Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Monumental Manchester.

On Tuesday we went for our mid afternoon meal (carrying on the Liverpool tradition of eating just once a day). We chose Zizzi in The Corn Exchange …….


……. which is an awesome building in it’s own right.


Our charming waitress, Lola, recognised us (well, recognised James actually!) from last year and, after chatting for a while, found we had numerous mutual friends in the area. Half way through the meal she presented each of us with a glass of ‘bubbly’ to start off our Manchester Pride celebrations.


What a lovely thing to do! We hope we’ll meet up with Lola again during the Pride weekend.


On Wednesday James made his annual visit to the John Ryland’s Library in Deansgate.


From the outside the fine building looks like a cathedral – in fact, it could easily be mistaken for Manchester’s Cathedral.


Inside it gives an even better impression of being a place of worship.


A look upwards, wherever you are in the building, with it’s lofty fan-vaulting and intricate roof bosses the impression continues.


No expense was spared to present this building as impressive as possible.


The gothic arches, pulpit adornments, chandelier lighting and impressive stone staircases give a good indication of what is to come ……..


…….. which is the enormously impressive Central Reading Room. The tremendous space could well be the interior of a very important place of worship. The stained glass windows at either end give the chamber a very special atmosphere.


Down both sides of the central aisle are numerous open plan reading rooms which are lined ……….


….. with some very valuable and very old reading matter. In fact, the library holds nearly 1 million books and almost 1 million manuscripts.


At one end of the Central Reading Room is the marble statue of John Rylands who died in 1888 and ………


……. at the other end a similar statue of Enriqueta Rylands who had the library built in memory of her husband as a gift to the people of Manchester. It was opened in 1900.


And what a gift to the city it was, and still is! It is a place of worship of sorts – to the written word. That includes anything that can be written on – wood, clay, paper, parchment, papyrus, the list goes on.


The entrance to the Central Reading Room is a delight and continues the relentlessly superb workmanship and design throughout the building.


It could easily lend itself as the backdrop to Hogwarts! Harry Potter would feel very much at home!


There was a short lecture on Shakespeare which James attended with a very rare and early book of his sonnets on display. However, also on display was this papyrus fragment of the Gospel of John. With incomplete ancient Greek text it is considered to be the earliest portion ever found. (2nd or 3rd century AD). And it sits there right before your eyes!


One place that should be visited before leaving the library is the gentlemen’s toilets. They are the oldest working toilets in the country ………..


……. and well worth using before you leave. Sadly, the ladies equivalent is not nearly so good!


On Wednesday afternoon our friends Pam and Geoff came over to see us from their home in the Lake District. In an amazing coincidence our Facebook profile reminded us that it was one year ago to the very day that they came to see us in Castlefield last time! There was, of course, the very necessary chat over drinks on the back deck before ………


……. taking the short walk across to Albert’s Shed for a superb meal together. It’ll be a couple of months before we meet up with these very lovely people again (watch this space!) but we had the most wonderful afternoon with them – a great pleasure. Thanks Pam and Geoff for coming over.

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