Double-yellow lines

By Lydia Unsworth

Location: Oxford Road (outside the University of Manchester’s new visitor’s centre)

There is a small section of double-yellow lines along Oxford Road, just in front of where the Mathematics building used to be, where some leaves were trapped between road and roller while the paint was being applied.

When I have guests and they ask me what there is to see in Manchester, I take them there.

We will be approaching the place and I’m all ‘here it comes’ and ‘get ready!’ and they are looking about them for a sign, for a flashing light, for a pointing arrow, for something larger than anything.

And then I point to the ground. I’m jumping about now, telling them about how I once did a double-take while riding my bicycle. About how I stopped and got off, lifted my bike up and onto the pavement. About how I came back and turned around and knelt down with my camera. About how I walked the length of these imprints of leaves, photographing each one in turn.

I point out my favourite.

I ask what they think, if they have ever seen anything as perfect as these.

And some of them do enjoy it, although some of them look at me strangely and ask for the way to the museum.

I think that’s how I know who my friends are. Or who they will be. I like the kind of people who appreciate the coincidental timing of the double-yellow lines being repainted and the falling of leaves.

Lydia Unsworth blogs at



3 Responses to “Double-yellow lines”

  1. July 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm, Cormac Lawler said:

    I’ve never noticed that before. I’m definitely going to look out for it now, though – thanks!

  2. July 21, 2010 at 7:27 pm, Sadie said:

    Has no-one got some photos of these leaves to illustrate this piece?


  3. July 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm, Mufti Myers said:

    I journeyed up Oxford Road, rucksack on back, only to find this serendipitous space you describe has been desecrated by workmen in JCBs determined to lay gas pipes that’ll last for 100 years, apparently. Personally I’d have preferred the leaf imprints stay.

    Can we see the pictures please? It’s not that I don’t believe you, I’m just super curious.

    Well done for unwittingly creating a social history record of Manchester though!


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