As I closed in on Manchester, from the Sheffield direction over the A628 Woodhead Pass (which just happens to be my favourite road) I could see the weather deteriorating quickly. Welcome home, Phil! Compounded by the early morning drive back from London where I had been at the Champions League final (in which, United had been defeated by Barcelona) and London Legends over the weekend, my heart began to sink. I hadn’t been properly rained on all season, and was rather hoping that this would extend to the final day of my personal season. The Manchester United home coming parade, with the Premier League trophy. It wasn’t to be.
Would I turn up at the Cathedral starting point to find a few damp squibs of supporters, who had braved the rain and early bank holiday start? Would it be cancelled? Just a couple of the many fears I was facing. Thankfully, I needed not worry.
I parked up at Deansgate Locks, making use of the free bank holiday parking in the city centre. Arriving just under an hour before the start, I was a little worried at it being so easy to actually find a space, but I could spot a good number of fans piling out of Deansgate railway and Metrolink stations. I decided on following the majority of them right down Deansgate to the Cathedral so I could take some fan related shots and then the team on the bus in the first minute or so of their journey, where I thought they would be at their most boisterous. Needless to say, by the time I’d reached the start I was as wet as brave fans in the pictures below!
Next to do, was to decide which side of Deansgate to get a spot on. The eastern side would give me the earliest shots of the team bus, whereas the western side would give me better backgrounds, with the Cathedral and prettier architectural delights of the route through the city. The western side it was. On the whole, a good decision, thought it did mean I was blocked by the curve in the road for the opening explosion of confetti.. alas, I was not the only one, having spotted colleagues on the same side.
Eventually however (how slow do those buses go?) the bus creeped into view and I was blessed with the view presented below. Enthusiasm had not dampened in the rain, and Rio Ferdinand was in full control of the mic! The crowd were being spurred on to sing and chant by each and every team member. Some were clearly enjoying it, whilst others found the direct attention every so slightly embarrassing!
I followed the bus and the crowd back down Deansgate. Partly to get more shots, and partly because I’d parked the car back down by the Beetham Tower and the Locks. Having done so proved to be fruitful, as Edwin van der Sar pretended to drop the trophy in true Sergio Ramos style, much to the shock of his team mates.. soon followed by the realisation of the prank!
As the bus passed under the railway bridge and onto Chester Road, I left the party for the relative dry and warmth of my car to edit and wire pictures out to newspapers. All this action and it was still only 10.30am! The rest of the day was spent as a bank holiday should, in front of the telly with good food, and good beer, but I could rest assured that my work was done.
An Easter wedding continues my collection of themed weddings, and despite it taking place on the 1st April, the only ‘joke’ was the weather – rain, rain and more rain.. but you can’t book good weather! The wedding of Jamie and Kelly took place at Oxwich Bay Hotel, near Swansea, Wales. The hotel overlooks a beautiful bay, and is situation next to a lovely beach – a spot for Summer I think!
Manchester Airport once again closed to air traffic due to the excessive snow unloaded on the region over the night of the 4th January. Looking for something different I went to the southern side of the airport to get a shot looking over towards the terminal building. To my surprise, and despite continuing snow flurries the airport had reopened and flights were slowly resuming.
The weather has also put paid to much of my sporting activities recently. Out of 5 jobs to be shot since New Years day, 4 of them have been cancelled, including both Carling Cup semi final first legs (between Blackburn and Aston Villa, and Manchester City v Manchester United). The fixtures lists will becoming somewhat congested over the next 4 weeks…
A recent spate of bad weather finally took a hold of Manchester Airport today, and forced the closure to all flights for a number of hours. Many passengers were left stranded however numbers were low, perhaps due to the recession and people opting for staycations.
Images from today were published in The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Mirror.