Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Friday, 22 July 2016

A Goat Ate My Menu

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Last night seven of Andrew’s victims enjoyed the fourth of this year’s five ‘Deepest Cheshire’ walks.

We convened in the Swettenham Arms whilst the sky dumped a soggy blanket over the locality. Beer o’clock eventually came to an end and we had to decide what to do.

Plan A involved a walk from a couple of years ago on which Andrew had baled out due to wearing himself out on the recce!

Plan C involved a walk to the bar and back – rejected on the grounds that Andrew and I might quickly bore everyone to distractions with our recollections of serial visits to this place during the past fifty years or so.

Doesn’t time fly?

So, Plan B it was. A shorter route than Plan A, mainly along country lanes and firm footpaths ‘with hardly any deep grass’.

Tonight’s gang posed dutifully outside the hostelry.

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The direct route from the Swettenham Arms involves a quiet lane with very little traffic. I wonder why?

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As usual, Sue found a friend who preferred the greener grass ‘on the other side of the fence’, despite being housed in a field full of deep grass.

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So, there would not be much deep grass?

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By the time we reached the Black Swan, beyond a new equestrian centre construction site, everyone had wet legs and it was raining. Ideal conditions for popping into another hostelry. Sadly, the Black Swan in Lower Withington barred entry. Andrew lives in Lower Withington and is one of the residents responsible for the demise of this fine place. If the residents of the village had put as much effort into downing their pints as they do into curbing the speed of passing motorists, the pub would be thriving.

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A good permissive footpath (well done, farmer) saw us home in to Messuage Farm and its friendly herd of goats. There were some menus nearby. We read one out to the attentive audience, who gave it a good lick (top photo, tongue blurred), before snatching the document and quickly reading it before eating it.

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Hmmm…

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By the time we had retraced our steps in intermittent drizzle to the Swettenham Arms, light was becoming scarce on the warm, damp evening, The pub appeared from the outside to be full of bikers, but we didn’t see much of them.

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A visit to the lavender field was deemed essential, before we adjourned for rehydration activities, courtesy of Selwa, the generous pharmacist.

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Here’s the route, though if it’s dry we would recommend Notchy’s 2014 route in preference. Tonight’s made for a sociable and entertaining little outing of 6.5 km with 32 metres ascent (although it seemed completely flat to me), taking a leisurely hour and a half. Thanks, Andrew.

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The last of this year’s ‘Deepest Cheshire’ walks will take place on Thursday 18 August - Lower Peover – starting from The Bells of Peover (SJ 743 742) at 7.30 pm. All are welcome.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Saturday 16 July 2016 – Another Visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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By coincidence, we found ourselves at this fine venue for the second time in three weeks. Our first visit is recorded here.

This time we were attending Cathy’s 50th birthday party, involving lunch in the Hayloft. On another fine day, we enjoyed a stroll around the grounds of Bretton Hall, encountering others in the ‘party’ along the way. Cathy had provided disposable cameras that were used for ‘people pictures’, so our own photos concentrated on the exhibits.

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I’m not sure what the sculpture above is called, but it is impressive.

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Elizabeth Frink - Riace 111

The Not Vital (a person) exhibition was still in place, with a large number of differing pieces, including ‘Moon’, which gave us scope for a selfie. ‘Moon’ is a fine exhibit; others took more imaginative photos. Some items are up for sale. Would £500 on a polished bronze nose (Not Vital’s very own nose) be a wise investment? We’ll never know, my wallet was left in the car…

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Since our last visit, a new exhibition in the Longside Gallery had been opened on 15 July. ‘Night at the Museum’ comprises a varied set of exhibits with the theme that they are paired by way of one exhibit looking at a second exhibit whose theme is blue.

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Frank Dobson - 'Portrait Bust of Lady Keynes'

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I didn’t record the name of the above exhibit.

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Leonard McComb - 'Young Man Standing'

There was a side room containing some shelves of items that could be placed on a plinth by visitors with a view to ‘creating a collection’.

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Returning to the Hayloft, we passed an assortment of exhibits, some more wacky than others. Sue said she wanted one of these in our garden. Or did I mishear her?

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Dennis Oppenhein - 'Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components'

Eventually we returned to the Hayloft, on the first floor of the building pictured below, for tea and birthday cake in celebration of Cathy’s landmark birthday.

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I’ve added another 49 images to the 72 image album created after our last visit. This can be viewed here. Click on the image on which you want to start, then click ‘slideshow’.

As previously noted: ‘The Sculpture Park is a great place for a day out. Highly recommended.’

Saturday 16 July 2016 – Wythenshawe parkrun

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I’d planned to merge this entry with the next one, but they don’t quite fit, so here’s a quick update from Wythenshawe Hall.

It was a damp morning, as evidenced by the dewy picture below. The muddy passage was ankle deep in standing water, ie very sloppy mud leaving all 172 participants glooped in brown sludge by 9.45 am. At least the rain stopped and since Saturday morning the weather has changed from ‘cool’ to ‘tropical’.

Work continues on the hall, though I can’t see much change since the last picture.

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Andy Holloway blew the rest of the field away today. Here are the results. The Picos de Europa contingent either stayed at home (Sue) or enjoyed a gentle jog (Martin and Cary).

The dewy grass gave off a purplish sheen that was quite marked at the time. I suppose I should have turned on a purple filter to replicate the scene!

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Thanks go to all the volunteers who rose early to set the course in the rain and cheered people around the course. Despite the weather, there were half a dozen or so who were taking part in their first parkrun anywhere. Well done to them, and thanks to Paul B for keeping my ‘phone dry.