Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 13 February 2016

Life in the Freezer


We arrived in Ottawa safely after an uneventful journey (apart from bumping into Sue’s former colleague - Mary Jepson - and her daughter, whose wedding cake Sue provided some five years ago – it’s a small world!) on a balmy Friday afternoon and were soon installed in our ‘Winter Quarters’ and provided with a hearty meal from Helen’s vast inventory.

My ski pass awaited me and I’ll be taking full advantage of it. But not today.

Here’s the view from the sun room. Which is very warm and sunny. If you look carefully you can just see the top of the hamster’s cage near the bottom left of the picture. That poor animal really does have to put up with life in the freezer. He doesn’t seem to have moved since we were last here!


The kitchen thermometer shows both the indoor and outdoor temperatures. The bottom two measurements (minus 26C and plus 36C) are the lowest and highest outdoor temperatures recorded since Ken and Helen moved here two years ago. This winter has been warm, with little snow. People were sunbathing in 17C temperatures at Christmas. But you’ll perhaps notice that at 8.55am this morning the outside temperature was minus 26.0C. It’ll be rather colder in Gatineau Park. And with wind chill?

Brrr! We won’t be going far today!


Wednesday 10 February 2016

Tuesday 9 February 2016 – Another Curry Walk


Alan was suffering from Curry Withdrawal Symptoms.

So he endured a marathon bus/tram journey to Timperley. JJ turned up for coffee and cake and the ensuing stroll to the This ‘n That curry house in Soap Street. (Well, poor JJ missed the curry – he had to dash off, or did he simply morph into Sheila?)

We took a fairly direct route along the Bridgewater Canal towpath so no map is needed today; my Garmin recorded about 15 km in total.

I wish I’d taken photos of Manchester more regularly since I first arrived in 1967 – at which time steam hauled goods trains passed frequently by our lecture room windows at UMIST, and Market Street was just like any other busy high street.

Aidan O’Rourke gave an illustrated talk at SWOG a couple of weeks ago that demonstrated the value of taking regular pictures from the same spot, recording changes in the city landscape. I haven’t got his ‘then and now’ images, but some of those below could eventually become ‘then’ snaps!

The Bridgewater Canal divides at Waters Meeting in Trafford Park. The 250 year old towpath has recently been restored. Here’s a picture from the bridge over which we continue towards the lock that links the Bridgewater Canal with the Manchester Ship Canal, looking on here to the path to Eccles.


En route, we pass the Soapworks, mentioned in last week’s posting.


A bridge across the Ship Canal/River Irwell is followed by one of my regular bikes rides, but it’s eschewed by Curry Walkers.


The graffiti in this part of Manchester leaves a little to be desired.


The towpath leads to Merchants’ Bridge in Castlefield, which we cross to wend our way towards Deansgate.


Castlefield (on which there is a plethora of information here) is full of Victorian constructions, many topped with castellated stone as a gesture to the Roman Fort that was virtually destroyed in their construction.


There are newer buildings here as well. Can you spot the YHA?


JJ found a sign.


Alan was inside the bar – his attention span didn’t reach beyond the first line!


(Sorry Alan.)

St Peter’s Square is in a state of flux. The new KPMG building is on the right; the metrolink station has gone, for the time being, and trams pass without stopping.


The square will look quite different in a year’s time.

Later – Spinners Quiz in Adlington – jackpot now up to £550 – nobody won it – we did however gain a tenner between our team of five for winning the Snakes and Ladders contest!

Alan’s rather more comprehensive report is here.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Graffiti from the Southern Half (10)


Here’s an old piece – you can see how the paint has worn, but there’s very little graffiti as we know it on this graffiti as the people of Valparaiso know it.

Monday 8 February 2016

Sunday 7 February 2016 – A Circuit from The Leathers Smithy


About 14 of us started from outside the Leathers Smithy hostelry after negotiating a new bay system that restricts parking beside Ridgegate Reservoir.


Today’s carefully constructed route saw us heading south along the Gritstone Trail path, with good views back to Tegg's Nose.


Those who stayed near the back avoided some of 'Martin's Meanders' – I seemed to be busy chatting every time we passed a turn.

We headed falteringly onwards along the muddy, undulating path, towards the Radio Station at Sutton Common.

Fox Bank led to the 330 metre high point of the walk, Hill of Rossenclowes, from where the header picture was taken, looking towards Shutlingsloe.


There were fine sunny views across Greater Manchester and North Cheshire.


After another inadvertent meander, we descended past several quarries to the muddy depths of Ratcliff Wood.


We strolled beside a narrow watercourse towards Oakgrove.


