Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 14 December 2019

Thursday 12 December 2019 - An Evening at the Cinnamon Club

It was with great pleasure that Sue and I accepted Paul and Jeanette's invitation to join them for a visit to the Cinnamon Club in Bowdon. We last visited this venue many years ago, so it was great to be back. The event was well attended - we discovered that it had been planned for the smaller 'upstairs' venue, but that had been double booked, so lots of free tickets had been issued in a (successful) effort to fill the large downstairs venue.
The California Bums, pictured above, got proceedings off to a jolly start, then Victor Brox performed with his guitar. He's a class act, having performed with many leading musicians.
After Victor had moved to the piano to sign off his stint, the headline act, pianist Dale Storr, came on, with his 'Sounds of New Orleans'. He's a wonderful pianist, performing pieces from several different genres, and bemoaning the reluctance of performers in different genres (eg jazz/blues) to get together in the UK, whereas in New Orleans they all fall in to a big melting pot of music.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening, and thanks to P&J for inviting us. We must go to the Cinnamon Club again soon.

Thursday 12 December 2019

Wednesday 11 December 2019 - A Visit to Bakewell

We did this walk a couple of years ago - here - and will be on the same paths again in a few days' time, so here are just a few pictures from my recce of the route in preparation for this year's Christmas walk and lunch that I organise.
I parked in Great Longstone and headed into the sun towards the Monsal Trail, looking back from the same point to a wintry outlook, with frost on the ground where the sun hadn't dissolved it.
Once on the Monsal Trail, another look back...

… and a view along the frosty trail.
There were quite a few runners and walkers enjoying the fine morning. I joined the runners and jogged along to the end of the trail at the bridge over Coombes Road.
A stroll through the remarkably dry fields saw me reach Bakewell, where the Lime Lounge café looked to be going strong - still a good meeting point for our forthcoming walk, which will start in Bakewell.
After a pleasant amble alongside the river, I headed up past the church to proceed along a series of field paths.
These field paths, plus a bit of tarmac past Dirtlow Farm, led to a good view down to Ashford in the Water, where we will assemble for victuals and a rendezvous with Andrew on Sunday.
From Ashford, it's a pleasant walk back up to Great Longstone, and the Crispin, where Joanne assured me that our Christmas lunch arrangements were satisfactorily in place.
Before returning home, I enjoyed a bowl of soup here, happy in the knowledge that we wouldn't get mis-placed on Sunday, nor would we go hungry.

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Monday 9 December 2019 - The Tame Valley Stompers at Eagley Jazz Club

We know that Christmas is imminent when we pop up to Bolton for the Jazz Club's annual bash. The Tame Valley Stompers always brighten the occasion, and tonight was no exception, with some classic trad jazz, with a Christmas slant, in front of a full house of diners, well fed by Percivals, the usual caterers.
I've written about the band before, notably here. Tonight I couldn't help noticing that Paul Broomhead's Christmas hat made it look, from the angle I was seated, as if he was sporting a lavish blonde wig.
Here they are at work.
And later, posing for the 'family album'.
It was good to see Reg at this event - his first outing since major surgery, and thanks go to all those who put such an effort into making this an enjoyable evening for everyone.

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Pyrenees HRP - 2004 - Day 51

Amelie-Les-Bains - lunchtime
Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
Day 51 - Tuesday 14 September 2004 - Stage 42

Postcard Summary
Gite in cloud to Amelie-Les-Bains
Foggy descent, mainly on Deserted Dirt Roads – 4.2 hours, 16 km, 100m ascent
The gite looked a bit like a prison, but we spent a pleasant evening in the restaurant next door with Vincent and Ann.  Vincent is a fiddler who busks in Paris.  We spent most of the morning in a cloud, then had a nice lunch in Amelie, a lazy afternoon and an extra walk up a gorge, and a very nice evening meal in Le Poivre Vert.

Diary Entry (by Martin)
Wake at 7.15 in our gîte dormitory and had a chatty breakfast with Vincent and Ann, our novice walking friends. Ann tells us about her job as a production manager in a lasagne and pasta making factory. She looks like a student.
It is still foggy outside. We have only seen this place in the fog, and it does look a little prison like. But it has served its purpose well and at 8.35 we stride off into the fog. We follow Joosten's descent route to Amelie - a few amendments to his description are needed as usual. Waterproofs go on and off. They are not really needed, but it's a bit damp walking through cloud from 1500 metres down to 400 metres.
Dirt roads all the way until the last few hundred metres through beech, etc woods. This is a nice path along a rocky south east crest. We've been on a ridge (or next to one) all morning, but the ten metre visibility hasn't revealed much other than the dirt roads we travel on, a few trees, four cars, two mushroom collectors - dressed like chefs - a fine collection that they proudly show to us - Cepes and Girolles and more, and a man just above Amelie.
The hedgerow came alive at times, with bright blue, yellow and white flowers (Mountain Lettuce, Golden Rod, Yarrow, Forget-me-nots, etc), shining out of the fog. The glistening, ripe, sweet blackberries were very difficult to pass by without stopping. The Heather (Ling) is still going strong. Sweet chestnuts are weighing trees down as they ripen, and small bat-like birds harvest the flies above. (They may have been bats?) Overall though, fungi have replaced the hedgerow plants in our line of view, autumn colours are well on the way, fungus covers some of the damp rocks, and we wind our way down a path of leaves.
Even when we get below the cloud, trees block our view of Amelie-les-Bains, but down below there are Aloe Vera plants and tropical looking trees. Tall grasses and vetches line the path into Amelie, where we soon find a café for lunch (12.45 arrival - salad and cheese baguette) before it starts to spot with rain. So rather than our planned camp in the sun, we go round the corner to Hotel Residence Jeanne d'Arc and nab a room with a sink and a bidet (all en-suites are taken!).
As we utilise the facilities the elements let loose and there is a big storm. Again we have avoided the worst of the weather. And so, after showering, washing, texting Kate, diary writing, etc, we set off to continue to enjoy our second wedding anniversary by seeking stamps for all the cards written since Luchon (!!) and tomorrow's lunch (as well of course as a suitable venue for tonight's feast).

