciabatta.

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 25/09/05 by Ian

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Book Worm

Dionisiou Areopagitou, the pedestrian walkway below the Acropolis, usually a popular place to go for a stroll, is currently taken up by the Book Fair. This is a fairly regular event, and one I particularly like.

I’m not sure if it is just my imagination, but it appeared to be more extensive than last time. However, it could simply be that some of the individual stalls were larger.

Of course, there were all the usual choices of best sellers and new releases, as well as a range of other books on display. One stall sold exclusively maps (it makes you wonder how they manage to turn a profit, or at least make it worth their while – do people really buy that many maps??), while another was obviously sponsored by the Communist Party.

Lots for the kids, plenty of colourful children’s books and some for teenagers on school-related topics (poor things!). There was even a stall selling a few selected titles in foreign languages, mainly English, which I don’t remember having been there last time.

Anyway, the Book Fair always seems to do well, and this time is no exception – I admit I succumbed to temptation myself – with all the books on display it was hard to resist!

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 21/09/05 by Millie

Cultural Festival

Yesterday, as part of the Dafni Cultural Festival, there was a concert held in Dafni Square. A great setting for the event, the Square is quite green, with a lot of trees, and is usually a popular place to go for a drink. The concert was free and consequently well attended. It started out with a young performer who sang in a Western European style, to the accompaniment of traditional Greek instruments. A combination that worked very well and was certainly popular with the audience.

This was followed by the Corfu Choir, who sang more traditional Greek songs, well known to everyone there. The singing was good quality and the only hitch was a small problem that developed with one of the microphones, but this was quickly sorted out.

Special mention should be made of the local singer, born and bred in Dafni. For an amateur performer, I thought she sang very well, and her repertoire had a mix of styles, not simply sticking to one theme.

All in all, the event was a great success, a thoroughly enjoyable (and free!) evening out.

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 20/09/05 by Millie

Time Team

Time Team 4
Time Team 4,
originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Cult Archaeology program Time Team visited Manchester this week to excavate Arkwright-Simpson’s Mill. On the 21st floor of the nearby CIS tower I was only a few feet away from a window affording a good view of all the activity.

Manchester Region Industrial Archaeology Society were there giving out leaflets with a potted history of the site on them. I think there’s going to be a site visit some time early next month, though I don’t know what there will be to see as the holes were all filled in afterwards.

At present the official Time Team page at Channel Four has no information on when the show might be airing. When it does I may have to ask someone to record it to their PC so I can watch it.

I took a few phonecam shots, from my vantage point and ground level, over the three days. You can see the Flickr gallery here.

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 18/09/05 by Ian

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My virgin post

Time to make my appearance on the spinneyworld stage in Athens. Everyone is still in holiday mood over here, which is fair enough, given the weather. To continue the holiday feeling, there’s a beach volleyball tournament going on here, and yesterday the Greek women’s team got through to play for the bronze medal, instantly shooting up to the status of national heroes. Gold and bronze medal matches are to be held today – and we already know that gold and silver will both go to Brazil, as the match is between two teams from that same country. Kali epitychia, as they say here, to Greece…

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 03/09/05 by Millie

pride 74

originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

A whole 83 Pride related photos have now been uploaded to Flickr. One hell of a weekend, and we only saw a little bit of it.

I swear the Lord Mayor’s Parade is nowhere near as long as the Pride one. The only real disappointment was the indie room at Poptastic on Saturday night. If you’re going to convert a big car park into a multi room venue then you really ought to invest in some huge drapes to act as baffles between the rooms.

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 29/08/05 by Ian

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originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

No sign of the threatened national front demonstration and the parade only started a little late. I actually took my photos from the same place as last time, which is cool.

And now we’re off to the village to have fun. There are about a hundred photos, the rest will go up soon.

Originally uploaded to Spinneyworld 27/08/05 by Ian
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Best in the world? You're having a laugh!

Originally uploaded to Spinneyworld 24/08/05

Last Monday Spinneyworld sent Clare to the final day of the Third Test as a wandering reporter. Here’s her report-

The start of the fourth test is approaching, so I shall tell my tale of the final day at Old Trafford. I can definitely say it was worth a tenner! It was even worth getting up stupidly early so I could get the tickets; the tiredness eventually went away with several cups of overpriced tea. Other than tea at £1.50 and beer at £3 (my student stinginess have obviously stayed with me), it was a brilliant day with brilliant people too.

When I got in, some time after nine, I searched for somewhere to sit. Whilst looking for a spare couple of seats, I almost sat in the no-alcohol area; that would have been scary. I finally found some decent seats but no one sat to the right of me for ages, I thought I must have smelled or something. That was until the excitable Australians came along, in particular Mick aka “Box Head” and his bro Matt aka “Box Head Junior”.

