Monday morning bike rides aren't the same without Paul and Jeanette! This Monday I made my way in light rain to the allotted 8.45am rendezvous at Timperley Bridge, and waited with the familiar view shown above.
I was on my own, together with lots of fast, damp commuters. Never mind, I'd planned a shorter route than usual because of other perceived commitments. It was the same route as Richard and I took on 11 March.
By the time I'd reached Old Trafford, either it was very misty, or the 'phone camera didn't like being retrieved from my pocket into the muggy atmosphere.
I paused for a short rest near the bridge at Barton upon Irwell, near the Trafford Centre.
The vegetation on and around the Trans Pennine Trail in Carrington is nothing if not lush just now.
The 37 km route took me rather less than two and a quarter hours to pedal gently around. It's a good, mainly off-road, route for a bit of exercise.
Monday night found me at Eagley Jazz Club, with the Tame Valley Stompers on stage. I wrote a bit about them here. Sadly Terry Brunt and his trombone were not present tonight as he had to attend the funeral of his long term partner earlier in the day. Whilst his substitute was excellent, the band isn't the same without extrovert Terry.
It was great to bump into Bernard (an East Lancs LDWA Plodder) and to spend the evening with him and his brother John.
Tuesday was a bad day for Richard's friend Simon - a roofer who couldn't pass over a chance to catch up on his work on a rare fine day. That made it a good day for me, as I could step in at the last minute and enjoy the one day match between England and Afghanistan at Old Trafford with Richard. Thanks for the 'call up', Richard. I had considered getting a ticket, but I'd fallen heavily at the hurdles of the application procedure.
So I walked down to M&S in Sale to acquire tasty provisions in the true tradition of my visits to the cricket ground, most of which pre date this journal. On the way I noticed that after many months of inaction, the path to a canal footpath at Brooklands is at last (or so it appears) having its wonky step repaired. What was probably an hour's job for a lone workman seems to have been escalated into a much bigger project! [Only the steps were closed, the footpath being easily accessed from the Metrolink station platform.]
We gave ourselves plenty of time as Richard was concerned about the time it would take to get through security. Just a few seconds, as it turned out.
With an hour before the start, the English players were engaged in a game of five a side football, whilst the Afghans preferred the non contact sport of frisbee throwing. Interviews were being broadcast, with numerous different broadcasters situated all around the in-field.
We were pleased when England won the toss and elected to bat. I optimistically suggested a total of 400 runs from the 50 overs, but soon discounted this when the English made a slow start, giving respect to the skill of the Afghan spinners.
Then captain Eoin Morgan came along and scored 148 runs from 71 balls, including 17 sixes, a record for a one-day international innings. We witnessed history (albeit in a relatively small way) being made, with England reaching 397 for 6 wickets in their 50 overs. Brilliant!
After meeting up with Keith and Carol during the break between innings, we enjoyed a rather sedate run chase which culminated with the Afghans needing to score about 150 runs off the final over.
Needless to say, they didn't manage that, and the game finished at about 6.15, having started at 10.30. It was well attended, with just a few gaps in the more expensive seats. The huge temporary stand in which Keith and Carol had £40 seats was full. Sadly I didn't take a picture of it - it's high to the left of the following image.
Here's a panoramic shot taken from our seats.
Thanks go to Richard for thinking of me when 'Poor Simon' dropped out at the last minute - it was a great day out.