Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Aspire Restaurant, Trafford College

2201aspire1

It’s while since we went to the Aspire Restaurant that’s only a few minutes walk from our house. So a little odd that we chose to go after visiting a posh restaurant the previous night and after lunch at the Hollybush in Seighford, my mum’s favourite eatery. Thanks for the treat, mum.

Anyway, we managed only a light lunch, which was just as well, and we joined eight other lucky folk at Aspire at seven o’clock. The 20/20 club is supposed to be for 20 people at £20 a head for a cocktail followed by five ‘taster’ courses. We were very full by the end, although on the face of it the tasty courses looked modest in quantity. They didn’t get the 20 people they aspire to attract. That’s a shame. If you live within reach we do commend a visit to this establishment, where trainee chefs and hospitality students managed to match or even surpass what we had enjoyed at Mr Cooper’s the previous night.

Here’s this week’s menu:

2202aspire2

The college’s website gives details of opening times, and if you call or email them they’ll send you the relevant menu. Special dietary requirements are not a problem for them – in fact this provides good experience for the students. We chatted to some tutors afterwards, and it was clear that they are very experienced and push the students to very high standards.

Here are the current opening times. In the evenings you may have to walk all the way around the college building to get in as the college reception may be closed.

Wednesdays
20/20 Club
Dinner from 6.45pm

Thursdays
Lunch from 12 noon
Dinner from 6.45pm

Fridays
Lunch from 12 noon


Christmas Dinner

Christmas dinner will be served on Thursday 30th November, then 7th and 14th December

£24.00

Christmas Lunch will served on the following days

Thursday 30th November
7th, 14th and 21st December
Friday 1st, 8th and 15th December

It sounds delicious (see the extract from their website below); let us know if you’d like to join us for lunch on one of the above dates.

  • Christmas Lunch Menu


  • STARTERS
  • Chestnut Mushroom velouté (v)
    Selection of home made breads
  • Or
  • Ham Hock & parsley terrine
    Home made piccalilli, toasted brioche
  • Or
  • Home-cured fillet of mackerel
    Heritage beetroot salad
  • Or
  • Caramelised shallot tart tatin (v)
    Goats cheese, endive & walnut
  • MAIN COURSES
  • Roast Cheshire bronze turkey
    Goose fat roast potatoes, organic vegetables, apricot stuffing
  • Or
  • Baked supreme of Hake
    Roast tomatoes, olives, tarragon mash, herb oil
  • Or
  • Slow cooked belly of middle white pork
    Champ cake, caramelised shallots, braised cabbage & roasting gravy
  • Or
  • Spiced Roast squash risotto (v)
    Wilted spinach, cumin & fennel seeds, tomato fondue
  • DESSERTS
  • Lemon Trio
    of limoncello drizzle cake, crème brulée & citrus sorbet
  • Or
  • Christmas pudding
    With brandy sauce and spiced clementine jam
  • Or
  • Rich chocolate tart
    Vanilla cream, chocolate ganache and accompanying sauces
    Coffee and Mince Pies
  • £17.50
  • includes VAT at standard rate
  • The staff and students of Aspire Restaurant wish you a Merry Christmas

Friday, 24 November 2017

Some Jazz and Blues

2001Chicago

The Chicago Teddybears Society Jazz Band put on a great show at Eagley Jazz Club on Monday. The performances at this jazz club are outstanding, especially considering you can get in, have a beer and a pastie, and enter the raffle, all for around a tenner.

On Tuesday Sue and I were treated by a good friend, by way of a thank you to me for organising a couple of Alpine trips, to a delicious meal at Mr Cooper’s restaurant, followed by a visit to the Bridgewater Hall to see John Mayall with the Buddy Whittington Band.

2101mayall

So far as I can recall, the first gig I ever went to, probably in 1966 shortly after I passed my driving test and was let loose on my dad’s Morris/Austin 1100 (don’t ask – I did crash it), was to see John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers at Redcar Jazz Club in the Coatham Hotel. We went to a few gigs there around that time, including early performances from Cream, who I saw again in Manchester. I recall Zoot Money and the Big Roll Band featuring loudly in Redcar, and amazingly, I’ve discovered that like John Mayall, who is 83 years old, they are still playing and have a gig tonight!

Mayall has been performing since 1956. His band, over the years, reads like a Who’s Who of blues and blues rock musicians.

I enjoyed the performance, though the Buddy Whittington Band’s sound could have been better – perhaps we were too near the front. It brought back some happy memories from my schooldays with Mike and Geoff and John and others.

