Volunteer Perspective (ardwick art walk III)

TLC Art Walks in Ardwick: Drawing - 10th March 2020 Tuesday 10th March was the third art walk focusing on drawing led by Naomi, we were each given a set of materials, graphite, charcoal, oil pastel, crayons, different types of paper, such as tracing paper and tissue paper and two seed bombs to plant. The theme of the drawing walk was focusing on the five steps to wellbeing, which are to Connect, Learn, Be Active, Take Notice and Give. We connected with the people around us, being together on a group walk and building connections will support and enrich us every day. Whilst taking notice of the world around us we were also connecting with nature, taking in what we could see. We learnt by shar

Volunteer Perspective (ardwick art walk I)

TLC Art Walks in Ardwick: Photography 11th February 2020 I have volunteered at the TLC Art Project for a year and a half now and I thoroughly enjoy my time there. Tuesday 11th February was our first art walk focusing on photography led by Rae, we set off from the Church of Nazarene looking for evidence of nature resilience in the urban environment and capturing them on camera. During the walk I noticed we were among a lot of nature, from large trees to small delicate flowers. We saw plants growing through the cracks in the pavement, in the trees that have been cut down, there was moss and lichen growing on stone walls whilst wild plants were climbing up brick walls and winding round fences.


BIRDS AT 5 a.m. It’s a disgrace I don’t know who you are. But at least this morning, I listen to your every note of every phrase, the rhythmic silences, and the uninterrupted love flowing from your syrinx. WORDLESS FLIGHT On the Sunday afternoon of their first weekend together, they position themselves on a neat bench, next to the vacant bowling green. His six four and her five foot nothing dominate play, like a tiny bird landing on the biggest tree in the park. She pecks and hops from face to arms, from neck to thighs; then slides, like a bobsleigher, over his six-pack, spinning and curving in all directions, like the lover’s choreography from the final scene in An American in Paris. He smi

Allotments for All!

We love Jo Biglin's Big Issue article about her time spent on a North West Allotment that supports refugees and asylum seekers - Jo asks such an important question: Why don’t we just… have more open community growing spaces? This is such an important question, and from all the work that we have done on Mapping Manchester's Quiet Spaces we whole-heartedly agree that the we need more open community growing spaces and generally more community run green spaces. The benefits for everyone (not just the people accessing the sites, but for wildlife, for better quality air, for drainage to protect against flooding, for cooling down the hot summers) are needed more now than ever and can be part of str

May Turns the Garden + Parks Blue

I love the Blue phase of colour that passes through my garden in May and early June. There is something special about a true blue flower. Although the purples that are also out at the moment are also very nice, perhaps it is how the colours push against the green of the grass and the leaves. I always look forward to it, after the soft whites and blushed pinks of the fruit blossoms the blue hues have a different feel all together. Jane also noticed the flowers in Hulme Park are mostly in blues and purples right now, Jane has sent us this image from one of her walks - it isn't hard to think how this flower got it's name! And here are some blue flowers from my garden this month:

Encountering Nature Under Lockdown

We love this brand new website featuring photographs and stories of peoples experiences of: The power of outside during Covid-19 lockdown

Human Nature

Human nature dharmakya dreams peace extending a diamond suspended foxes sneak a squirol still nature and time dance in tune rice plantations grow in paddy fields the Vietnamese ladies smile radiating the sun seeds planted the seasons marinate growth a photosynthesis injects a leaf a raindrop lands petals make a fragile stance Easter chicks cling the sky pervades a crimson sunset spring streams glisten nature echoes a mantra to a connected friend and the birds watch as the universe replies

Releasing Trees

Saturday 16th is Love a Tree Day There was an ants nest inside one of the guards... So in freeing the trees, tiny casualties...

No Mow May

We LOVE this : even the concept of being given permission to be busy-doing-nothing is so lovely to hear! And lots of interesting links to jump off too - I need to sit down with a cuppa and delve into the The Insect Apocalypse... thanks for sharing these Severine! And we love your print too! Just gorgeous. In my own garden, I have to admit I do quite like a tidy short lawn... it kind of helps to offset the wildness and the weediness of my borders... Without the lawn being short it does all begin to be a jungle. Which apparently it might need to be for the benefit of the wider species right now. So this year we decided not to mo

The Rowan Tree

Wandering around the garden this morning taking some photographs, I am reminded of how many little things I brought from Northern Ireland when I came to live here 13 years ago. Among these is “the rowan tree” which now stands at about 10 ft tall and currently hosts clusters of cream flowers which will eventually turn into red berries for the birds to feed on. This tree came with me as a small stick like sapling in a pot, grown from a fallen berry dropped by the rowan in my fathers garden in County Down. It is all the more special because it is a little piece of home. Of course it’s magical powers are well known in Ireland and a story teller once told me how the rowan was planted at the cro


One of the results of my involvement with Mapping Manchester's Quiet Spaces and Breathing Spaces has been that it sowed the seed for a creative project of my own, a series of interlinked poems exploring the relationship between person and place, entitled Urban Eclogues. An eclogue is a poem about the experience of country dwellers and the life they lead on the land among its flora and fauna and the patterns of its seasons and changing weather. My use of the term for poems about life in contemporary Manchester is not so much ironic as exploratory, as I investigate what kind of relationship(s) we have with the world – both natural and constructed – around us, and think about what meaning, if a

Hanging with my new Friend

Following the beautiful practice outlined here... I am getting to know an old acquaintance much better... I spent the afternoon on Sunday looking, drawing and then printing the Acer tree in my back garden, a source of much delight:

The Natural Health Service

We love the idea of a different type of NHS - a NATURAL health service - Isabel Hardman who is a journalist has published a book called The Natural Health Service: What the Great Outdoors can Do for your Mind. After experiencing PTSD she found herself in a very dark place, but her psychiatrist as well as prescribing the usual medicines also suggested that she got herself up and out everyday to spend some time in nature. She claims that it was the “great outdoors which made me want to keep living”. She stresses that she is not suggesting that the great outdoors can replace medicine, or can cure one completely but she is insistent that nature and green spaces have a role to play in healing.

Covid + Sensory Overload

Excerpts from email communication between Selma and Rae: All images by Selma: Selma: I'd been experiencing sensory overload on start of the pandemic- feeling the need to accept people's phone/video calls as I would want the same if I called them. But I'm learning to limit it where possible and am doing the alternatives to indulge senses instead. I have collected a bundle of different fabric textures from my mum's spare rags from sewing people's clothes and touch them first thing in the morning and last thing, Rae: I am interested in your strategy to manage your sensory overload - can you tell me anymore about this touching of the fabrics in the morning and evening - how does that help? Is i

Alison's Atlas of Everyday Objects

My collection of recipes! Helping us to be focussed about shopping and plan our weekly menus My triangle and a family photo. I lean out of the window to join in the applause for health workers - instead is clapping I play a samba rhythm on my triangle My garden and somewhere to sit My soap - I like it so much and don’t want it to run out - it smells of coconut and patchouli Books - trying to read not scroll and researching some art ideas Daily check on temperature Radio - such an immediate communicator that you can listen to anywhere - found myself in tears listening to some of the late night phone ins. Apricot kernel massage oil for massaging my tummy and spectacles cleaner so I can see pro

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