I wonder what this small canal was used for?


Down at Sutton Oaks, The Fool's Nook has sadly been closed for a while. I recall enjoying a good pub lunch here on my Cheshire Ring bike ride in 2010.


Between us we all managed to find seating positions on the banks of the Macclesfield Canal, for lunch before our first dousing of the day.


Then a 5 km stroll along the canal towpath took us steadily away from Hall Green and towards Marple.


The towpath crosses the canal on the outskirts of Macclesfield, soon after which Rick sprinted ahead to meet daughter Jo and 'pretty boy' Eric. (No photos I’m afraid, you’ll have to use your imagination.)

Past The Hollins, a muddy path skirts a golf course.


Looking towards Shutlingsloe, almost indiscernible on the horizon, we enjoyed a slithery descent to Langley, where a pavement provided temporary respite from the mud.


We passed Langley Hall, a fine building, before the easy stroll to rejoin the mudfest known as the Gritstone Trail. Some opted out of this delight and diced with the traffic heading along Clarke Lane, but most of us stuck to the mud, arriving back at the start, or nearby, as a somewhat disparate bunch.

Here’s our route - 20 km with about 500 metres ascent, taking a little over 5 hours.


There’s a short slideshow here, if you are interested – click on the first image, then click ‘slideshow’.

Thanks, everyone, for joining us on this very pleasant little jaunt in rather better weather than Saturday’s, when Sue got soaked marshalling and I got soaked jogging on my 100th parkrun. Luckily a tent had been erected to prevent the (obligatory) cake from going soggy.

No time I’m afraid to record in more than passing a visit to Bacup for a delicious fish pie, or a visit to the Bridgewater Hall for an ‘Echoes of a Mountain Song’ concert advertised below but ending surprisingly with a version of the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil’! Very enjoyable.

In a concert which includes poetry and readings, we hear the rarely performed orchestral sketch Kinder Scout by English composer Patrick Hadley (1899-1973) who found solace on the moors of the Peak District. A performer with local roots, Jennifer Pike, plays that matchless evocation of the moorland landscape, The Lark Ascending, based on George Meredith’s pastoral poem. Frederick Delius was born in Bradford and loved high wild places. A Walk to The Paradise Garden is a blissful interlude set amidst Alpine scenery. After the interval, Mendelssohn takes us on a tour of Scotland; a musical journey encompassing misty peaks, bagpipes and highland dancing.

Sunday 7 February 2016

Friday 5 February 2016 – An Impromptu Stroll to Manchester


8.30 am – text message from JJ. But, but, but… I’m in the middle of making some brownies…

9.45 am – meet JJ and Rick at the Bridgewater Canal near Timperley Metro station. It’s great to be able to drop everything and enjoy a sociable stroll.

It’s a cloudy day but JJ keeps stopping to take photos. My phone camera only comes out when we take a route that I’m not familiar with. Instead of crossing the Throstle Nest Bridge to follow the towpath, we desert the canal in favour of the Irwell/Ship Canal path.

There’s a view, pictured above, across what is now wasteland but what used to be a hive of dockland industry, to a variety of buildings including the Soapworks, the modern reincarnation of the old Colgate Palmolive factory.

I’d not previously consciously observed this lock that links the Bridgewater Canal with the Manchester Ship Canal, namely ‘Number 3 Dock’.


Here’s the view down Number 3 Dock to the main channel of the Ship Canal.


Ordsall Hall lurks between new buildings, just to the left of the foundry, in the view across Number 3 Dock.


There’s every chance that Peel Holdings will allow construction hereabouts, so it’ll be interesting to see photos taken from the same point ten years from now.

We exit the canal system to Liverpool Road, where the Science and Industry Museum nearly lures us in. We decide to plan a proper visit in a few weeks time.

Across the road, the Air & Space Hall insists on getting us to pop our noses through the door.


The other side of that door, an English Electric Lightning – basically a massive jet engine behind a small cockpit, brings back childhood memories.


Katsouris, at the junction of Deansgate and John Dalton Street, provides us with an excellent Mezze lunch that means none of us will need anything more than a snack later. At the next table a corporate ‘Jolly’ is being planned by a group who sound as if they will be visiting the vast system of slate mines at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Cotswold replaces my faulty Aquapac (waterproof case for telephone) and Evans Cycles meet JJ’s needs. The bell he selects doesn’t seem to be on their computer system, so he gets it for nothing.

We passed to and fro beside this intricate sculpture of Chopin on Deansgate. He visited Manchester just once – in 1848, a year before his death at the age of 39.


We were back at home by early afternoon.

JJ’s version is here.