Check out Lucy (from the Waterways Trust)'s video of the horseboat 'Maria' travelling along the Rochdale Canal in Manchester city centre on Friday - Bilbo the horse doing sterling work! Maria and Bilbo and the team from the Horseboating Society also featured on Friday night's Northwest Tonight.....
Sunday night's not usually my favourite TV-viewing time slot. I'm not a huge fan of Songs of Praise and the Antiques Roadshow fills me with an urge to finish my non-existent homework, so I tend to reserve Sunday nights for such joyous tasks as ironing, making packed dinners, and finally getting round to reading the Saturday papers. Last night, though, it was a different matter. I was on the couch ahead of time, bag packed, shirts ironed, and today's butties sitting in the fridge waiting for me to forget them on Monday morning. And what prompted this uncharacteristic display of efficiency? A surprise screening of The Goonies? Repeats of the 2005 Ashes series? No, it was the Northern-based episode of Griff Rhys Jones's epic Rivers series, and for the Mersey Basin Campaign there was lots to get excited about...
Our friend Dave Sandman, United Utilities sewage treatment worker and cross-Mersey swimmer challenged Griff to a swim across the Mersey, which had to be abandoned halfway because of the level of shipping traffic on the river (can't complain at that - and is it just me, or did Griff look slightly relieved to be back in the warm?).
Talking of the Mersey People, Griff also helped a Mersey pilot, Geoff Rafferty, bring a huge ACL vessel into the Port of Liverpool. Two of Geoff's colleagues, John Curry and Tony Brand also took part in the Mersey People project - you can listen to them discussing their work in this interview: Download Tony Brand and John Curry
At the other end of the Mersey, Griff also visited the Manchester Ship Canal, and went underground with Environment Agency staff at Moston Brook. It wasn't the Nine O'Clock News, but it was a great showcase for the Northwest's revitalised, thriving, and COLD rivers!
Okay, so it might not quite be up there with THAT gig, but everyone who's anyone will surely be heading for the great Manchester Music Venues walk, taking place as part of the Rochdale Canal Festival 2009 on Tuesday 14th July.
The four-mile walk will take in the canal as it passes through Manchester city centre, and many legendary Manc music haunts, from the Bridgewater Hall to the Roadhouse.
The walk starts at 11am, meeting at the main entrance of Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square.
Why not prepare for the walk by listening to HEARMANCHESTER.COM / UNSUNG a unique audio portrait of the city's musical heritage, which finds music journalist and punk legend John Robb talking to some of Manchester's unsung musical heroes, from Tosh Ryan of Rabid Records (The Buzzcocks, Slaughter and The Dogs), and discovering the city's jazz and hip-hop scenes, as well as unearthing a few unexpected anecdotes about the father of the Halle Orchestra and his postman........
Check them out! https://www.hearmanchester.com, our audio portraits based along the Rochdale Canal in Manchester city centre was shortlisted in three categories at the Big Chip Awards last night, and the project was lucky enough to receive special commendations for both 'Best Public Sector Project' and 'Best Use of Visual Design'. The awards were presented at a glitzy ceremony at Manchester's Palace Hotel, and I think star-studded would be the appropriate term for an event which was hosted by Terry Christian AND featured a special performance from comedian Bill Bailey, fresh from the stage at the Palace Theatre, where he's been performing his stand-up show for the past few nights. We had fun with our friends from Stardotstar, who developed the project, as well as the photographer, Graeme Cooper, Andrew from 257 Design, who created our beautiful Hearmanchester bollards, and our project partners from Marketing Manchester, thanks everyone for a great night.....
Visit the Big Chip website for information about the other award winners, and no doubt a beautiful picture of us in our finery at some point....
And don't just take the judges' word for it, jump on Hearmanchester.com, and take a walk along the Rochdale Canal with punk legend John Robb.
Been out and about in Greater Manchester this morning? You didn't happen to spot anyone blowing bubbles, did you? No, United aren't at home to West Ham, it's all part of a project that's taking place during this week's Futuresonic festival in the city.
Climate Bubbles is part of the festival's Environment 2.0 strand, and aims to provide the Met Office with a picture of Greater Manchester's urban heat island (yes, there is one, despite how it feels this morning....).
Everyone can get involved with the project, and there are two simple tasks to complete - first, blow some bubbles and chase them, to record the wind direction, and second, blow a bubble and record how long it takes to travel ten metres. You can do the tasks at any time between midday today (15th May) and midday tomorrow (16th May), although apparently the best weather conditions will be after 3pm on Friday. It doesn't matter where in Greater Manchester you are - the project would like data from as many different places as possible.
Download your instructions and worksheet HERE - what're you waiting for?
15th July | Family fun cycle ride (Oldham PCT) | Rochdale & Daisy Nook, 10:30am-12noon
15th July | Free KS2 schools workshop (as above) | MANCHESTER
For more information about the festival, get in touch with Lucy Rogers at the Waterways Trust. To book a place on the schools workshops in Oldham, Rochdale or Manchester, please contact either Lucy or Freya on 0161 242 8216.
Full events listings will be available on Rochdale MBC's website, and on The Waterways Trust homepage closer to the festival. We'll post up more news soon, so watch this space.
Remember the RSPB's team visiting Exchange Square last year to help us keep track of the city's nesting Peregrine Falcons? Well, they're back again! I was eating lunch down there yesterday, and the telescope was attracting a huge audience. This year the RSPB and BBC Manchester have a WEBCAM linked to the big screen so that everyone can keep track of the goings on in Manchester's most exclusive penthouse residence.
Back in the summer of 2007, I interviewed one of the RSPB's information assistants, Sarah Williams about the peregrine falcon project for SourceNW magazine. Download High_rise_heroes. There are similar projects going on in other parts of the country - for example, the first eggs have just hatched over at the Derby Cathedral peregrines' next. Click here to read their blog.
Spotted an interesting snippet in the Metro newspaper this morning - it seems a volunteer was taking part in a clean up at his local pond down in Hampshire, when he unearthed the head of a dalek from amongst the usual litter. According to the Metro, Marc Oakland saw something round and dark coming to the surface of the pond, which turned out to be the head of one of Doctor Who's archenemies, the daleks. It seems they'd filmed in the area, and this particular exterminator had been left behind. So next time you're out in your waders, just think, a piece of TV history could be just under the next shopping trolley.
The Mersey Basin Campaign offers lots of opportunities to get involved in clean-ups on the Northwest's waters. We can't promise space-rubbish, but if you'd like to take part, contact your nearest Action Partnership, or email our Community Support Coordinator, Bev Mitchell
The Rochdale Canal's latest landmarks have been nominated for a prestigious design award. The distinctive yellow bollards, which sprang up along the towpath from Canal Street to Dukes Lock during the summer, have been shortlisted in the Wayfinding and Environmental Graphics category of the Design Week Awards. They were designed by our friends at 257 - well done on the nomination! Each bollard is linked to an audio portrait from hearmanchester.com. Follow the links, and join punk journalist John Robb as he discovers the secret life of Manchester's city centre waterways. Go on, it's much more than just a shortcut from the New Union to Dukes 92....