Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 24 July 2021

Saturday 24 July 2021 - Wythenshawe parkrun #432

Hoorah, we are back! About 300 parkrunners assembled in a field at Wythenshawe Park to take part in one of the first parkruns to take place in England since 14 March 2020.

The finishing funnel was installed, and we spread ourselves around the field to listen, suitably socially distanced, to Andy's comprehensive briefing, and his explanation of a new three lap course due to a dinosaur event taking place in the area of the park that's supervised by Oliver Cromwell, where we usually start our run.

Many of us jogged around the course at a modest pace, chatting briefly to our friends, including those who lapped us on the wide, grassy course.

After finishing, I caught up with Martha, Tail Walker today, and committed volunteer Sam who sounded delighted to be able to return to his Saturday morning work experience job, both of them happy to be supervised by Alan.

This will be the last image of Matteo for some time, as he is due imminently to move to near Rimini to work in the family joinery business. Good luck, Matteo.

Tearoom drinks were duly sourced and consumed. Most attendees had gone home before I took the next two 'regulars' pictures.

Andy, Tristan and and Alan, ably supervised by Kate, then performed their magic and were able to publish the results before 11:30. A brilliant effort - well done to them in successfully setting up the new systems required due to the Covid pandemic. Thanks also to the many volunteers who also made it all possible.

Here's our route - basically three laps around the perimeter of the playing fields. A bit boring, but there was plenty of room for everyone and it was simply great to be back after so many months of Lockdown.

The full results are here.

Click on any of the pictures for a better version/slideshow.

Friday 23 July 2021

Thursday 22 July 2021 - Sizzling in South Manchester

With Mike and Sarah and Isabella having headed off to the marginally cooler east coast, my main duty today involved the well-being of Millie. She wasn't all that hungry, but had found a cooler spot under the hedge.

Later, Sue and I pedaled along to Wythenshawe Park to take part in the fourth 'Sizzler' of the summer 5km race season.

A guest announcer gave a speech in honour of Ron Hill, legendary marathon runner, who died recently. There followed a minute's silence. All very respectful, on the day before the 2020 olympics start in Tokyo.

It was hot, but not as humid as on 25 July 2019, when we dripped copiously all around the course.

After being beaten to the tape by Sue last week, I managed my quickest time since March 2020, and I was in position to picture her finishing nine seconds ahead of Olympic marathon veteran, Jeff Norman.

Ok, Jeff is over 20 years older than Sue, and he took the 'over 75' award, as well as lining up with a selection of local former olympians as Fechin awarded the prizes, which always seem to go to the same people in each age category.

Here's Fechin's list of  those olympians intending to be present, and by the time I took the picture of them my camera lens had misted up in anticipation of an imminent thunderstorm!

Jeff Norman (Montreal 1976 Marathon), Susan Crehan (Seoul 1988 Marathon). Ann Williams (Barcelona 1992 1,500m). Stuart Stokes (London 2012 Steeplechase), Rebekah Wilson (Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 Bobsleigh), Kelly Massey (Rio De Janeiro 2016 4 x400m) and Kevin Mc Kay (Barcelona 1992 & Atlanta 1996 1500m). Kevin and Stuart will run it and so will Darryl Taylor, whose daughter Georgia Taylor-Brown, is a top British Triathlete in Tokyo. 

Just for the record, here's how Sue and I got on, out of a field of 382 finishers (click on the image to see it properly).

Finally, thanks to Laura, who, as instructed by her dad, turned up at the finish with a gallon of water for us that was most refreshing.

Thursday 22 July 2021

June 2021 - Some Highland Flowers

Dwarf Cornel

We photographed a few flowers during our recent holiday in Braemar. Some were identified with the aid of an excellent book - 'Wild Flowers of the North Highlands of Scotland', by Ken Butler and Ken Crossan. Whilst we weren't in the 'North Highlands' many of the plants in the book are distributed over areas that extend further south.

Our pictures, especially mine, are of variable quality, but I've enjoyed composing this flowery interlude. Please let me know if you spot an incorrect caption, and remember, you can view the images as a slideshow by clicking on one of them if you are using a PC.

  Alpine Bistort

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Chickweed Wintergreen


Cloudberry, after the petals have blown away

Common Butterwort

Common Cow-wheat

Common Rockrose



Cross-leaved Heath



Hares-tail Cottongrass

Heath Bedstraw

Orchid, Heath spotted?

Lady's Mantle


Marsh Marigold

Common Milkwort

Moss Campion

Mountain Pansy

Mountain Everlasting

Starry Saxifrage

Cultivated Strawberry




Wild Thyme

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Pared y Cefn hir

Here's a picture from our Porthmadog trip. Pared y Cefn hir looks like quite a dramatic hill from this viewpoint above Tyddyn mawr, but it's only about 150 mtres higher than where the photo was taken.

The hill tops out at below the 400 metre contour, and is easily climbed from nearby Llynau Cregennen. It has a Fort on its summit ridge.

We must go up it sometime.

[Meanwhile, we hope Dot is ok as her phone was constantly engaged tonight; she was probably sitting on it.]

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Monday 19 July 2021 - A Busy Day

Back to Monday morning bike rides!

Today I pedalled off to Marsland Bridge to meet Cary for a ride that I've done before,* albeit by slightly different routes.

* 22 October 2018, 29 October 20181 July 2019.

We paused at the aqueduct in Eccles, where the Bridgewater Canal crosses the Manchester Ship Canal.
Above: Looking back

Structure by the aqueduct



We continued along the excellent surface of the canal towpath, all the way to Pennington Flash, where we stopped for a good long break.

10 km further on (after a road section) we reached the beauty spot that is the 'Mucky Mountains Nature Reserve'.

This was Cary's longest ride to date on his new 'gravel bike'. He was also trying out his Ortlieb panniers. I think it was all a success.

Meanwhile, Sue and Jenny were 'wild swimming' at a secret venue in the Peak District, having failed in a bid to book the outdoor pool in Hathersage.

Cary and I noticed several families of swans. One with six cygnets, another with seven cygnets, and this pair in the Sankey valley appeared to have ten youngsters.

By the time we'd reached the Trans Pennine Trail and passed through Warrington to the disused railway line at Thelwall, Cary's engine was misfiring slightly, but his bike was fine.

I got home sometime after 3pm, then in order to achieve my aim of a 5km walk or run every day, I enjoyed a (not)parkrun, on this occasion a walk. The greenery beside the Bridgewater Canal in Timperley is very lush at present.

Sue returned from her wild swim and visit to a National Trust garden at Biddulph, smoked mackerel salad was eaten, then we went to Eagley Jazz Club in Bolton for its first event since the beginning of 2020.

John Hallam and the Tom Kincaid Trio - excellent - that's two live gigs in the last two days, after 16 months of nothing. 60 people attended. We felt safe from Covid.