Well, it doesn’t seem like ten days since we landed back at our pristine house that is now strewn with various ‘trip’ debris.
We are often away at this time of year, so the shorts and t-shirt regime whilst at home is very pleasant. It was also nice to say hello to our screeching swifts before they flew off to Africa. Judging by the amount of poo below their nest (on our front doorstep), they seem to have successfully raised another family. Good luck to them on their travels.
We have missed our usual activities – walks, rides, jogging… beside the Bridgewater Canal, having arrived home to find the towpath closed for the two mile stretch between Brooklands and Altrincham. The path is being resurfaced, presumably as part of the Bridgewater Way project, though the Bridgewater Way website hasn’t been updated recently and the ‘Towpath Closed’ signs are singularly uninformative. Hopefully we’ll be able to use the path this coming winter without the need for wellies!
A ride with JJ to Wilmslow for a night of excitement at the Boddington Arms with the Backpackers Club saw us diverted from our usual route by a road closed for bridge demolition (see below), but we found a way round that and enjoyed a pleasant evening amongst throngs of backpackers, albeit most of them non-members.
A visit to Old Trafford cricket ground saw me almost single-handedly applauding Lancashire to victory over Glamorgan by one run in a 20-20 match that should have taken about three hours to complete but because of showery weather took almost two days – perhaps that’s why the stadium was nearly empty, most people having gone home. (My visit was brief – a short tram ride after I heard the match was due to start ‘in a few minutes’, so I got there just in time.)
A trip to Tatton Park was well timed to avoid traffic chaos due to the demolition of the motorway bridge referred to above (taking with it our ‘back route’ to the airport), and got us to Etruria in plenty of time for a ‘taste of the Mediterranean’ and an afternoon with the Silvermoon Quartet.
To work up an appetite, Sue and I took a stroll around the perimeter of Tatton Park, where the young stags near the beech avenue were contentedly munching in the shade, building up energy for the sparring to come.
Our route led us into a VW car show. Some were in better condition than others.
The show was crowded. We’d wandered inadvertently into it without realising people were actually paying to see all the wrecked camper vans etc. We declined the offer to have our hands stamped so that we could re-enter for free, and headed on past a herd of fallow deer and a large area of devastation where the flower show had recently been held. I’m sure it’ll recover quickly.
On the Mere, a large party of scouts was enjoying messing about in boats, the tranquil scene being hampered only by a strong breeze.
(The scouts hadn’t drowned – they were just out of shot due to the sun direction.)
The ‘perimeter route’ brought us out neatly at Etruria, for a very pleasant afternoon of food and jazz with Richard and Jenny and Jaqui, and of course Hayley and Mike and the rest of the Silvermoon gang. It was nice to encounter drummer Mark and his twins, and his dad Paul, who has been so helpful to Mike over the years. Mike and Mark have a rock band, Kill for Company – guitar and drums only – that generates some interesting sounds – good luck to them.
The route we took around Tatton Park is shown below, starting from the P&D car park in Knutsford (free on a Sunday but you need to arrive by 11 – 11.30). From the south entrance it follows a new fence by the beech avenue along which walking is now being discouraged. WW2 tank training took place here, some of the bridges for which are still intact. A series of information boards leads to the back of the main car park, and on past the fleshpots of the Hall – refreshments available – then you continue on around the perimeter, past the Old Hall and along the east bank of the Mere. After exiting the Park you can enter Knutsford via a railway bridge, or take a thin (maybe muddy in wet weather) path to the right of the railway.
It’s about 10 km (6 miles) with very little ascent – about a two hour stroll. A very pleasant way to spend a relatively lazy Sunday morning.
It has been good to catch up with the Adlington quizzers at the Spinners on Tuesday nights, though I have to admit I can be something of a liability to the team, who are continuing to enjoy some beer vouchers won in my absence. Still, we did come near to the top last night, thanks to John and Bev being on good form and Lyn having returned from the Commonwealth Games with all the sporting answers and long tales of her encounters with an assortment of athletes and royalty. If only Stuart knew a bit more about music….