Posts Tagged 101in1001

Photography: Manchester Below, An Underground Tour

There is a vast collection of tunnels underneath Manchester city centre and I have long wanted to explore them. In fact, the Manchester Underground Tour was on my 101 list of things to achieve. Finally, last weekend after booking a ticket months in advance, Chris and I went on one such trip.

Tunnels

The tour was two hours long and covered the area around the Midland Hotel, Manchester Central and Castlefield. The first hour of the tour consisted of a gentle walk above ground, while we were introduced to the Guardian Exchange and a number of canals and waterways used to transport cotton in the 19th century.

Abandoned

Some of the canals went underneath the city and it was one of these canals that we got to explore on the second half of the tour. The canal had been drained in the early 20th century and then used as a public air-raid shelter during the second world war. We were allowed to explore several sections of the tunnel.

It was dark and muddy and an interesting experience. It was possible to see leftovers from the tunnel’s history both as a canal and as an air-raid shelter. I was very glad to have a torch!

Broken

Overall, it would have been better if there were fewer people on the tour and if we had been able to see more of the underground tunnel system. However, it was well worth the £8 fee and muddy boots.

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Chocolate Review: The Riverside Continental Chocolate House, Rosemary and Sea Salt Dark Chocolates

The Riverside Continental Chocolate House is a tiny shop and café, hidden away in deepest, darkest Wales. It makes its own chocolate on-site and resales a few other well-known and less well-known brands. The selection is more limited than I would have expected for a specialist shop, but there were some interesting options. So obviously, I picked out a few to try. The one I picked out for review was a dark chocolate ganache with rosemary and sprinkled with a touch of sea salt.

It was excellent, one of the nicest and most distinctive chocolates I’ve had. The rosemary was strong but not overpowering and proved to be just the right amount to perfectly complement the chocolate. The chocolate itself I’m guessing was around 60%, with a nice well-bodied flavour. The sea salt provided an extra dimension, by cutting through the other flavours and preventing it from being too heavy.

A good experience and I’d happily stop off at the café again if I’m passing in future. However, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way, even if they do sell one of the most memorable chocolates I’ve ever tasted.

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Photography

One of my major aims for 101 in 1001 is to improve my photographic skills.

Although it’s not explicit in any of the goals, many of them are designed to get me taking more photos and to increase my skills.

58. Take photos along the Rochdale Canal
I’ve made a start on this, although I don’t think I’ve managed to take anything particularly special. I started by trying to capture the post-industrial feel, but it didn’t really work. I really like the run down factories and the way nature is slowly creeping back. I also want to take photos at different times of year to capture the contrasts in weather.
59. Create a photographic journal of one day
I haven’t done this yet. It’ll need to be one day when I’m not in work. Looking forward to it.
61. Take photographs around Manchester City Centre
I need to find someone to come round with me. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable taking photos on my own in Manchester. It’s going to be very interesting to see what places we find outside of the very obvious places.
65. Climb a mountain and take a photo at the summit
Exercise, fun, a wonderful achievement and a picture at the end. What could be better?
71. Visit a photo exhibition
This was surprisingly easy, as just after I wrote the goal an exhibition arrived at the art gallery in town. I found it much more interesting and thought-provoking than I was expecting. I may find another one to go to, at some point.
98. Frame a photo I’ve taken and hang it on a wall in my home
I wrote this goal for two very specific reasons. One, so that I could be living somewhere where hanging a picture on the wall of my choosing was an option. And two, because it means I need to take a photo that I consider good enough to put up on display.

In addition to these goals, I’ve decided I want to participate in the 365 challenge. Optionally joining the flickr group too. I guess this counts towards keeping a diary as well.

I’d also like to complete the ’26 things’ challenge at least once. I think this is certainly aimed towards skills improvements and getting me thinking about the photos I take. Might be one I leave for a while.

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Chocolate Review: Hotel Chocolat Purist, 90% St Lucia Salted Caramels

Hotel Chocolat have become a high street name in the last few years. They’ve managed to maintain a very high quality, while extending their range to suit all tastes and wallets. Their recently launched Purist selection is their premium range by an already premium chocolatier. It uses a variety of single origin chocolates, in particular from their very own St Lucia estate, to create a nice choice of individual bars, ganaches and pralines.

The 90% St Lucia Salted Caramels came in a strip of six individual chocolates. The packaging was no-frills, yet gave the impression of something slightly special and I have to say they tasted amazing. I experienced a real buzz from the dark chocolate, balanced out nicely by the caramel, so not at all as overpowering or bitter as the percentage would suggest. The caramel perhaps tasted a bit too much of condensed milk, but there was just the right amount of salt and sugar, giving it a lovely taste that complimented the chocolate perfectly. You don’t get to explore the flavours in the chocolate as much as with a bar of their Purist dark chocolate, but a very pleasant treat nonetheless.

The Hotel Chocolat Purist range seems to contain the best chocolate currently available on the high street. Well worth trying and something I will no doubt come back to in these series of reviews.

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Chocolate Review: Tesco Finest Organic Ecuadorian 85% Plain Chocolate

The Tesco Finest Organic Ecuadorian 85% Plain Chocolate is a Fairtrade single origin bar made from Arriba beans. Described as intensely fruity, without the bitterness you’d expect of a 85% dark chocolate. I was slightly irritated by the use of ‘plain’ rather than ‘dark’ chocolate in the name, but I didn’t let that out me off.

It reminded me of the Cote D’Or 86%, having the same soft texture and more-ish-ness. I found it to be smooth, well-rounded and certainly fruity. Although there were no particularly complex flavours, meaning it seemed slightly lacking in depth. It was nonetheless very pleasant but all too easy to eat. A good introduction to dark chocolate and a bargain at its current price of a quid for 100g.

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Day Zero

I’ve been meaning to start a blog for a while, but Other Things have always gotten in the way.

In an effort to do more Interesting Things and to help record the things I do, I’ve created a list. I’m not the first and won’t be the last. I’m not expecting to complete it, it’s the journey that counts.

Here it is, my 101 in 1001.

 

Because life isn’t complicated enough..

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