We’re all guilty of forgetting the wonderful things on our doorsteps when it comes to planning a weekend’s adventures.
It’s easy to arrange things to see and do when you go away. You want to get the most out of your time in a new place. But when it’s your home city you feel like you have all the time in the world to see it, which often leaves you missing a lot.
Manchester has so much to offer that I still feel like a newbie after 8 years because I’ve hardly scratched the surface.
So, I spent last weekend exploring three fantastic things to do in the city.
It may not have escaped your notice that the gallery reopened on Valentine’s Day, with an exciting programme of events inside and out.
I’ve not been to the gallery before so I cannot make a comparison with the way it used to be. But now, it is a magnificent space with a modern feel in an historic building. I particularly loved the outlook to the park, which connects the building with its surroundings.
I didn’t spend long there and it was teeming with people but I will definitely be going back to take in the exhibitions properly.
The Dance of the Butterflies exhibition also opened on Valentine’s Day and will remain at the museum until 1 December 2015.
It is an easy walk from the Whitworth Gallery so if you are in the mood for culture the two can easily be enjoyed on the same day; a point which was not lost in the timing of these two significant openings.
I have a thing about butterflies so I really enjoyed this exhibition. The butterflies, created by African artist Romuald Hazoumè, are made from off-cuts of African wax-print fabrics, which are arranged together in the shape of other animal forms, mimicking political characteristics in Africa.
Although the materials are regarded as typically African, they have a more subtle link to Manchester’s industrial past. Cotton manufacturers, wanting to break in to the West African textile market, produced a wide variety of printed patterns to appeal to African tastes.
You’d be forgiven for mistaking the exterior of the gallery and it’s entrance hall for a World War 1 trench with all the sandbags that are built up there.
And you would be right, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to look like. But, you will also notice the snowdrops growing between the sandbags.
The snowdrops at the gallery are designed to showcase the National Trust Manchester Snowdrop City project, which saw 100,000 snowdrop bulbs planted across the city to mark the centenary of the First World War.
Snowdrops, which bloom in very early spring, were chosen because they were planted at war graves during the war to remind the soldiers of home. Their small, white flowers are a symbol of hope and peace, which also provide nectar for bees, making them particularly appropriate for Manchester. It is hoped that the snowdrops will continue to flower year after year as a lasting memorial to those who lost their lives in the war.
The snowdrop installation ends on 1 March 2015 and flowers can also be seen at various locations throughout the city.
With all these wonderful things on offer, there’s no excuse not to get out and about in Manchester.
Photos by Mark Johnson and me.