Yesterday morning I took the train north to Manchester for a day out with a friend. We both went to university there, but didn’t know each other then, so it was good to be able to explore a city we both knew and share stories of our time there.
Since leaving university more than ten years ago, I’ve been back there for day trips about once a year. This particular visit was prompted by a comment left on this website: I was asked by someone who works at Urbis if they could use a couple of my pictures in an upcoming exhibition. If you haven’t visited Urbis before, time is running out: the museum closes at the end of this month. I’m really sad about this – it’s the sort of museum that is fun to visit, and the exhibits change regularly so there is (was) always something new to see. When we last went to Manchester in 2007, Urbis had an exhibition about the Hacienda (a place I spent more time in than the university’s library during my student days) and another one about playing in urban environments. Our pictures from that visit are on Flickr, and someone from Urbis found them and asked if they could use them. They told me the museum was about to close, and I didn’t want to miss the chance to see it again (before it gets turned into a museum about football. Grr.), so a day trip was planned.
We didn’t get to see everything we set out to: the city is so big that it just wasn’t possible. But we walked through my favourite part of the city first – I love to walk up Oxford Road into the city, past the Central Library and into St Peter’s Square (which was adorned with red lanterns for the Chinese New Year). From there we headed to the shops for some retail therapy – Heal’s was the most fun place to window shop, but I left empty-handed (most of what I liked there was too breakable to buy in a shop so far away from home). I got myself a few goodies elsewhere though, including a pretty brooch in Accessorize.
After lunch we went to Urbis to see ‘Urbis has left the building’ – a show looking back at everything they’ve exhibited since the museum opened. We would have been happy to spend much longer there, but there were still other places to visit and so we didn’t dawdle. It was exciting to spot my photos, and to see my name credited next to them – I don’t think I’ve ever had anything exhibited in a museum before!
During the course of the day I took quite a few pictures – it was a clear and sunny day, so the city really sparkled.