Since coming back after Christmas, university has been pretty hectic combined with my part time job, with my final project due in April and lectures to sit in on you could say it has been a bit stressful. However I have made sure that I am constantly exploring this Northern city to make the most of the time I have left up here. Firstly my birthday was in February where I was truly spoiled by my friends, with flowers and a huge birthday cake in a very amusing shape (don’t ask!). All of my friends dressed up with me for a night out in Font, Oxford Road and then Factory for a night of dancing to 60’s music, playing the kind of tunes where everyone knows the words, and you just can’t stop saying “oh I LOVE this song!” every time another came on. Was such a great night, and even the day after with everybody coming over to watch films and eat, trying to recover from the night before!
As another treat I went to visit my auntie in Nantwich, a small town in Cheshire surrounded by lovely countryside. Here Reaseheath Agricultural College opens up every year to the public for the lambing. We went on such a beautiful day and there were so many sheep it was amazing. Lots of babies were being born and some youngsters only weeks old jumping and skipping around; it was wonderful.
I also did some research through word of mouth where I should be going in Manchester and a friend of mine suggested Chorlton, saying it was a beautiful town with some excellent bars and cafes, so a few friends and I went for a wander on a lovely sunny day. Unfortunately our appetites got the better of us and we went straight to Morrison’s to buy lunch, then we asked for directions and headed to the nearest park for a picnic (in March!), so we didn’t get to see much of Chorlton at all, no regrets though!
The most recent big event has to be St Paddys. With two Irish pals here, we were treated to traditional Irish food like colcannon, soda bread and box-t as well as all dressing in green. We went to the Whip DJ set at Antwerp Mansion in Rusholme, a kind of abandoned building set up for multiple rooms of DJs and bands. It was really cool music in such a strange and quirky setting!
This week alone I have been pretty busy; on Monday I had dinner in Didsbury, in a restaurant called GUSTO, where the food was amazing. It makes such a change to be able to actually order a meal that wasn’t just cheesy chips at the Union (as much as I love that before lectures, don’t get me wrong!). We had this fantastic dessert of miniature donuts, a little bowl of hot chocolate sauce and another of cream for dipping. Amazing.
On Wednesday this week I went to Knowsley Hall with some people on my course to hear a lecture on primates. The talk itself was interesting in parts, but generally very short and basic, with a strong sense of it being unprepared! However the location was really nice; the hall itself was huge as you approached and the inside was very traditional and ornate as you expect in any stately home. It was great all lit up at night, but would have been nice to explore during the day too as the grounds looked huge.
On Friday after finishing work at lunchtime I decided to head to town to meet some friends, where we could go to the town hall in Albert Square and see the Queen and Prince Phillip, on the Queen’s Jubilee tour. We waited over an hour but it was actually really awesome to see her when she came out and walked around the jubilee garden that was made for her. Ever since the royal wedding there has been such a buzz about the royal family, so many people showed up to see her it was really impressive. Later that afternoon we met some more friends at a bar called ‘Rain’, with a gorgeous beer garden backing onto the canal. It was such a lovely sunny day and a perfect end to a week of work!
This weekend had to be the best though. The weather continued to be so sunny and so warm that most of the time was spent sitting in the garden or walking. On Saturday some friends and I walked from Withington, through Didsbury, to Moss Park. We explored lots of different areas to the park and frequently went off the path to find different wildlife. We saw so many birds, including my first treecreeper and surprisingly enough a colony of green parakeets. Unbelievably they were just flying around the wood as if they were natural inhabitants, which now of course they are becoming; apparently they were released down south and have gradually colonised woodlands. Although it’s cool to see, its important to realise these are an invasive species that have a negative effect on the habitat and other wildlife as they are not used to this species being around.
The week ended on probably the best day for exploring. Again with Sunday having excellent weather, a group of us went to Edale in the Peak District and this was fantastic. We arrive around midday and embarked on a really long walk around the fields, along some streams and up the peaks. The views were stunning and with all the baby lambs around there was real peacefulness; it was such a wonderful walk. In the late afternoon we arrived at a little pub called the Nags Head where we enjoyed a pint by the river. We later met up with some other friends that were also walking that day and proceeded onto another little pub in Hope Valley called… where we all enjoyed a roast dinner with our cider. It was such a perfect day and evening, really making me look forward to the rest of spring and the summer. On the way home we drove through the dales seeing the sun set and it was beautiful. A perfect end to a perfect week.