Blooming lovely…if you can wait until 2020

The RHS or Royal Horticultural Society creates an image of an aged botanist, carefully crafting a selected rose for an ancient vase in a royal palace.

You could be forgiven for thinking this and to those of us resident in the UK the prefix royal will often create an assumption of exclusive, high end and certainly not cool or leading edge.

Yes their origins go back to 1804 when John Wedgewood son of the Pottery industrialist Joshua Wedgewood called together a meeting of like minded people in Hatchards bookshop and things got moving from that.

You can sort of see the connection..often this pottery had beautifully hand painted flowers on them.

But old and stuffy… well think again…

The RHS for sure have not been on a trailblazing expansion rampage of creating new facilities and experiences in the style of Walt Disney or Lego…but when they do something new, they sure do it right.

They literally only have a handful of gardens in the country – Wisley in Surrey, Harlow Carr in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Risemoor in Devon and Hyde Hall in Essex. Five gardens and a few annual flowers shows each year may not seem like a stellar performance but sometimes in life it really is about quality, not quantity. I am perhaps being a little unkind here…their flower shows are amazing…Chelsea Flower Show, Tatton Park and Cardiff are all sold out events, but you get my point.

However, on the horizon is another. For years the RHS have been looking for a suitable location in the North West of England and they really have struck gold with this next one.

RHS Bridgewater is in the grounds of the ruined Worsley Hall and truly is going to be a jewel in the crown. Not just for the sheer scale and the restoration of magnificent gardens but for it’s inclusiveness and breadth of opportunities for local people to be involved. And that will extend to those on the fringes of society. Yes, this garden is located in leafy affluent Worsley but is located near enough to the more challenged parts of the wider Manchester area.

Sometimes things do take time to be nurtured but when they bloom, they will amaze. I feel sure this will do that and more. 2020 will be worth waiting for.

Why this blog? Click to find out more……

The bees knees….

My grandfather was a doctor and naturally inquisitive and always striving to learn more. Even with something as simple as looking up a word in the dictionary he said you should whilst the book is open read the entry above and the entry below. In this way you will learn more things, admittedly maybe not things you need to know, but that might enrich you.

In the electronic world we live in some will argue that these opportunities don’t arise now…but I disagree. In our news feeds etc. there are often adjacent articles that may catch our eye and will be worth our attention.

I can testify to this as recently as yesterday. The said adjacent article intrigued me…’Large Investment for Bee Network’.

From more detailed scrutiny I learnt of a brave and bold initiative to create 1000’s of miles of cycle tracks in the Manchester (England) area including links to major tourist areas , city centre and outlyng towns to revolutionise cycling in the city.

Now I don’t live in Manchester, not really cycle that much but I do strongly support anything that gets people outside, doing healthy stuff and reducing polution so a tick in all three boxes there. I also embrace any kind of good news story so for this alone, I thank my grandfather. Manchester has been in the worldwide news spotlight in the past but for very troubling reasons – most recently the terrorist attacks at the Ariana Grande concert in the city’s arena.

Oh, and in case you are wondering why the name Bee network? The bee has been the symbol of Manchester seen in city emblems since the 1800’s representing it’s tradition as an industrious city. A very apt name for the evolution of transport in this resilient and growing city.

Sometimes in life you need to go and find the good news, it doesn’t come to you.

Why this blog? Click to find out more….

Dirty old town

For those who are fans of the Pogues, they will know the lyrics of this song are something like ‘ I met my love by the gas works wall, Dreamed a dream by the old canal, I kissed my girl by the factory wall, Dirty old town’ . Now I don’t think that town had a name but somehow I don’t think it was Bellavista, Beaumaris or anything remotely suggesting anything looking nice . Naming of towns isn’t driven by people ..having said that for new towns it perhaps is (we have a few of these new towns in the UK and these probably have had a committee or a focus group to name them).

Yes, unlike children whose parents spend many hours hours of researching popular names. Hopefully being sure that the trendy name you give your child is really what you intended and will survive the years without causing undue embarrassment in the playground or on the school bus. In our family at the time of great grandparents era we have at least one relative who was proudly named Fanny. Say no more..but trust me, it might be not so cool to be called that in North America, in the uk it really is decidedly awkward.

Its not just the names , another example is the regretful parent of David Ian McDonald when it came to initials being marked on schoolwear.

Generally speaking town names have just evolved from some simple geographic description or derivation from a Latin or Roman name from the past. This usually tends to work, but just occasionally you end up with some tidy and pleasant town or village having a name…well that makes it sound rather not so nice, or even having connotations of…well anything but the intended name.

In the UK we have numerous examples of these…I could probably name about 50 with ease…but in the interests of brevity, here is my top 5.

Snodland – as a child when being driven along the motorway and seeing the road sign, for this inoffensive Kent town , my childish brain and equally childish humour saw this as Snotland… causes much hilarity when you are aged 12!

Ramsbottom – include the name ‘bottom’ in any town name and immediately it opens itself up to some suggestion of toilet humour, add the word Ram and you have a sure fire winner. Ramsbotton does have a connection with Rams for sure being in North Pennine sheep country but that is where it ends . Not a bottom in sight and in facts it is a very friendly and bustling market town.

Seaton Sluice – the very name conjures up some kind of porcelain contraption with a not very pleasant function. Now I have never been to Seaton Sluice but I am told its actually a most appealing village on the Northumberland coast.

Grotton – the human brain seems to want to focus on the first four letters here and just think Grot! In reality Grotton is a very pleasant semi rural residential area to the east of Manchester bordering Saddleworth. Nothing grotty about Grotton.

and finally…..

Upperthong – yes, that is the name, not to be confused with nearby Netherthong. Not surprisingly Upperthong residents dread that moment when doing a telephone order for goods or services and being asked their address…. the responses they get back are inevitable and yes probably funny the first time, but I imagine it gets a bit tiresome after 10 years!