What Goes Up

Sometimes I walk around blind. Many times I have walked up and down Balloon Street in Manchester, a thoroughfare that connects Shudehill Bus Station and Manchester Victoria Train Station.

I have even cast an absent thought in the direction of this street name, thinking it a little unusual without looking into it.

Just up or down it.

However, it was only this week that I spotted this, and all became clear:

James Sadler, the first English aeronaut, made the first manned balloon ascent near to this spot. I’ve since discovered that he was accompanied by a cat. It seems that this poor feline remains anonymous, whitewashed from history.

All of this took place on the 12th of May, 1785.

I wonder if they’ve come down yet?

The Feline Find

This limestone panel, dating to Anglo-Saxon times, was discovered in a quarry by stonemason Johnny Beeston. It is dated to around 1,000AD.

The Anglo-Saxon carved St.Peter, giving a blessing.

The Anglo-Saxon carved St.Peter, giving a blessing.

It’s importance was only discovered after his death in 2004, and was sold in Sotheby’s for £200,000. Now a Somerset museum has bought it for £150,000.

When Mr Beeston found it, he knew neither its importance nor its value. So what did he originally do with his great, archaeological find?

He used it as a grave marker for his tabby cat.

Eventually it was spotted lying in his garden. I love the detail of the costume, and the features of Peter’s face, even the boxer’s nose. I’m not sure he would have sported a tonsure though.

I think old Johnny must have really thought a lot of that cat.

Claws for the Weekend:Felinebombers

Where were we? Ah yes-photographs! (My last post.)

While the feeling is that the term ‘photobombing’, along with the very inconsiderate act itself, is a modern phenomenon, we can see from this photograph that even our ancestors had to contend with annoying last-second gatecrashers.

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Especially of the feline variety. They are always the worst-all stealth and false smiles.

Bit like my wife on our wedding day.And did I mention claws?

A couple of this ensemble are attempting to laugh it off, but the lady in the center looks well pissed off. Always the cat, always the focus.

Have a great weekend, you who sit quietly in the background, and you who hog all the limelight. And especially you cats-my most fanatical of followers.

See you on the flipside.

Photograph from Find My Past UK.