Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 28 December 2019

Saturday 28 December 2019 - Wythenshawe parkrun Number 422

Back to 'normal' today - no outfits to slow us down, and a clear route to the first chicane-less corner, so no excuse for slow times. Unless you were a Barber - Paul "hangover", Laura "stitch", and Jeanette "my collar bone is broken"; ok, we'll let you off, Jeanette!
Oliver was back to his job of interviewing the ever constant flow of first timers with his usual alacrity, then Run Director Alan spent a good few minutes explaining the course (Flag and Sandcastle backwards again), before the usual announcements, with a landmark performer having forgotten to bring cake, so we would have to do with last week's leftovers!
On the course, life was pretty uneventful, with several people passing me as I slowed down in the last 2 km, and Andrew outsprinting his dad to the finish.
Cary slowed dramatically towards the finish, blaming 'Stopwatch Bingo' for his noticeable lack of effort!
Apparently 'Stopwatch Bingo' is a nerdy sort of 'collectors' thing - it's explained here:
"The idea is simple, every time you finish a parkrun, you discard the “minutes” bit of your finishing time and use the “seconds” to complete a virtual bingo card, that contains sixty numbers from 00 to 59."
Apparently Cary needs just 3 more times to complete his card, so he was deliberately slowing down in an effort to get one of them.

Friday 27 December 2019

Friday 27 December 2019 - Tally Ho goes to Lymm

It was JJ's idea. I was to help him lay a sawdust trail for Tally Ho's 'Turkey Trot' - a name that really needs no further explanation. We were joined by Paul at 9 o'clock outside Ye Olde Nunber 3, by the Bridgewater Canal on the road to Lymm.
Bags of sawdust were duly prepared.
After setting off in completely the wrong direction (I know that feeling, JJ) we eventually managed to find the correct stile, opposite the pub, where we, the hares, commenced the activity of laying little mounds of sawdust along a 9 mile route.
The deep grass would prove difficult for the hounds, who would leave at 10.30 to 11.30, depending on speed, fitness, hangovers, etc, and follow the course laid by the hares.
JJ's route passed several pubs, but it's inappropriate for the hares to visit these.
Our rather convoluted route, designed perhaps so that any 'rescue' doesn't involve too much traveling, explored many muddy fields before zooming through the grounds of Dunham Massey, venturing briefly onto a golf course, and hitting the canal towpath.
We left the towpath for a while and took an alternative route to Agden Bridge, along which JJ spotted this tractor.
There were lots of junctions, each one needing careful consideration. By now, Paul had caught up with us after he had fallen behind. We thought that was because of his bad knee, but apparently he had got trapped by a herd of horses and had to improvise a route around them. I wonder how the hounds got on later...
Nearing Agden Bridge, a deep stream had to be crossed, the bridge across it having been moved to dry land for some reason. We managed to jump across.
A final section of 'there and back' canalside paths brought us neatly back to the pub, where dry footwear was donned and a pleasant lunchtime session with about 15 hounds and hangers on was enjoyed by all.
Here's our 15 km route. (Click to enlarge.)
Thanks go to JJ for inviting me along. This was a great way to spend a sunny (ish) winter's morning in Cheshire.
You can learn more about the Cheshire Tally-Ho Hare and Hounds traditional running club, founded in 1872, here.