The sun was shining the cricketers were stretching, could life be better? Before the day started I assumed we were to draw; 10 wickets in one day, against the so called best in the world, not likely! I was going to enjoy a good day’s cricket no matter what the result was and being a pessimist works for me. However contrary to my belief it started well, the first wicket fell pretty quickly – Langer was only in for 42 minutes total. He was caught out by Jones, with a pitiful score of 14 runs. Another supposed batsman Hayden does similarly poorly as Flintoff bowls him out for 36, although he did get a six, which was happily displayed by my new Australian friend. These were the only wickets to fall before lunch; I just kept thinking “damn we should have declared earlier”. Wickets fell at a greater pace after lunch, many thanks to the man Andrew Flintoff; unfortunately Ponting’s fantastic form was giving the Australians a reasonable total. Maybe it’s a good thing we tallied up those extra few before declaring? My mind changed yet again as we experienced a long lull of wicketless dullness. The crowd amused themselves by doing Mexican waves, I had to join in of course. There was a particular patch where they were obviously dull farts and wouldn’t play. They received a “boo” from the crowd each time, followed by a “yay” once they were passed. Maybe this section was the alcohol-free one?

The home crowd had the hope that Flintoff would do it for us again, there was constant chanting “Su-per, super Fred, super Freddy Flintoff”, it didn’t seem to work. My attempt at turning fate was by making ultimatums with the Australians. We made a deal that if England got a wicket in the next 6 overs I’d get my boobs out. That turned Mick into an England supporter! Every time there was a possibility of a catch or something he’d shout at the top of his voice “Catch IT”. It didn’t work. It did bring about a new deal that if Australia draws he had to run around Canal Street in the nuddy. We explained what Canal Street is famous for. By the time play was stopped for tea there were still 5 wickets to go. We definitely should have declared earlier. Yet hope shone again, it was especially amusing to see Gillespie go for a big 0 from an lbw. He has definitely sucked ass in this test. He used to do well before he had the silly long hair; he was certainly a fantastic bowler, so maybe he’s like an anti-Samson?

Our pleas to Flintoff paid off as towards the end, he gets Warne out, with the help of Jones. Flintoff gets a bit excited and starts doing acrobatics to celebrate. I went similarly insane when we finally got Ponting out, we were almost there! The last half hour I was on the edge of my seat, one wicket to go. We had the captain out, could we do it? As you probably know the answer was no, giving a slight anti-climax at the end. The Aussies were over the moon, but the mood was generally happy on the other side. It had been a good day’s cricket. Also, if you want to see an Australian run in the nude, be at Canal Street on Friday 26th August!

That was one of the fantastic things about seeing a game of cricket, I don’t mean nude Australians, I mean that it’s such a friendly atmosphere and no one goes on a killing spree or a huff because their side didn’t win. The closest we had to tension was one guy shouting “Rat Boy” to Ricky Ponting as he received Man of the Match. I was invited to come out for a few drinks with the Aussies, how could I refuse? Now this wouldn’t happen in football, would it (not like I’m bitching about football). Seriously though, please inform me if a Manchester United fan has ever gone for a friendly drink with a Manchester City fan after a match.

My only criticism of cricket is that England had obviously been the superior team throughout the time at Old Trafford, yet we come out with a feeble draw! Oh well roll on Trent Bridge. You never know, this could this be the first time we win the Ashes since 1986!

Dig Manchester

Dig Manchester (2005 – 2008) is a three year community archaeology project bringing together volunteers and children to work alongside professional archaeologists on a series of excavations in Northenden and Moston.

The project is open to all ages and abilities. No experience is necessary.

The aim of the project is to offer opportunities for people and school children to get involved with real archaeology in a practical and ‘live’ environment.

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 23/08/05 by Ian

Growing Pains

As readers of Dig may have noticed, life on the allotment has been hit by a general feeling of apathy, not helped by my laziness, meaning that little work has taken place since the initial flurry.

Some extra motivation may be gleaned from the Manchester Harvest, a week long event starting tomorrow, involving placing a full size allotment in Albert Square and filling it with produce from Manchester allotments.

I won’t be able to make it during the week, but I’m looking forward to buying and cooking with some local grown produce over the weekend.

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 07/08/05 by Damian

Victoria Baths

originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Anyone familiar with the Restoration TV programme will remember Victoria Baths, winner of the first series.

The baths have an open day on the first Sunday of every month during the summer, so we went down to see what had been achieved with the winnings.

The three and a half million pounds owed from the Restoration bounty haven’t been forthcoming, something to do with business plans, so the structure is still slowly collapsing. It looks like the money may be released this year, and will go towards making the building watertight.

I’ve been on the tour of the public areas of the pools before, so when the opportunity to look at the workings came up I jumped at it like the Steam Geek I am. A lot of debris has been cleared away and it’s now possible to get into the cellar and access the main valve that drained the pools. The boiler/ filtration room has even been used in a couple of TV series, though I can’t remember which ones.

All Spinneyworld photos on Flickr tagged Victoria Baths.

All photos on Flickr tagged Victoria Baths.

Friends of Victoria Baths.

Originally uploaded to Spinneyworld 07/08/05 by Ian

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