Amelie graffiti

(Later.) Stamps found, cards to be posted after breakfast. Walk around town. Ice creams. Walk up Gorges de Mondony as far as we can from the town centre. (Thermes - this is a hot spring town.) Old concrete platforms are attached to the side of the gorge. It all has a rather worn look, but at least the place is busy. We choose Le Poivre Vert as our favoured eating place and book a table. Later, realise why lunchtime prices are higher: fewer evening customers - there must be day trips to Amelie - heaving at lunchtime, quiet in the evening (like Gavarnie). And so - nice meal - liver and bacon salad, steak and chips for Sue, chicken and chips for me, etc, etc. Very nice - then back across the road to our sparse room - bed by 10 pm. Nice rosé wine again here.
Stats and route (Viewranger):
16 km, 100 metres ascent, 4.2 hours

Monday 9 December 2019

Sunday 8 December 2019 - The 11th Tatton Yule Yomp

We've taken part in this very jolly event three times before - reports are here.
Today we joined the entry list of about 1500 runners, with a number of friends from Wythenshawe parkrun and elsewhere, travelling with Cary and picking up Charley en route to Knutsford.
The others got lost in the crowd, but I managed to stick with Jan, Paul, Laura and Sue at the start.
It looks from the following photo as if we were near the back, but we were actually not too far from the front, as we queued up to start.
The forecast had been for rain, otherwise I would have worn my Xmas tree outfit, which really isn't suitable for wet weather. Starting with Jan was great, as I know I can just about match his pace over 5 km. We started at 5 minute km pace, rather faster than in the past, and by the time we'd got into the third kilometre the field was spreading out and we'd passed most of the slower folk who'd hampered us by setting off slowly in front of us. Meanwhile Laura and Paul had both flown past me - Paul in a relentless and ultimately futile pursuit of his daughter, and Jan steadily moved to about 200 metres ahead of me.
This cross country course was wet and muddy - very slithery in places, but wearing the Salomon Speed Cross shoes alleviated a lot of the slitheryness. There was a ten metre knee deep water splash that saw off the benefit of our waterproof socks, which filled with water that then stayed within the socks!
Meanwhile, Cary and Charley were further behind, and Charley - a trained doctor - had her race ruined when someone fell and badly broke their ankle, clearly needing emergency medical treatment, not far from the start. By the time she got going again, the tail runner had passed and she was obliged to take a short cut to regain the main field of runners. Very disappointing for her.
I was going steadily and able to chat to a few people whilst slowly getting back to Jan, whose distinctive gait was a good target. I managed to pass him near the end, and I got this picture of him at the finish.
Sue came in just behind us, as did Alastair, who took the next picture.
Here's one I took, with Al in it.
The TDL events results system is very good, with a text message arriving immediately after the finish, showing one's time and providing a link to the results website.
Much to my amazement it seemed I had come first in my age category. By 8 minutes! Despite the muddy conditions, I managed  a time of 51.47 for the 10 km. They gave me a small trophy, the first jogging award I've ever got. They tried to tell me it was for 'running', but I know the runners out there (where were you?) would go much faster than that... 
Thanks to Laura for the next picture, with Mr Roberts, the boss of main sponsor Roberts Bakeries. (The 'goodie' bag contained, as usual a loaf of bread and various other bread related products that we can smell every time we go past the bakery on the A556 near Northwich.)
 And here's the proof! Click on the image to see it properly.
Laura's efforts to hold off her dad saw her finishing in 49.17, coming 12th out of 331 in her FOPEN class. Well done - she's a proper runner!
Paul took 49.33 and finished 4th out of 27 in the MV60 class.
Jan took 52.32 to come 21st out of 97 in his MV45 class.
Sue shrugged off a hip injury, taking 57.55 and coming 9th out of 116 in the FV50 class.
Cary took 1.02.08 and came 16th out of 27 in his MV60 class.
It was warm enough to mill around in the Youth Club hall for an hour or more at the end, socialising with many other people we knew who were at the event. It was great to see you all. All in all a brilliant event, and thanks must go to the huge number of volunteers involved in the organisation - it really is appreciated.
I now regret not wearing the tree outfit. It would have made for an amusing image going up to receive the MV70 award, as it wouldn't have slowed me down by as much as 8 minutes.

Sunday 8 December 2019

Saturday 7 December 2019 - Wythenshawe parkrun number 420

A routine Saturday morning on a dull day found 206 like minded folk running jogging or walking around the 5 km 'Flag and Sandcastle' course at Wythenshawe Park. It was muddy, but who cares, it'll be muddier tomorrow...
Some of us tried to brighten up the day - I'm joined by Jenn and Kate in this effort (above).
It was Alan (one of the Run Directors) who made up for the missing landmark 300 t-shirt by wearing both his 50 and his 250 to celebrate his 300th run.
Sue walked round in about 40 minutes, and others of us took it easy today, jogging round more slowly than usual and enjoying a chat, in the knowledge that our stamina would be tested by one or other of several cross country events that take place tomorrow.
Full results are here, processed efficiently by Run Director Charley whilst we enjoyed a coffee in the café.