I was at an important meeting for work yesterday. I can’t go into details as it’s all a bit sensitive at the moment and a lot of stuff in in the air still. We can’t see it settling for a couple of years to be honest if you catch my drift. We’re all in the same boat at the moment and many companies will be having similar meetings across the UK. We just want the best for the company and its employees and the best for the city. We hope that the people who are in control outside our company achieve the best result for Team GB as a whole. We will see. At the moment we are just weighing up our options.
The meeting was held in a meeting room in the university. I’d not been in that part of town since summer and had forgotten how busy it was with the students back. Manchester has a huge student population and they really make a difference to the vibe in this part of the city when they are back and when they are away of course. And the new cohort looked so young. I used to be able to relate to them as I was at the university as well. But now they are looking like a different race entirely.
The meeting began dramatically, even more dramatically than we anticipated given what we were discussing. The woman chairing the meeting began it. She’d got as far as welcoming us all and then fell silent and it became clear, as her legs buckled beneath her, that she wasn’t at all well. It seems she suffers from a condition called Ménière’s Disease. It’s a condition that affects the inner ear and causes bad vertigo and dizziness. She had to be helped down from the podium and spent the rest of the day sleeping and getting back to normal. When we left she was well enough to stand and walk but still looked not at her best.
So another woman had to stand up and take the meeting from the notes. She was a little uncertain at the beginning but, with the support and good will of the audience, she got better and we got through the day.
At lunch I went out for a little fresh air. We were just near the little park at All Saints so I headed there to look at the trees. On a map this area is called Grovesnor Square but everyone calls it All Saints after the church that used to be in the centre of it. It was demolished when it became surplus to requirements as the growth of the university and the city centre caused the population to move out. The church has gone but the old graveyard is still there under the lawns. Students enjoying their lunch here may not be aware of this and the thousands of people buried below the grass. A little indication is that ball games and dogs are banned in the little park.
Here’s the Grovesnor Picture House, a pretty tiled cinema from back in the 1920s. It’s now called The Footage and is a student bar.
Like the rest of Manchester, the university district is undergoing massive changes as new building projects are begun. The rather ugly 1960s building on the corner of Oxford Road, next to the School of Art, is coming down to be replaced, hopefully, by something more attractive.
Oxford Road itself is having a massive overhaul. It’s been one of the busiest routes into the city centre and the busiest bus route in Europe. Sometimes you can taste the air it is so polluted. Cars are being banned from it and only buses and bicycles will be able to use the part from Whitworth Park to St Peter’s Square, creating a tree lined boulevard right thorough the hospital and university corridor. It will look great when finished but is a mess at the moment along its entire length. Omelettes and eggs come to mind.
The little park was an oasis of calm away from the traffic and building along Oxford Road. The trees are taking in their autumn colour and shedding them. I like this time of year, it’s one of my favourites.
All the summer flowers are finished or way past their best. But Michaelmas Daisies are at their peak. Their tiny purple flowers aren’t very dramatic on their own but, en mass, they look great and they are a late food boost for bees before they find somewhere safe and cosy for the winter.
This stall has been on the edge of the park for years selling fruit to students who might never come across a piece in their four years at university. When I was at university The Footage wasn’t known for its baskets of fruit shall we say.
And I like this little stall selling second hand books and music.