Saturdays are football days…. still just about. But while we might potentially have been in attendance at Morecambe FC today for their FA Cup tie with Solihull, this is declared ‘unsafe’ by Our Glorious Leaders at this present time, so like the other interested hundreds we had to make do with TV. The local mug and, in the background, Clare’s scarf offered totems of support. But it’s unreal, fake somehow. The trouble is that no one in ‘authority’ really gives a toss.
The grey gloom of life is matched by the weather and none of these conditions make for optimal photography. This day last year I was having a very fine day out in Indonesia (and photographing butterflies 5,000 feet up); two years ago I’d just come back from Germany. No similar excursions look feasible for quite some time. The local birdlife will have to sustain me today. I do quite like the correspondence between its little red legs and the chimney pots in the background.
Here I am still going into Manchester a couple of days a week, largely because it gets the step count up. I will try not to get symbolic and just observe that I like this picture because of the various chunks of detail, which seem to lay over one another like a collage, particularly on the right hand side. And the pigeon which sneaked itself in.
No, I won’t do it. I won’t stay cowering at home, plugged into the Matrix and denied the world outside. My physical and mental health — the things we’re supposed to care about, right? — these are too important. And most of the woods and parks that I am frequenting are pretty busy with other people, suggesting that these souls, at least, have taken the same decision. It is not for the gaggle of failed journalists and lobbyists for the tobacco industry who got themselves elected about a year ago to tell us what is healthy and what is not.
Went into Manchester and back, and did hope to get a photo from there to provide more variety to the locations. But it’s been a while since the view from the house at sunset made it: and today seemed a good day to return to that theme. Red sky at night is good news, right?
I didn’t leave the house all day today. There didn’t really seem a great deal of point. This tortoiseshell butterfly has also moved in, it seems. I guess a domestic house is like an old people’s home for butterflies; the winter isn’t biting yet but I doubt these will last long outside, regardless. It’s welcome to inhabit our living room. It gave me something to photograph today, at least.
If to “anthropomorphosise” is to assign human characteristics to animals, is there a word for assigning animal characteristics to plants? For this tree is clearly doing a good impression of something or other, maybe a lizard, with not only that obvious eye and snout but a crest of moss. I’m inventing (perhaps) a word for it — zoomorph. Noun: a plant that takes on the shape of an animal.
An all-too-welcome excuse to get out and about was offered today — yes Mr Johnson it counted as ‘essential travel only’, so call off the wolves. The destination was a new one for me, Fleetwood, standing at the corner of Morecambe Bay and thus with a magnificent view that could not possibly be captured in a single camera shot. This one’s OK, I like it because of the fishermen (appropriate for the town, whose football team, Fleetwood Town, are known as the ‘Cod Army’) and also the bird which gives a nice touch. The weather was a lot better than it looks here, too. Anyway — an escape, for a while.
To stop the walls closing in any more than they already are I’ve been making a point of sitting out in a spot by the river in the early evenings, when the weather allows. Just to take some air, watch the ducks (my post of a few days ago was taken from this same point), have a couple of beers. Feel human. Clare joined me for this one and so, for 15 minutes or so, did fellow ex-Railway habitué Bernard, who happened to be passing with a bottle of his own. We talked. As much as anything, we just enjoyed the fact we could see someone else’s face, for real.
The vast MECD, or Manchester Engineering Campus Development, is pretty much finished. In embryonic form it was first depicted way back in early January 2018. It now dwarfs the old Oddfellows Hall, which it has part-swallowed, yet what you see rising here is only a small part of the whole.
Thing is — and I am very sure that, having spent hundreds of millions of pounds on this new plaything, the senior management of UoM are keenly aware of this point — is this now the whitest and most mammoth of white elephants? And what of all the blocks of new student accommodation, and hotels, and office blocks, and all the other city-centre property developments that global capital has been poured into over the last decade or so? If you think the economy’s taken a Covid hit thus far, wait for the whole global commercial property market to go tits-up. This piece of economic elastic does not have infinite tolerance. I predict we’ll be coaxed back out into our offices soon enough: if not, they’ll hear the crash on Pluto.