Celebrate Bisexuality Day – 23 September 2019

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This is the 20th anniversary as Celebrate Bisexuality Day was first officially observed in 1999 at the International Lesbian and Gay Association Conference in Johannesburg South Africa.

This celebration of bisexuality in particular, as opposed to general LGBT events, was conceived as a response to the prejudice and marginalisation of bisexual people by some in both the straight and greater LGBT communities.

 

Alderley Edge

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Trips & Adventures – 19 September 2019

We walked down the main high street in the village of Alderley, which is 15 miles south of Manchester, heading for the award winning Foster’s Chippy, but stopping at a couple of the charity shops on the way. We marvelled at the quality of the items on sale, which were quite exclusive.

Alderley Edge is known for its affluence and expensive houses, and has a selection of cafes and designer shops which has attracted numerous Premier League footballers (including David Beckham), actors and multi-millionaire businesspeople. It is one of the most expensive and sought-after places to live in the UK outside central London. We spotted Rolls Royce and Bentley convertibles with personalised number plates: “1 LET'” and “HAV 1T”. The Daily Mirror once referred to Alderley as “the fake tan capital of Britain”.

However, the chippy offers a very reasonable fish, chips, mushy peas and a drink for £9.00. It’s a simple but smart restaurant and we were amused by the slogans that the staff had on their t-shirts: “50 Shades of Gravy”; “Definately Gravy”; and “I Believe I Can Fry”.

One member of our group had a relative who had smashed the record in the Guinness Book of Records for eating the most fish and chips. It was either that or eating the most smarties in one minute blindfolded using chopsticks. I might have misheard.

There is very limited public transport in the village and we had no alternative but to take a taxi to Alderley Edge, which is the area’s chief topographical feature and overlooks the Cheshire Plain.

The view from the Edge and the woodland walk were magnificent which we thoroughly enjoyed. We ended up in the Wizard’s Tea Rooms for teas and coffees. We had to walk back about three miles back to the train station, but at least most of it was downhill.

Air Raid Shelter, Stockport

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Trips & Adventures – 12 September 2019

It only takes only a few minutes to travel from Piccadilly train station to Stockport train station, and there are trains every few minutes. After the difficulty and expense of getting to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre last week, it was a bit of a relief to have a local trip.

We walked to the Calvert’s Court, a Wetherspoon’s pub in the town centre. It was just like any other Wetherspoon’s pub, but we had some good conversations with the usual “Carry On” double entendres. We discussed how younger people seem to be at ease with terms like “queer” while some older people are still struggling with “gay”.

Again it was only a short walk to the Air Raid Shelters – a system of almost one mile of underground tunnels dug under Stockport during World War II to protect local inhabitants during air raids.

Four sets of underground air raid shelter tunnels for civilian use were dug into the red sandstone rock below the town centre. Preparation started in September 1938 and the first set of shelters was opened on 28 October 1939; Stockport was not bombed until 11 October 1940. The smallest of the tunnel shelters could accommodate 2,000 people and the largest 3,850. It was subsequently expanded to take up to 6,500 people.

The largest of the Stockport Air Raid Shelters have been open to the public since 1996 as part of the town’s museum service.

After our visit we decided to have a tea or coffee. We spotted a small cafe called “In or Out”. The question was: “Were we In or were we Out”? However, the young woman behind the counter was more interested in her telephone conversation than dealing with customers, so we walked out. Mr Essoldo suggested we try the Plaza. The building is in the Art Deco style and was built in 1932. The service was excellent and it was an enjoyable end to our visit.

Jodrell Bank

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Trips & Adventures – 5 September 2019

Jodrell Bank is not easy to get to on public transport … it’s one small step for man, one giant leap for Out In The City!

The Jodrell Bank Observatory hosts a number of radio telescopes, and was established in 1945 by Bernard Lovell, a radio astronomer at the University of Manchester to investigate cosmic rays after his work on radar during the Second World War. It has since played an important role in the research of meteors, quasars, pulsars, masers and gravitational lenses, and was heavily involved with the tracking of space probes at the start of the Space Age.

The main telescope at the observatory is the Mark I (now known as the Lovell Telescope), which is the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world. There are also three other active telescopes at the observatory.

Since 13 July 1988 the Lovell Telescope has been designated as a Grade I listed building, and on 7 July 2019, the observatory became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2019 marks 50 years since humans first set foot on another celestial body. And so, in this, the 50th anniversary year of the historic moon landing, we heard the incredible story of Jodrell Bank’s role in the race to the Moon.

   

Jodrell Bank has been at the heart of ground-breaking and world-leading science for over 70 years. In the fascinating talk, One Giant Leap, we discovered newly released audio-visual material from the Jodrell Bank archives, featuring aspects of the both the American and Russian Space programmes. We then joined a Telescope Walking Tour. We were very impressed with both presenters.

We particularly enjoyed the Whispering Dishes. When you speak at the focus of one dish, the sound waves spread out from your mouth and reflect off its surface, forming a parallel beam. This beam travels to the other dish where the reverse happens, concentrating the sound again at the focus, so even your whispers can be heard clearly. The Lovell Telescope works in the same way collecting radio waves from outer space.

We learnt that microwaves and mobile telephones can affect the signals … but most importantly we learnt that next time we must take a picnic as the food provided in the café was the worst ever meal we have ever had in our whole lives!

Barrowford

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Trips & Adventures – 29 August 2019

Our trip was to Barrowford, a large village in the Pendle district of Lancashire. We caught bus X43 (The Witchway) to Burnley and then changed to the Higherford bus to Barrowford.

We visited the George & Dragon which served delicious home made food – we were very impressed – before heading to the Pendle Heritage Centre.

This is a museum and visitor centre occupying Park Hill, a two-storey former farmhouse which has a 1661 date stone but was developed over an extended period between the 16th century and the beginning of the 18th century.

Park Hill has been restored using traditional building techniques to provide visitors with an insight on how the house has been developed and adapted and the centre attracts over 100,000 visitors a year. The permanent exhibitions include the story of Park Hill as a working farm, the history of the Bannister and Swinglehurst families who occupied the house and the Pendle witches. Sir Roger Bannister (who ran the first sub-four minute mile on 6 May 1954) is a descendant of the family that once lived here.

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the trials of the Pendle witches, a new long-distance walking route called the Lancashire Witches Walk was created starting from the Pendle Heritage Centre. Ten waymarkers were installed along the route, each inscribed with a verse of a poem by Carol Ann Duffy.

We enjoyed our visit but the gift shop was a little overpriced – I mean £12.99 for a battered book and no discount offered!

For more photos click here