Apologies for the lateness of this entry. Both of us have been dealing with health issues since we got back from Salford (nothing to do with the trip). It’s shocking how fast time passes when you’re not having fun. But I really want to share with you, dear reader, the trip we went on. It’s mainly a pictorial record.
So this was all about The Epic Awards, an annual awards ceremony to celebrate the best in voluntary arts. Each country had a winner, plus there was a people’s choice category, an award for organisations working with young people and another for disability organisations. MaDCaff was the winner of the Wales category, with the Cardiff Photomarathon as runners up. But I was pretending that I didn’t know this because I wanted Miranda to have a surprise on the night.
So Salford seems like a long way from Wales – and it is, not just in miles but the whole experience could not be further from rural Wales unless we went to Vegas.
So we arrived on Thursday evening and I certainly did not have in mind for MediaCityUK what it actually turned out to be. I thought it was going to be a big building in the middle of Salford. Google maps was not a lot of help as it made the whole place look like a building site – you can even see cranes…
What I should have done is look at Apple Maps which gives a much better impression of what’s actually there.
So it turns out that once you’re inside MediaCityUK it’s a bit like a gated community, in a literal way, so if you try to drive into the complex you will come up against a rising road blocker – you can just see it at the end of the street, below…
So, the interesting thing (you can try it for yourself (Opens in new window)) if you try to drive (using Google street maps, not a car) you are shown this…
So, anyway, there we were in a mini city, admiring the view from the Holiday Inn
And being amazed at the green lighting in the hotel bathrooms
So we treated ourselves to posh pizza at Marco’s and crashed out for the night.
The next morning we had a bit of time to explore,
The afternoon was given over to a series of seminars in the Salford University building. The seminars were hosted by Sheila McClennon, and included various local starts of the voluntary arts, some very impressive people. (See our Tweets from the event if you are interested).
After the seminars we had a break to go back to the hotel and prepare ourselves for the evening. We chose to get ourselves hoodies printed up so that we wouldn’t have to worry about getting dressed up, though I wasn’t prepared for quite how hot the hoodies were to wear which meant I had to keep taking mine off and on again.
The evening session was held at one of the BBC buildings and we were given an escort for the evening who was very attentive indeed. We were offered a choice of two tables towards the back of the room and having chosen one we saw the people from the Kent Society for the blind, including a blind woman with her guide dog. None of the other parties were escorted to tables – is this positive discrimination?? I’m not complaining. I certainly wasn’t complaining on my second glass of champagne. The ‘nibbles’ were absolutely delicious as well and we ate enough of them that we didn’t need any dinner afterwards.
So by this time Miranda has started to spot that we might be there as winners so it was probably just as well that Wales was the first category to be announced and guess what… we won. What we didn’t know was what we were going to win.
It’s a really beautiful plate and here’s my best attempt at getting a picture that does it justice.
So, we sat and clapped everyone else, each of the winning groups had a short video compilation of the work they do and it was great to see what the voluntary arts in the UK are doing, the difference that their work makes and the ingenuity and creativity that goes into it. Knitted Knockers were the group that won the People’s Choice award and it seems to have captured people’s attention as they were featured on breakfast TV the next morning. But it was Quazar the Guide Dog that was the star of the show if you ask me. He wasn’t content with all the attention being on his human and made sure that everyone knew he was there – without the slightest bit of misbehaviour.
By the time it was all over were just about ready for bed, but I couldn’t resist taking a few more photos of the amazing, surreal place that is MediaCityUk.
The next morning we did a little bit of exploring, including a trip on the tram – which was not what I thought it would be at all – it’s very modern and new as well as completely accessible, no portable ramps. So we were heading for a particular shopping venue, all because I had spotted that there was a particular shop that I absolutely had to visit, a shop that I have never come across before. I’ve bought items from the brand but never seen a whole shop dedicated to it.
So here’s where it went a bit wonky. Thinking we needed to take a tram to get to this place was the first mistake, but I was confused by the fact that a lot of shopping centres are called ‘The Quays” or “xxx Quays” so we headed for the stop called “Anchorage Quay” but the Quay in this instance was nothing to do with the place we were heading to. What we didn’t know what that we had taken ourselves about a mile from our destination, which was probably no more than 100m from where we started. Not only that but it was starting to rain. We kept thinking that it would be just round this corner, then that corner and when we finally came up it….
Yep, steps forever.
But at least we had found the building. After which I left Miranda to recover with a cuppa while I went off to find the shop I was looking for.
This Mall, it turns out, does not have a very good rating and perhaps I should have read before setting out but I didn’t really care as where else am was I going to find and entire shop dedicated to … have you guessed it yet?
So I will now publicly apologise to Miranda for dragging her through the rain to a place she didn’t have the slightest interest in, but I just couldn’t give up the chance to see a whole shop dedicated to utilitarian workwear. It’s unlikely I’ll ever be in Salford again so it was a case of seize the opportunity.
So after I had satisfied my lust for waterproof trousers, we left the mall and went back to the car the short way, passing through MediaCityUK central to catch a farewell picture.
So goodbye MediaCityUK, it was nice knowing you.