Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Thursday 12 January 2023

Wednesday 11 January 2023 - East Lancs LDWA 'In My Own Backyard' with Norman Thomas

This was Norman's return to the fray after a few setbacks, and 23 people turned up for a walk in his own backyard.  Norman addressed the masses then disappeared off to a clinic, leaving June with route instructions. How the LDWA (Long Distance Walkers Association) has changed. Not long ago the 'Plodder' walkslike this one were frowned upon as not being appropriate for 'long distance walkers'. Norman was one who turned up and tried to speed up/extend the walks. Now in his mid 80's and having endured some medical conditions, I think he now realises the benefit of short walks in maintaining the friendship and camaraderie of older members of the club.

JJ and I provided the Timperley contingent on a day that was supposed to be rainy, but wasn't until we'd finished.

June ably led the group up past Pilkington quarry. Apparently there is a much better route, but Norman had declared it too dangerously steep!

JJ and I soon became back markers. Even in their 80's some of these walkers are 'pretty damn quick'.

By the time we reached Holden's Plantation, Norman had reappeared, batteries suitably recharged or replaced.

So we all strode off to Two Lads, two giant cairns near the summit of Winter Hill.

Here, at our high point by one of the cairns, 'elevenses' was declared despite 'a bit of wind'. Well, Norman is usually full of wind! Some spare cupcakes from Sue's 250th parkrun found good homes and lightened my load.

Down the hill we went. Norman likes to provide informative interludes, this time advocating psa blood tests for picking up prostate cancer. His friend had discovered he had the cancer by doing just that.

A little further on, and Norman was up again, telling us about Rockhaven Castle, a mansion built by a wealthy recluse who suffered from elephantiasis.

Here's what the mansion looked like. Norman thought the castle had been identified by the Germans as the marker for bombing a nearby factory. The castle was demolished, then the Germans couldn't find their 'marker', they went elsewhere to drop their bombs and the factory survived intact. That's the story, anyway.

Here's the path through what was once the front garden of the castle, in Wilderswood.

There's an extensive view - rather dull today.

Back in Horwich, Norman on his pedestal again. This time beside a fairly new build of a small estate of houses where quarrymen's homes had previously stood. The new build had to comply with some stringent requirements to maintain original features of the old houses, such as small windows.

Luckily for him, the stocks were locked!

Back at the Rockhaven that is now Norman and Betty's home, there's a communal room where our entire party could enjoy tea and pasties whilst winding down from their energetic walk. Norman made another speech, his batteries were still on full power!

Here's our route, 11km in a well timed 3 hours. On paths with which I wasn't familiar as they were to the south east of our usual Rivington routes.

Thanks Norman, for organising an excellent outing.

Tuesday 10 January 2023

Monday = Isabella Day (36)

After a couple of weeks of 'holiday', it was good to have Isabella for the day. We found her at home in Didsbury, playing with her ever expanding railway network. (Well, Sue was playing, Isabella was watching.)

After the journey to Timperley, and a snack, it was soon time to head for the tram to Altrincham.

'Little World for Scholars' was the venue. We'd been before, and - as before - we spent a happy hour, enjoying a selection of activities.

'Bear' kept the resident lamb and chicken company for a while.

The tram ride back to Timperley overshot its destination, so that the boss could admire 'The Giant Ice Cream of Brooklands'.

Then, after lunch and a nap, the Timperley train set came out. Not as extensive as its Didsbury counterpart, but good fun nonetheless, with many inventions of railway disaster and success scenarios.

Happy New Year, Isabella.

Monday 9 January 2023

Saturday 7 January 2023 - Wythenshawe parkrun #505 - Sue's 250th parkrun

There was a turnout of 207 for Sue's 250th parkrun. Not bad considering the dreadful weather. Ron and Andy posed alongside cool dude Jan, and Cary displayed his frozen knees before the start. Sue and I drove rather than cycled, and I was 'three layered up' in full waterproofs. Sue wasn't quite so encumbered, though that's not my excuse for finishing over three minutes behind her. That's normal these days. 

Richard, run director for the day, didn't waste any time at the start, but he did broadcast a few 'landmark' runs, to suitably loud applause.

The normally firm(ish) ground around Oliver Cromwell's statue - reached after a couple of hundred metres, was today what might be described as 'soft going'. So soft that there was no way of avoiding ankle deep marshland thanks to the flooded grass. Luckily this yucky loop is only visited once, and the finishing sraight on which Sue is pictured (thanks Jan) is on puddley tarmac.

Very few of us ventured into the tea room afterwards, most people sensibly heading off to their hot baths. But we did attempt to devour some of Sue's landmark run cakes, and we sorted the 207 soggy bar code tokens. Many napkins were needed to dry them, and even then some of the little plastic tokens stubbornly refused to part company with each other. (They arrived after the next two photos were taken.)

Outside, the benches were deserted.

To enter the tea room you had to splash through a deep puddle. It's not surpring that very few people could be bothered!

So that was Sue's 250th. Full results are here.

While I'm at it - I went down to Wythenshawe again on Sunday for the Community Run and to dispose of some of Sue's excess cake from the day before. It wasn't quite as wet as Saturday, so 69 of us lined up without being too desperate to get going, as we had been the previous day. Also this course is easier, with just one water splash that has to be negotiated twice.

Here I am, all alone on the second lap. Thanks to the marshal who took this picture.

Meanwhile, and this is for Conrad's benefit, Sue was engrossed in her jigsaw.

A few hours later, and the 759 piece puzzle was finished and she was trying to crack the 'escape room' type of clues within the picture. All a bit too hard for me.