Manchester’s a brilliant city, but it can sometimes be a little on the, er, *eccentric* side.
From the infamous characters we all recognise a mile off when you see them walking (or indeed cycling) around town to the moments you catch out of the corner of your eye that no one believes really happened, there’s never a dull moment here.
Most recently, when we shared a video of a new Magnum billboard in Piccadilly Gardens, loads of you started telling us some of the strange sights you’ve seen in this notorious part of town.
So we asked The Manc readers what the weirdest things they’ve seen elsewhere in Greater Manchester are – and thousands responded.
Here are some of our favourites.
James told us he saw: “Pissed up people climbing that cycle statue at the end of Deansgate Locks. One of em made it and sat on it. Hadn’t a clue how.to get back down without falling, which he inevitably did …..poor sod”
Not sure how this one works – Keith said: “Was working in Gorton many years ago, went to a corner shop for a sandwich and was told there’s no bread so you will have to have toast. A true story.”
Jennifer gave us another animal tale, saying: “A man walking down brooklands road in brooklands carrying a falcon on his hand whilst whistling sweet nothings to it”
Diane said: “Saw a rat the size of a small cat running down canal street with half a burger in its mouth. We cheered on the little fellow lol.”
Le Anne had an even weirder animal sighting, writing: “A couple of lads walking down by the canal side in Castlefield, with a lobster on a skateboard – like it was completely normal. Proof attached”
There are a lot of stories involving the weather, naturally.
Melissa wrote: “I was having a smoke outside where I worked one morning, absolutely pissing down rain and a woman rode past on a bike in a bikini top, ear muffs and no knickers on. I saw a lot working there but that was one of the most bizarre!”
Amy posted: “This guy riding a scooter in the pissing down rain the other week… with two tesco bags over his feet to keep them dry.”
Far and away the most common weird sightings in Manchester relate to drunk people. There’s a surprise.
Helen recalled: “Me and my then boyfriend were coming home in the wee hours when we saw a chap, very drunk I’m presuming, sat in one of those pebble dashed bins they used to have back in the day. His backside was right inside it with him bent double and his arms and legs dangling down the side. I think he was drunk anyway…”
Nathan wrote: “Saw a guy at the cricket wearing one of those rubber horse masks. He had a pint but he was finding it really difficult to drink, with the horse mask and all. Eventually he managed to put the entire glass in the snout of the mask, and angle it enough that he could have a sip of it. But then he was stuck and he couldn’t get the glass back out because it was one of those useless flimsy plastic glasses, so his only option was to down his drink, which he did with the support of a roaring crowd around him.(A lot of it went down his shirt but let’s not let that take away from the magic of the moment)”
Laura found someone who probably had some deep regrets the next morning, telling us: “A man ‘swimming’ in a humongous pile of garbage at 3 in the morning in Deansgate. Actual front stroke and everything!”
Paul witnessed a real Mr Bean-style crime in a pub once, writing: “I was once drinking in a pub, the landlord was away and the barmaid was in charge..two guys walked in wearing white coats and said they had come to collect the tv which the landlord had booked in for repair. They took the tv.. The landlord knew nothing about it..”
And then here are a couple more just completely mad moments from our brilliant city.
Gaynor said: “I once saw a man trying to park a car on deansgate in a very small space, It was a Nissan micra. In the end the doors opened 4 stocky men got out, picked the car up and plonked it into the space job done”
And finally, this, from Jen: “A group of foreign students were sat in St Peters Square with a guitar, when an angry man with one leg, hobbled over and without saying a word, hit the one playing the guitar with his crutch. All whilst an unconnected gentleman was sat playing ‘two become one’ on a recorder.”
These three Greater Manchester Wilko stores are reopening as Poundlands this weekend
The first 10 Wilko stores to start new lives as Poundlands are reopening this weekend, and three of them are in Greater Manchester.
We all know by now that it’s been a turbulent couple of weeks for Wilko after it entered administration earlier last month, but after it was sadly announced back on 11 September that all of the retailer’s outlets across the UK would be forced to close, leaving around 12,500 jobs at risk, a glimmer of hope was offered.
And that glimmer of hope was that several dozen stores had been saved.
Only, they wouldn’t be remaining under the Wilko name, as they’d be reopening as another popular bargain retailer instead, and that’s because Pepco Group – the company which owns Poundland in the UK – managed to strike a deal with Wilko administrators PwC to take control of up to 71 store leases.
With lease assignments expected to be completed in the coming weeks, according to Pepco, this meant that the some 71 stores would join Poundland’s existing 800-plus UK outlets before 2023 is out.
Pepco Group published the full list of stores set for conversion earlier this month, and also confirmed it would be offering employment some of Wilko’s former employees – with it being good news for six Greater Manchester sites.
Altrincham, Bolton, Eccles, Sale, Leigh, and Stockport were confirmed to be the region’s towns set to get themselves a new Poundland, and Poundland added that it intends to convert the stores over to its brand “as soon as is practical”.
It turns out that window of practicality has arrived this weekend for three of those confirmed sites.
Among the 10 former Wilko branches across the UK that are set to start a new chapter and begin lives as Poundlands this weekend are sites at The Peel Centre in Stockport, The Mall in Eccles, and on Lord Street in Leigh.
It’s expected that dates for the new round of Poundland conversions will be announced in due course, as will news from PwC about the other deals it has struck for the Wilko name to live on.
You may remember that administrators had previously struck a deal for fellow discount chain B&M to buy 51 other Wilko stores, while another high street chain, The Range, had also confirmed a last-minute deal to buy Wilko’s brand last month.
The Range has bought Wilko’s website and intellectual property, so shoppers can expect to see Wilko own-brand items appear in The Range stores nationwide very soon.
Featured Image – Poundland
Iconic Sycamore Gap tree renamed ‘Sycamore Stump’ after heartbreaking vandalism
Someone has already changed the name of the iconic Sycamore Gap tree to ‘Sycamore Stump’ after it was felled in what’s believed to be an act of vandalism.
The famous tree was believed to be about 300 years old and was made famous when it appeared in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
It’s one of the most photographed trees in the world (Rockefeller’s Christmas tree might just edge that one) and has stood on Hadrian’s Wall for centuries.
But overnight on Wednesday, this world-famous tree was felled, leaving just a small stump behind.
Someone has already changed its name on Google Maps from Sycamore Gap to Sycamore Stump, echoing the public outcry over the tree’s disappearance.
The National Trust said on Thursday: “We are shocked and desperately saddened to learn that the famous Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian’s Wall has been felled overnight, in what appears to be an act of vandalism.
“We know just how much this iconic tree is loved locally, nationally and by everyone who has visited.
“We are working with our partners to understand what has happened and what can be done. The incident has also been reported to the police.”
Police have now confirmed that a 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.
Supt Kevin Waring of Northumbria police said: “This is a world-renowned landmark and the events of today have caused significant shock, sadness and anger throughout the local community and beyond.
“An investigation was immediately launched following this vandalism, and this afternoon we have arrested one suspect in connection with our inquiries.
“Given our investigation remains at a very early stage, we are keeping an open mind. I am appealing to the public for information to assist us – if you have seen or heard anything suspicious that may be of interest to us, please let us know.”