Friday 7 July 2006 – Going Home

0701Mayrhofen

After a slightly rainy night, it was cloudy and cooler today - more like 17ºC than the usual 25ºC. The three of us caught the 8.35 train to Jenbach, where I left Mark and Julianna to head for their next destination - sunny Vienna, whilst I returned efficiently to reach home in Manchester by 17.45, via Innsbruck and Frankfurt.

I'd enjoyed Mark and Julie's company, and a very pleasant week in the Alps with them. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.

0702innsbruck10703innsbruck2

Today’s first picture was taken in Mayrhofen, the next two in Innsbruck, with a map of the week’s venues being shown below.

0704map2

Revisiting this week has resulted in a 40 page photo book that I hope Mark and Julianna will enjoy when it reaches them, by way of thanks for having us to stay in Calgary in September.

The next project is a photobook for Mark’s mum and dad. That won’t attract historic blog postings like these as their 2014 trip from Shap to Richmond is already recorded here.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Thursday 6 July 2006 – A Sunny Day Out

0626commonspottedorchid

Another lovely sunny day for a final walk with Mark and Julie. We met Sue and David at camp around 9.30, then headed to Ramsau along paths 11 then 51, the latter involving a 200 metre ascent. That took us to 11 o'clock. All instead of a 7 minute bus ride, and it wasn't a particularly scenic route anyway.

0606chairlift

Once at Ramsau, for €6.50 we enjoyed a lovely chairlift ascent - 500 metres up to Sonnalm (1360 metres), where we enjoyed coffees, etc and Mark and Julie tucked in to another apfelstrudel - they have come to like these.

0607coffee

Then we strolled up quite a way, through woods and meadows, up to around 1900 metres, for lunch just beyond Schlatterhuttenaste, where a new waterwheel seemed to be supplementing the power.

0613waterwheel20614hut0615resting0617martin

It was easy navigation - route 50 all the way to Mayrhofen.

There were nutcrackers in the woods, and a pair of ring ouzels were foraging for worms in a field as we passed. More goats, lizards, etc.

The cloud arrived a bit earlier today and we felt a few drops of rain early on the descent. These soon eased and no waterproofs were required as we descended on a lazily zigzagging path through beautiful woods towards Brandberg. Instead of going there, from where a postbus could have returned us to base, we continued along path 50 to reach Mayrhofen at 4.50. Somehow we managed to get separated, all but me and Mark having stopped for ice creams. Perhaps Sue wanted to escape from people who disagree with her views.

It was overcast and hot, but there was no deluge like yesterday's. We were thankful not to get the flash flooding that was inflicting places near home in Manchester.

0629slide

We reconvened later for a meal at the Edelweiss restaurant, owned by one of the wealthy families of Mayrhofen (not the Krölls, who also own quite a bit!). It was a good meal, and we all enjoyed ice cream treats as well. Yodelling muzak for elderly coach parties was a little intrusive in the background, but we put up with it.

We had walked about 14 km, with 700 metres ascent, in about 5.3 hours plus stops.

0632ibex0640map

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

A Postcard from Timperley

This is just a ‘catch-up’ posting of a few recent pictures that many people might nowadays put on Facebook.

But here there’s no advertising…

1505canal5

Autumn colours by the canal continue to delight.

1601canal

Saturday morning: parkrun number 315 at Wythenshawe, under Oliver’s watchful eye.

1802parkrun2

Jeanette and Sue have taken to walking around the 5 km course in about 40 minutes. This protects them from injury and facilitates a good natter.

1807parkrun7

Sunday: A visit from Jacob and Jessica.

1903cake1

Mummy (Kate) has a birthday on Monday, so we’d better make her some cakes.

This is Jessica’s design masterpiece.

1905cake31907cake5

Meanwhile, Jacob’s is ‘work in progress’ when a visit to the park intervenes.

1909cake7

The trains at Walton Park were operating, but there was no sign of an ice cream van.

1911train2

Much time was spent on the swings.

1912swings

Then we returned home for Jacob to complete his masterpiece.

1913cake8

Monday, 20 November 2017

Wednesday 5 July 2006 – A Slow Descent

0502camp2

After a starlit night that I spent in my Nallo 2 tent with the door wide open, our great position saw the sun on us at 6.45, whereas on our pitch in Mayrhofen it's 8.30. By 7.15 the thermometer had rocketed from 9º to 23ºC. It was a lovely clear day and we enjoyed our lofty position whilst breakfasting and packing up in a very leisurely fashion.

0505camp5

A 9.30 start had us ambling slowly along path 536, the Berliner Hohenweg. The path was excellently marked, but extremely rough, with long bouldery sections spliced with narrow vertiginous paths creeping through and around the crags that flank this Hauptkamm range of mountains.

0509stairs

The difficulties were minor if we took our time, as M and J's town shoes are not really the best equipment.