Thursday 26 December 2019

Wednesday 25 December 2019 - Christmas Day parkrun at Wilmslow

Parkrun on Christmas morning has become a 'habit', if not a tradition. We went to Wilmslow last year, and to South Manchester (Platt Fields) the previous year.
This time Wilmslow got the vote again. It proved to be a popular venue. 520 runners and walkers turned up, which broke their attendance record by over 150 participants.
A chicane near the start made for a considerable delay, so the first kilometre took those of us in the middle of the pack an extra minute to get through, but today at least I wasn't handicapped by the soggy legs of a tree costume, even though more time was lost on the course's four hills, and the overall congestion didn't help. Anyway, it's not a race, and everyone was in a very jolly mood.
Before we started, I took the picture shown above, of our very good friends and running addicts, the Barbers.
Afterwards I handed the camera to a random bystander who took a couple of pictures, first missing Jeanette and Greg, then missing most of our feet.
Wilmslow's hospitality was impeccable, with lots of cake, and yes, that is a champagne glass I'm holding. Full results are here, with Laura in her now customary position just ahead of her dad but well behind Greg. There were numerous other 'Wythenshawe tourists', but with 500 people milling around at the finish we only managed to recruit Diana, Richard and Joe to join us and the Barbers for the Wythenshawe team photo.
Then Sue and I zoomed to Altrincham where Sue was ringing church bells, then home to cook dinner for Richard and Diana, Mike and Sarah, and Bob and Wendy. A good time was had by all, but no cameras were turned on. I'll remember the meal for having started at 2 pm, and finally getting up from the table at 8.15, on the grounds that Mike and Sarah had to go home to feed their cat!
Thanks everyone for your excellent company both at the parkrun and in Timperley.

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Merry Christmas Everyone

With Very Best Wishes from Both of Us

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Saturday 21 December 2019 - Wythenshawe parkrun number 421

It's the time of year when many people dress up for their 5 km parkrun pre Christmas ritual.
Cary's was a particularly good disguise!
Alan's team was also preparing for action.
We ran the Flag and Sandcastle course 'backwards'. I think Dan (Run Director for the day) meant 'in reverse'. Here we are at the start.
Sue posed with two reprobates - Running Ron, and Andy 'No Show', who by dint of some unexpected miracle had actually turned up.
The numbers swelled as it got closer to nine o' clock.

Oliver looked on as the Cordingly Dynasty assembled en masse.
Then we were off, soon into the muddy grass of the 'flag' area, then back up the start/finish straight.
The legs of my costume were by now sodden and dragging around the ankles. Hard work! And more mud to come...
My camera had been given to Rowena, who took this series of photos, hence the regular appearance of her heavily disguised father... Thanks Rowena, you did well.
After the first lap, even 'slow Alastair' came steaming past me!
I think Cary blamed the hot beard for his slow time.
I struggled to the finish in 25.36, feeling as if my ankles had weights attached to them. Position 82. (Full results are here.)
Cheeky Andrew flew past Sue in the finishing straight. 
A quick post run photo, then it was off to the café for coffee and scones.
Well, that was such a jolly occasion that we repeated it on Sunday at the Great Run Local event in Wythenshawe Park. Here's a team of worthies - Winston Runners I presume.

There was no Rowena to take photos today...

The legs were as much of a drag as ever, but I did manage to shave two seconds of the previous day's time, with Sue just behind, though Richard Bacon (78) finished well ahead of us today.
Two lovely events. Very enjoyable, as was the subsequent soak in the bath - for both bodies and my costume.

Monday 23 December 2019

Friday 20 December 2019 - Shutlingsloe at Night (again)

This was our annual pre Christmas pilgrimage from Trentabank Car Park to the summit of Shutlingsloe and back, featuring numerous people and some terrible photography.
This year Sue and I managed to arrive in plenty of time to greet the other 14 folk who joined us on this jolly jaunt, but I had forgotten to bring a torch, and Sue's torch failed. There was no moon, so we couldn't see much! I blame that for some of the awful pictures, all of which were taken during our half hour break on the summit and are shown below.
It was a clear, starlit night, with good views over Greater Manchester.
The relatively warm night meant that the usual ice on the rocks leading to the top was absent, so it was an easier walk, all 5 km of it, than usual.
On the summit, once the spiced rum, mulled wine, tea, coffee, brownies, stollen bites and other goodies had been consumed, a short carol concert was held, finishing with a rather flaky rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas. I suspect the standard of the singing may match that of these photos, so it's perhaps just as well that (to the best of my knowledge) no recording was made.
We gradually made our way back down to Trentabank from the cool summit, whence a short drive found most of us rehydrating in the Leather's Smithy outside Langley. We were there for some time.
Thanks for coming, everyone - this walk seems to attract a few people rarely seen on my walks, but who are SWOG regulars, parkrunners, or in Toby's case a rarely seen nephew who turns up here without fail.
Any better pictures that may have been taken would be very welcome. Other ascents of Shutlingsloe, including previous 'night' visits, are recorded here.