ADÉU…Deansgate’s Catalan restaurant Lunya has closed permanently. Owners Peter and Elaine Kinsella said that the decision was taken so that their two other restaurants in Liverpool and an online delicatessen could remain open. In March, Peter, who opened the restaurant in Barton Arcade in 2015 with his wife, wrote a heart-breaking letter to Government outlining his concerns for the future of the business. Channelling his inner George Orwell, career socialist and author of Homage to Catalunya, Peter said he would not use a support loan to pay his “uber-rich landlords”. He added: “The only thing I ask you is that whatever decisions you make, never allow the significantly wealthy to gain from this.”
JUGGLING BALLS…Rochdale Riverside, the town’s £80m, 200,000 sq ft shopping and leisure complex, is almost complete with fit-out contractors on site. Rochdale Council’s director of economy, John Searle, is also working behind the scenes to boost the profile of the Greater Manchester town, but admitted to feeling the strain of recent months. “I’m usually quite good at juggling three balls,” he said. “But these two big ones labelled ‘normality’ and ‘Covid’ are proving tricky.”
ZOO CALL…Chester Zoo will reopen on Monday after previously being told that outdoor attractions would remain closed indefinitely. The zoo will open its doors to a limited number of visitors under strict social distancing measures, and the chimpanzees are reported to be delighted at the news and readying handfuls of their own waste to launch at visitors in celebration of their long-awaited return. Leader of Cheshire West & Chester Council, Cllr Louise Gittins, said: “It is right that the [previous] legislation, which did not take into account Chester Zoo’s carefully thought-out measures to keep people safe, is now to be reassessed.” The move comes after the public raised £1m in 24 hours after the zoo claimed it faced ‘extinction’ due to lost revenue from the lockdown.
LANCS-LAMP…As we have already seen in past editions of THING, lockdown really has brought out the creative best in people, whether through the medium of Lego, wood or, in the case of Rosalind Freeborn, paper. Collage artist Ros has paid tribute to her beloved childhood county of Lancashire by designing paper lampshades for sale depicting some of its most recognisable landmarks, including the Pendle Hills, Lancaster Castle, and even Blackpool Tower. This is by no means a one-off venture, however. Ros has created lampshade designs for other places up and down the UK, including Manchester and Liverpool. Take a look for yourself.
STREET FOOD…Parr Street car park in the Ropewalks area of Liverpool is looking a little green around the gills after the council, in collaboration with Mersey Forest and Liverpool University put the finishing touches to a 1,400 sq ft living wall this week. More than 12,000 plants and flowers now adorn the installation, including daffodils, lavender and even wild strawberries for passers-by to pick when they start to bear fruit. Perfect if you skipped breakfast on your way to the office.
ZOO TWO…Unlike Chester, the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay will not be opening on Monday due to the Welsh Government’s stricter rules regarding lockdown, but it has still been a good week for the attraction. It secured a £250,000 grant from the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund on top of £160,000 raised by the public following concerns over the future of the zoo. In preparation for reopening this summer, the zoo will increase the size of its red squirrel enclosure to 3,000 sq ft to allow the animals to socially distance more effectively, after winning planning consent yesterday.