0512mark

A steep drop led through the final barrier of crags to the farm buildings at Kesselalm, but not before a steep snow slope had to be negotiated. An ice axe, buried deep in my rucksack, but taken as a precaution, came in handy.

0513mark-on-snow

Getting down to the snow was a bit tricky, but once there I renewed the path across the snow and then returned three times for the rucksacks. Then M and J went around the top of the bergschrund on a route I'd already reccied, and slithered down a bit of snow in which I'd made some steps. All good fun!

0514boulders

By the time we got to the other side of the shepherds' hut it was 12.30 - time for a well earned lunch. We'd covered about two miles all morning, in excellent weather. It's slow going, especially for Julie. [But now, after another eleven years of 'adventures with Mark', she would float along such a route in no time at all.]

0516meadow

After 45 minutes we escaped from some annoying flies by descending some 800 metres to reach the bus stop at Tulfer-Alp at 3.30. The bus, when it arrived (late) 40 minutes later was full, and only I got a seat.

On the descent we had seen a herd of goats scrabbling on high rocks and sheltering from the sun under an overhang. The wild flowers were tremendous - numerous different varieties adorned our scenic route that led through open meadows then down through fragrant pine woods. A superb if short overnight trip.

By the time we got back to Mayrhofen the weather was fresher, with quite a lot of cloud, and whilst shopping the heavens opened. So we adjourned to a bar next to Dave and Sue's pension and enjoyed a beer. They arrived within minutes (dry - they'd been on a bus) to join us, after which we dispersed for our separate meals (I had luxury mushroom soup with frankfurters, M and J had spag bol), showers, etc, before returning to rendezvous with D and S for another beer, after which David and I watched the rather dismal end to France 1; Portugal 0 in the World Cup, France being very poor despite winning.

Today we walked about 5 km with 250 metres ascent, taking a little over 5 hours, plus stops. It was very rough going.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Tuesday 4 July 2006 – High Camp Day

0402bySchlegeisspeicher

Another lovely day in the Zillertal Alps. We rendezvoused with Sue and Dave on the crowded 9.30 bus from the railway station up to Schlegeisspeicher. An interesting 1100 metre ascent, including a 15 minute wait at one tunnel entrance and 7 minutes at another.

We were soon heading up route 502 towards the Olperer Hut - a 600 metre climb taking from 10.45 to 12.45. The steep, zigzag path was well graded with a good number of people on it.

0405group

We took an easy pace but made reasonable time. M and J's backpacks were lighter than on the previous attempt as we only had one day's food, and many other items had been discarded - left in Sue and Dave's room in the pension earlier in the day.

0408Olperer

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch on a high spot above the hut, before continuing on over fairly rough ground to Friesenberghaus at 2477 metres, after reaching a high point at around 2650 metres and descending steeply to the lake (in a rocky bowl, not suitable for camping) and fairly deserted hut.

0416path

Drinks and apfelstrudel were enjoyed here, on the Berliner Hohenweg route. [Sue and I walked that route in its entirety the following year.]

0418Friesenberg1

After the 40 minute break at the hut, Dave and Sue left us at 4.10 pm to descend by route 532 - 'a beautiful descent' they later reported, after getting down in plenty of time for the last bus at 17.55.

The three of us carried on for 50 minutes, admiring trumpet gentians along the way.

0420TrumpetGentian

We crossed the ridge that goes up to Hoher Riffler, with fine views.

0421viewon1

A small lake, Wesendkarsee, 2350 metres, was reached at 5 pm. The going had been rough but we were pleased to find some flattish spots for the tents. I had camped here before, on 9 August 1993. There is also a good flat spot, hidden from the path until further east, about 100 metres SE of the lake. [Now in 2017, these observations are sadly rather academic as wild camping is no longer permitted in Austria.]

0425camp3

The weather was lovely. We lingered outside for an al fresco meal until a few drops of rain drove M and J into their tent, but well after the sun had vanished over the peaks to the west. It was very quiet. The high cable car on Gefrorene Wand was now hidden, and whilst Sue and Dave's evening in Mayrhofen was blighted by disappointed German soccer fans (they lost to Italy in the World Cup semi-finals) until 3 am, we had a lovely calm, quiet, starry night. At 9ºC it was a bit cool for Julie, who needed clothes on, and their superbly positioned site turned out to be 'a bit lumpy'. Never mind!

During the evening two oldish men hobbled past on their way to Friesenberghaus. They were absolutely knackered. When we spoke to them in English they just waved us away. It's obviously a long day from Gams Hutte.

Today we walked about 8 km, with 850 metres ascent, in a little under 5 hours plus breaks.