Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Friday 30 December 2016

A Visit from Jessica


This entry is family biased, so skip it if you aren’t interested. Great Grandmas read on!

Yesterday morning Sue and I wandered off to the shops before taking delivery of a grandchild. The path through Woodheys, beside Baguley Brook, was particularly attractive in the morning light.

Jessica duly arrived. At three and a bit she is at a delightful age. Ready to help with everything, well beyond nappies and ‘accidents’, and very amenable and self sufficient.

Whilst I went for a short jog along the canal towpath and established that my sore calf was still very sore, Sue and Jess played on the frost covered swings at Newton Park. It was parky, but a good 30-40 minutes was spent on this one swing…


Pasta and tuna with a cheese sauce had the youngster craving for more. “This is nice” she remarked, “I’ve been asking for pasta all week”. It seems that Christmas leftovers in Bacup didn’t feature pasta.

‘Frozen’ (a film) was watched whilst I checked out some diary entries from 1993. What delights you have to come! Unlike her older brother, this little girl is a Good Sleeper. After a reading of my cousin’s book, ‘Seen and not Heard’, she embarked instantly on an eleven hour sleep. Sue and I both wish we could match that!

So we were able to have our customary holiday lie in. Sue and I have received some panettone for Christmas, and are enjoying it for breakfast. “What’s that?” Jess asked, “we don’t have that at home”. She soon got the hang of removing the paper and tucking in to this Christmas classic. The coco pops were returned to their packet.


We are running short of mince pies, so Sue decided to make Jamie Oliver’s filo version. This involves brushing filo pastry with melted butter. A great job for a three year old.


Then we fed the birds and Jess waited by the window to watch them enjoying the worms. “While I’m here I may as well wash up” she was telling me.


Then, after some fun with Play Dough, Jess went home. What a delight she was to have for 24 hours. We hope she can come again soon (in between our globe-trotting).

Thursday 29 December 2016

Sunny in Stretford


It’s almost exactly three years since I wrote about the Stretford Reach sculpture. That was on one of those lovely sunny frosty winter days, the like of which we are now experiencing. The sculpture is beside a bridge by Stretford Metro Station, just beyond the Watch House Cruising Club building pictured above.


We are ‘at home’, with jobs to do and a little local excitement, so exercise comprises things like our 27/12 walk to Dunham Massey and on to Altrincham, and yesterday’s ‘lollipop’ bike ride – along the canal to Throstle Nest Bridge, then beside the Ship Canal to Barton swing bridge beyond Eccles, returning along the canal towpath past the Trafford Centre to regain the stick of the lollipop.


It’s about 26 km. Allow up to an hour and a half, depending on your pace. Yesterday was a perfect day for this bike ride as the surface of the canal towpath is pretty frost resistant, but you did need to wrap up well!

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Tuesday 27 December 2016 – Dunham Massey Winter Garden


We’ve reported from the Winter Garden on numerous occasions – here.

This was our first visit of this season to the garden, but first….

our relatives in Nantwich provided an excellent Boxing Day party before announcing themselves ‘shattered’ after their various exertions. Having merely provided the odd bit of food, and having caught up on lots of sleep, Sue and I were far from shattered, unlike our sprout dish.


Luckily, all the left over sprouts had been consumed, closely followed by this lonely morsel of whisky cake.


So we were well fuelled for a stroll to Dunham Massey beside the glassy canal.


The park was full of multi-generational families, shiny new bikes and scooters, and a multitude of small dogs. Luckily it’s a large park, with plenty of room for everyone.


The Winter Garden announced its first snowdrops and daffodils. Sue had forgotten her camera, so the following images are courtesy of my inferior skills (if not lens).

We soon came across this lovely scented daphne, just coming into flower.2705daphne2

Witch hazel, also pictured at the head of this posting, is blossoming nicely at present.2707witchhazel12708witchhazel2

Somebody has been busy washing the trunks of these birch trees - Betula utilis 'Doorenbos'.2712birch1

The bright red branches of Cornus alba Westonbirt are a principal source of colour just now.2717cornusalba4

The tiger bark (Prunus serrula 'Tibetica') is pretty pretty…2718tigerbark

A splash of purple is provided by Callicarpa bodinieri giraldii.2719Callicarpa

Inside the Orangery, there’s a succulent plant with pretty leaves.2723indoor12726indoor4

I suspect this is the first of a number of Winter Garden postings, perhaps a little repetitive with regard to previous years, but bringing a splash of colour to the current pages of this on-line diary.


