Week 6: Sleuth enjoys a spit roast in Cragg Vale

Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city each week. It's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. Sometimes Sleuth even gets serious, but not often... @mcrsleuth

Moaning about the bill

Sleuth wasn't surprised to hear that North West Ground Rents has lost a legal battle over the windows at Beetham Tower. The owners of the Hilton Hotel were particularly incensed about how unsightly repairs have been and how the hoardings at ground level have impaired the 'arrival experience' for guests. The case revolved around the tendency for glass panels on the 169m building to come crashing to the ground. To remedy the danger unsightly brackets have been placed on the windows (see top). It's going to be hugely expensive for North West Ground Rents to rectify the problem. Sleuth asked the company how they felt about the decision and they let out a low but persistent moan like this...

Back end of a pig

Sleuth has noted how the Year of the Pig celebrations this Chinese New Year are bigger than ever. He also knows that when Richard Cobden died and was honoured with a statue in St Ann's Square back in the nineteenth century the unveiling speech went something like this. 'Dear Mancunians, Richard Cobden was a truly great man, father of the Free Trade movement, campaigner for this city to be incorporated, a man of peace, a man of honour and principle, an MP who lost his seat because he would not condone an unjust war, but above all, friends, truly above all, a man who knew with absolute certainty it was his destiny, one day, to have his noble image face the massive arse of a massive pig.' 

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Real fires in pubs find a function

Mancunian chef Robert Owen Brown is still perhaps the finest provider of genuine, robust, whole-hearted British food around. You could imagine him being a favourite of Henry VIII, delivering the meatiest of banquets. Sleuth was extra impressed when walking into Owen Brown's pub the other day, the Hinchliffe, just over the border into Yorkshire, Cragg Vale. This is a delightful spot and a delightful boozer. The rooms are heated by lovely real fires. This time though there was a surprise. In front of the fire in the main was a suckling pig cooking on a spit, and an object of fascination for all and sundry. It takes about six hours apparently. "You shouldn't waste heat, if you can help it," said Rob. 

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Welcome to Manchester

Sleuth knows that tourists love Manchester because he meets so many of them. Often their first port of call is Manchester Visitors Information Centre, aka the Tourist Information Centre. Here you can find all manner of advice on what to do, where to go and where to stay. Giving the latter advice has become easier. Staff can say: “Forget a hotel, if you have a sleeping bag why not spend the night right outside this office with some beggars.” After all, first impressions are so important.

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Divine intervention for Brexit 

Sleuth was in Manchester Cathedral, having a little nosy. As usual he was charmed by the lovely modern stained glass, the fine choir of carved angels in the nave roof, the exquisite medieval woodwork in the choir, but what was this? Ah, yes, the Brexit Prayer. Sleuth had two thoughts: a) is there no escape; b) God help us all.

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Belly laughs

Sleuth is pleased to have been invited to The Gut Stuff. From 19-23 February The Gut Stuff roadshow will be taking over Bruntwood’s Manchester Technology Centre, part of Circle Square on Oxford Road. Here’s the blurb: ‘The Gut Stuff was founded by Lisa and Alana Macfarlane (The Mac Twins) and India Wardrop, and is committed to fighting the fads, demystifying the science and giving everyone the tools and knowledge to improve their gut health.’ Sleuth is intrigued but is scared by the promo video. So painfully pink; ludicrously pink; pink things poking through pink things. Sleuth wonders with that last sentence about The Gut Stuff whether he should have used a colon or a semi-colon. The video is here...