Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Sunday, 26 February 2017
Saturday, 25 February 2017
We also went shopping around the enticing stalls at the Expo, and at least five of us were captivated by some pretty Salomon trail shoes, which we snapped up for about half their price in the UK.
The Tartu Ski Marathon is normally a 63 km cross country ski race that travels through the Estonian countryside in the shape of a walking stick, starting in the stadium a few metres away from our front door, outside which Sue is pictured.
Last year the race was cancelled due to a paucity of snow. This year there is even less snow, but in a bid to avoid bankruptcy the organisers have elected to change the route to five and a half laps of the artificially produced course here at Otepää.
The race now takes place in six 'waves' of 500 to 600 people in each. There's also an option to do two and a half laps (16 km) rather than the full 34 km race. We are all entered for the 34 km races that start at 11 am (for fast skiers) or 2 pm (for slow skiers like me and Sue). The 'elite' start at 9 am and should all finish by 11, whereas people like me can hope for around 4 hours, depending on the conditions.
This afternoon three of our number, Sam, Shane and Andy, elected to add one of today's 16 km races to their itinerary. Sue and I may have joined them but we only have insurance cover for ski racing for one day - tomorrow!
The dynamic trio are pictured before the race, and I managed to snap the start, and Andy and Shane during the race. I have pictures of all three finishing, but those were taken with my proper camera so they will need to be downloaded at home before they appear here.
A fair number of us stayed out on the cold but sunny afternoon to cheer them on. Given the slow conditions they all did brilliantly. Andy took roughly 1.09, Shane 1.22 and Sam 1.36. Well done, all of you. We hope you haven't worn yourselves out for the longer distance tomorrow.
Lumi, the best restaurant in Otepää, beckons again tonight. We were there yesterday and will be again tomorrow, by which time we should have worked our way through the menu. Luckily, the food is great. Estonia in general is very much a European country with the high standards you'd expect from any honourable member of the EU. They don't disappoint, and many people have taken the trouble to learn English, which is most considerate.
Friday, 24 February 2017
Thursday, 23 February 2017
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Monday, 20 February 2017
Sunday, 19 February 2017
Saturday, 18 February 2017
This entry is the last before our next trip, just to show that we are alive and well and enjoying some eccentric cooking.
Today’s parkrun at Wythenshawe in pleasantly warm conditions attracted 288 participants, one of whom, Brian G, was celebrating his 70th birthday. He’s pictured above in his green Go-faster top, after completing the 5 km course in a little over 25 minutes, about to extinguish the last of the candles on his cake. Parkrunners love cake, which was today also provided by Geoff F in celebration of his 50th outing.
Well done everyone, and thanks to Andy H, unusually lacking in family support, for conducting proceedings with his usual efficiency. Results are here.
On Thursday we were treated to a fine meal with some good friends, partly in celebration of Sue’s imminent landmark.
We started with ‘UTI accelerant’, aka bulls’ blood soup with a grassy garnish.
The main course comprised bulls' testicles with Daryl’s fish muscle on a bed of winter weeds.
For dessert, we were honoured with second helpings of bulls' haemorrhoids with vanilla sludge on a bed of buttered gluten free fruit flour.
These were all absolutely delicious, especially after an opening dose of a colourless herbal medicine produced from juniper berries, then ongoing flagons of a straw coloured liquid that our host claimed to have been produced by the alcoholic fermentation of grape pulp.
Happy eating, and thanks to Jessica who spent last night here and after struggling through her elephant’s fingers (we’ll get some fish fingers for you next time, Jess) carried out her washing up duties to her usual standard.
Thursday, 16 February 2017
Last Saturday night we enjoyed an evening with our regular ‘Spinners Quizzers’ aka ‘The San Marinos’ and some of their better halves. The seven course meal that was assembled from contributions from the eight quizzers was delicious, but it did require a bit of a break between the chicken tagine and the soufflé. I’d come prepared though – that time was taken up with the above picture quiz. You just need to identify the image.
Out of 24 points, Lyn, Louise and Bev scored 13, nearly 4 points ahead of John, Robert and Stuart. That was in about 20 minutes, with no references to the internet etc, as per pub quiz rules.
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Monday morning. Timperley Bridge. A good day for a stroll down the towpath to Manchester. JJ had chosen well. Rick was there. Andy and Ursula turned up, dressed as if to conquer a Lakeland peak, or more. We milled around a bit, then set off to the north.
After a while we reached Stretford, where Rob and Pam joined us. They were dressed more casually, as if to dive in to the nearest branch of the Slug & Lettuce.
JJ’s excellent report on the walk is here. Apparently there was no curry on the curry walk, as some of the participants were allergic!
Sadly I had to return to Timperley to feed the family before heading off to our local break out room, Code to Exit.
The idea is that you get locked in a room and have to solve puzzles and obtain codes in order to escape. It was a birthday present for Sue.
We escaped from the Blueprint Room!
Whilst Mike had to go to work, the rest of us were on half term or sabbatical or some such, so we had a coffee then got locked in the Forgery Room. We escaped from that as well, or I wouldn’t be here!
I didn’t contribute much, but it was good fun.
Sunday, 12 February 2017
Here’s a pleasing image to look at on a cold February morning, looking out onto one of my favourite places.
More pictures to follow below when someone identifies the location.
…well, it took Conrad less than an hour and a half, probably much less if he had seen the posting earlier.
The above picture was taken on 24 August 2005 from the tunnel windows of the Sentiero de Luca/Innerkofler via ferrata on (in) Monte Paterno. I was accompanied by Sue, Ken, Ian and Megan.
The following pictures were taken at Forcella Lavaredo and Rifugio Tre Cime-Locatelli on 16 July 2007.
NB – Tre Cime is also known as Drei Zinnen – it’s part an area that has a turbulent past.
Saturday, 11 February 2017
Friday, 10 February 2017
Wednesday, 8 February 2017
When we were in Canada the weather was great for our purposes, but it’s often a monochromatic view over there at this time of year.
Back in Timperley, Sue took this picture of a Primula in our garden to prove to Helen that February in the UK does at least enjoy a bit of colour. I’m sure there’s lots of it in Dunham’s Winter Garden.
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
After a sleepless journey home, a bit of fresh air found me enjoying Dunham New Park’s greenery in balmy Altrincham.
At least the sleepless night enabled me to get up to 20% in Ken Follett’s ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ (quite a long book), having already finished ‘The Girl from the Tea Garden’ by Janet MacLeod Trotter and Patrick deWitt’s excellent book, ‘The Sisters Brothers’ during the ‘beach holiday’.