Tuesday 27 December 2016

Christmas Day in Bacup


Thanks go to Kate and Simon for hosting Christmas dinner. It was delicious, and a very civilised and enjoyable day for us. Here are a few of Sue’s pictures.

Waiting for plates – 3 grandmas and an uncle2504xmas

Let’s play Mario on our phones…2501xmas

Little Miss Mischief2502xmas

Thank you for my present, Great Grandma2507xmas

Catching up2508xmas

How, why, what, when, where?…2509xmas

Christmas with a Great Grandma2510xmas

This is what I think of you, Grandad…2512xmas

When I grow up I want to be a firefighter2513xmas

Sunday 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas Everyone


Hello All

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy and fulfilling New Year.

With Very Best Wishes

Martin and Sue

Saturday 24 December 2016

Wythenshawe parkruns 267 and 268

Last weeks’ parkrun was attended by a healthy 208 runners. Considering the dull day and the wet conditions, a pretty good turnout, but way below the record of 340 back in August 2015, before the parkrun at Stretford was established. The latter is a dryer, faster course and now attracts a large following.

Still, we enjoyed the muddy passage that is a key feature of Wythenshawe’s course. What I didn’t enjoy was the effect of the run on my already sore calf, leading to ice packs and hobbles and very little exercise over the following week.

Here are a few more images from run 267:


The report on run 267 includes the following sentence: “There aren't many people who have the gall to dress up as Rudolph and then pronounce to the assembled throng that he is the Reindeer-ector.”


Anyway, the reindeer-ector must have been appreciated as some 353 souls turned up today, Christmas Eve, mostly in some sort of Christmasy fancy dress, for another trudge through the mud. A record turnout, with many staying for bacon/sausage butties at the café, which opened specially for us, afterwards.

Today’s 28 pictures, including 12 from Andy W (thanks Andy, yours are the ones starting with ‘Sprint!’), are all here, and there’s a taster below. I wasn’t able to take many as the tree outfit is pocketless. The photos seem to concentrate on just a few people, but we have made many many friends as a result of this weekly activity. New people join the ‘club’ every week and it’s a delight to see so many friendships being forged. This is happening all over the country and ‘tourists’ are always welcomed.

I’m overcome with a feeling of warmth!

Andrew, Alastair and Sue2401parkrun1

Jeanette, Paul the Pixie, and Martin the Tree2404parkrun4

Martin, Paul, Jeanette, Cary and Sue2408parkrun8

The usual suspects plus Andy W2413parkrun13

Say hello to the Hardings2414parkrun14

Charlotte and Syd and friend2418parkrun18

Sue and I started slowly, as she has a sore foot and my calf was a bit better but still sore. Our slow pace (33.11 for Sue, 29.58 for me) seems to have worked as neither of us have serious after effects, though Sue claims to be ‘tired’. I finished at the same time as Jeanette, who managed her first 5 km run since breaking her kneecap about 18 months ago. A long and tedious recuperation. Well done Jeanette.

I crashed this photo (taken I think by Kate H) and then nicked it from the Wythenshawe parkrun Facebook page. I’m pictured with Mark and two other stalwarts.


Then we zoomed back home to prepare lunch for Dot, who is staying with us for Christmas for the last time due to her increasing lack of mobility, Kate, Simon, Jacob and Jessica, Nell and Keith, and Mike and Sarah. And a good time was had by all…

PS Here are some of Andy W’s pictures:


Cary steams in to the finishCary steams in to the finish

Prancer get the magic wand treatment!Prancer get the magic wand treatment!

Emily and CharlotteEmily and Charlotte

Andy at the finishAndy at finish

Diana, Richard, Martin, Sue and CaryDiana, Richard, Martin, Sue and Cary

Thanks Andy.