Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Friday 11 March 2016

The Paxford Priors Murder Mysteries


A series of three written in the British Cosy genre.

If you enjoy reading about Agatha Raisin and Mama Ramotswe or watching Rosemary and Thyme you will love the adventures of the villagers of Paxford Priors. No clever detectives at work here, just unwitting friends whose lives are thrown into turmoil by dastardly deeds.

That’s what Pat Oliver says about her Paxford Priors books. I’ve just enjoyed reading the second in the series, having very much enjoyed Pat’s first and shorter (104 page) offering ‘The Mad Hatter Murder’. It’s best to read that first as many of the characters also appear in the second (261 page) book.

It’s easy reading and Pat should be very proud of the results of her labour. The characters develop nicely and I can picture her with her husband Dave, observing the goings on from their site in the Paxford Priors caravan park. I’m slightly surprised that a mountain biking tourist hasn’t yet featured in the narrative!

Pat and Dave have for many years supported a little known charity, FOMO (Friends Of Mulanje Orphans) a UK Charity that supports thousands of Aids orphans in the Mulanje District of Malawi.

All the proceeds from the distribution and sale of anything on the Paxford Priors website go to this charity, Pat’s writing being a hobby in which she indulges for the benefit of the charity.

To purchase a book and support FOMO please email (you’ll need to pay P&P and make a donation).

If you enjoy a little light reading I can recommend these books. I couldn’t put them down once I’d started reading.


Thursday 10 March 2016

Graffiti from the Southern Half (13)


On an overcast afternoon in Manchester it’s nice to be able to cast my mind back to 14 December last year, and this suburban garden wall in Valparaiso. Judging by the image, it must sometimes rain in Chile!


Wednesday 9 March 2016

A Musical Interlude and some Images of Manchester


Sue and I recently had the pleasure of an evening at the Bridgewater Hall. Instead of one of the usual local orchestras, this evening’s concert was performed by the Oslo Philharmonic, bringing home to us our good fortune in living just a few minutes’ tram ride from a major international concert venue.

On my way to meet Sue for a pre concert pizza in Croma, I took the opportunity to try to capture some nice lighting effects before the sun went down.

Here’s the Bridgewater Canal from the towpath between the Deansgate-Castlefield tram stop and the Bridgewater Hall.


How the Peveril of the Peak pub has managed to escape the ravages of the property developers, I just don’t know. Many of these small city centre hostelries have made way for office developments above coffee shops and wine bars.


Here’s a shot of the sunlit buildings taken from just beyond the pub.


The old railway goods warehouse is now mainly a car park.


Here’s a view towards Peter Street, taken from the same place as the previous picture.


For many years I worked in Heron House, just a few metres away from where this image of Manchester Town Hall was taken.


For the record, here’s an extract from the Bridgewater Hall’s website on the concert we attended, which it goes without saying was really excellent.

Monday, 7 March, 2016 7:30PM

The Bridgewater Hall

<h6><b>Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra</b></h6>
International Concert Series

Vasily Petrenko conductor | Simon Trpceski piano

Grieg Lyric Suite: Gangar (5’) | Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2 (35’) | Mahler Symphony No.5 (70’)

Better known to British audiences as Principal Conductor of the Liverpool Phil, since 2013 Vasily Petrenko has also been Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic. Still not yet 40, the dynamic Russian maestro brings vital energy and strong musical discipline to all his performances, never better shown than in the mighty symphonies of Gustav Mahler. Petrenko has also formed a successful partnership with Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski, and their recordings of the Rachmaninov concertos have won critical acclaim for their insight and brilliance.

‘There is nothing overstated… and yet there is nothing that goes unnoticed either: the interpretative balance is precise and inspired, the thrill of experiencing the concerto played in this way immeasurable. Trpceski was born to perform this music, and Petrenko to conduct it.’ The Telegraph

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Saturday 5 March 2016 – TGO Challengers’ Snake Reunion Walk


After some ‘interesting’ journeys in fresh snow, with the Snake Pass road pretending to be shut, about 14 'Hardy' souls set off at 10.30am from Fairholmes, by Ladybower Reservoir, on this year’s Saturday Reunion walk.


We soon reached the Upper Derwent Reservoir's dam. A gentle pace was adopted, even by Graham Brookes, to accommodate the desire of Alan and Chris to compose award winning images at their leisure whilst the rest of the group provided a slalom course for mountain bikers.


Good views up the valley were marred only by the intermittent nature of the sunshine and the tendency for the snowy horizon to merge with the colour of the clouds above the horizon, but blue sky did feature quite strongly.


The far point of our walk was the bridge beyond Cold Side, to the north of Howden Reservoir.


There were good views downstream, and upstream to the River Derwent and Cranberry Bed. No cranberries to harvest today!


We decided not to continue further up the Derwent Valley, and headed down the road beside Howden Reservoir, keeping a wary eye out for Lancaster bombers re-enacting their Dam Busting raids. It was here that they practiced.


Lunch was taken either by the roadside of by a crawl up the snowy bank to a grassy verandah with a nice view through the trees.


Soon after lunch, all but a group of five continued down the road and back to Fairholmes and an early bath back at the Snake Inn.

The five outcasts took a rising path through slurpy snow beside Ditch Clough, to Alport Castles.


Eventually we reached Alport Castles and admired the wide ranging snowy Peak District views.


There's some interesting geology in the vicinity of Alport Castles, namely The Tower and Little Moor.


Many pictures were taken on the lovely afternoon, albeit the snow was melting fast as we strolled across the pasture.


We enjoyed views north east to the Featherbed Moss/Back Tor area where our original walk was planned.


Snacks were taken. Cake and shortbread was available in considerable quantities.


After an hour or so on the tops, Ladybower Reservoir came into view and we commenced an easy descent back to a slightly slushy Fairholmes.


Soon afterwards we adjourned to the varying luxuries of the Snake Inn and Colin the campervan, where Mick and Gayle's café was doing a roaring trade, aided by our own cake and shortbread contribution. Andy Walker, looking as if he had just returned from an Arctic Expedition, soon smelt the cake and tried in vain to dent the stocks.

Here's our route - 19km with around 500 metres ascent, taking 5.5 hours.


The Snake Inn provided its usual hearty meal and a convivial evening was enjoyed by all, including a number of visitors for the evening who had ignored the discouraging signs for the Snake Pass, which continued its pretence at being closed.

There’s a 45 image slideshow here. Click the first image, then ‘slideshow’ for the full screen annotated slideshow.

Previous ‘reunion’ reports are here.

Monday 7 March 2016

Commuting along the Bridgewater Canal


This morning’s picture shows the once muddy towpath of the Bridgewater Canal between Timperley and Brooklands, being used as a much needed commuter route for cyclists.

Well done those who have converted the muddy path into a (mainly) dry path. Cyclists should however be alert to the fact that this is a place where it should be safe for dog walkers to let their pets off the lead, so appropriate courtesies should be deployed.

Hopefully the whole of the towpath will eventually be renewed. The section from Altrincham to Lymm is currently a mud bath.