My 5 km times have slowed drastically this week to just inside 30 minutes. Today's 28.00 was my best time since last Saturday. The exercise is valuable though.
Take care and stay (at home) safe.
The Great Outdoors magazine has a monthly back page of themed ‘Readers’ Photos’. The theme for the February 2019 issue was ‘Winter’. I rather ‘tongue in cheek’ ily sent in a couple of images of the Bridgewater Canal in winter. Hardly up to the standard of the image we used for this year’s electronic Christmas cards, but hey!
The magazine eschewed the image of a cyclist on the canal, but it did print the picture taken above, of Sue out for a stroll on 7 January 2010.
I’m not expecting any photographic assignments, but it is nice to be in print.
Back to running. Last week’s Sunday morning trip to the running track at Wythenshawe Park with J and J wasn’t entirely successful as neither child wanted to do the 2 km run, and I finished up going for a jog with Sarah.
However, that trip did stimulate me into getting the Great Run Local Tag ID, which arrived yesterday. So I popped down this morning and jogged around the 5 km course – a different course from the Saturday parkrun course, with fewer people. The picture below was taken just as the runners were about to set off. At the end of the run the Tag ID wristband is tapped against the start/finisher’s mobile phone, at which point this person, who I’d never met before, said “Well done Martin, 24.11". The name and time must come up on his screen.
Although they didn’t run last week, J and J were sufficiently enthused to go to Burnley this morning with their mum and take part in a junior parkrun 2 km event. Their mum had sorted out bar codes and this time the children joined in the fun. Neither had run as far as 2 km before. Jacob managed it in 12.35, and Jess in 15.00 – both brilliant performances. Here they are before the run.
I’m a proud granddad – today’s effort more than makes up for their reluctance to run last week. Well done to their mum as well.
We are so lucky to live only a couple of minutes away from the Bridgewater Canal, where this year’s autumn colours are lovely.
These two pictures were snapped yesterday morning when I popped out for a short bike ride after a bit of rain.
The top picture is from where the ginnel at the end of our road emerges onto the towpath. A few weeks ago the hedge was rampant with blackberries.
The snap below was taken beyond the rowing club, next to the cemetery, in sight of Marsland Bridge in Brooklands.
The view changes from day to day, but even in poor weather my almost daily visits are one of life’s pleasures. There’s often a heron beside the towpath, and several grey wagtails enjoy their homes near the bridges. I haven’t seen Mandy the Mandarin for a while, nor a cormorant; and whilst there aren’t many moorhens, there are plenty of mallards, Canada geese, mute swans and black-headed gulls for the push chair brigade to feed and admire. Meanwhile the hedgerows can be laden with tits and sparrows and other ‘garden birds’, with a flock of goldfinches adding a bit of colour from time to time. I was pleased to see a thrush at the site of the top picture: we don’t see so many of them, although blackbirds are abundant.
It’s nearly a week since we returned from ‘Summer in the Alps’.
The time has flown past. There were many emails to consider, and a bit of catching up with people – still not completed. Gibson was having trouble with image sizing for mobile postings to his blog. I think he has sorted it out now, but here’s the screen I find useful for attaching images at 10% of their original size.
On Sunday, whilst I entertained John Clark (see previous posting), Sue shot off to the Manifold Valley for a walk with old friends. It rained. She took two pictures. Both of them were of her friends.
On Monday a bike ride took me to Stretford, then past my old house in Chorltonville (looking very smart), and around Chorlton Water Park. The south bank of the Mersey saw me pausing to watch the swans and mallards whilst hoping for a fleeting glimpse of the Kingfishers that live near here. What I really wanted was a picture of a Metrolink tram on the bridge in the intermittent sunlight. I gave up after being momentarily distracted and missing not one but two trams on the bridge. Next time perhaps.
A plan to return home via the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) was foiled by a path closure sign, with no help regarding a diversion route, so I did a there and back along the good trail to Urmston, and returned home via the canal towpath. A good 28 km ride, keeping me out of Sue’s way – she wasn’t working today, and followed by a visit to Eagley Jazz Club where John Hallam accompanied the Tom Kincaid Trio. Excellent.
Tuesday saw me taking the Skoda to Stockport to see to its water leak. I took the opportunity to continue into Manchester. My Rohan trousers had a faulty pocket zip; they are obviously not the first as the young lady who served me magically had the zip working before I’d managed to hand the garment over properly. Amazing!
A trip to Castlefield failed to source a ‘Source’ bottle for Sue, but did serve as a reminder of Manchester’s long history. I wonder what it was like when the Romans were here. (Timperley didn’t exist in those days – it was first recorded as a settlement in around the 6th or 7th centuries.)
Wednesday had me picking up the car, duly repaired FOC, and fresh with a software upgrade. “There must have been a problem in order for them to do an upgrade” I was told. They agreed that a loose hose that was the source of the leak may have been caused by the efforts made by the engine to escape to freedom rather than endure the ‘Stop/Start’ feature.
I tried a bike ride in the opposite direction in an effort to get to the bottom of the closed TPT. That involves cycling along the towpath through Altrincham, leaving the towpath for the TPT at Seamons Moss Bridge. I was pleased to see the work on the restoration of the bridge complete, and appropriate traffic calming bollards installed.
Further on, the sweet smell of Himalayan Balsam mingled with the less attractive aroma of horse droppings, and whilst the leaves are only just starting to turn, the jay infested woodland by Carrington Moss has a distinctly autumn feel (though not temperature wise). Elsewhere, the blackberries that were so prolific in August have all but gone, and the nettles have started to die back. It’s still pretty dry though.
From this west to east direction, the TPT closure was signed, and there was work going on that clearly was blocking the path. There was an easy diversion that I hadn’t spotted on Monday. It’s a shame that this sign hadn’t also been placed at the eastern end of the closure. The route I take is normally 18 km; the path closure added 2 km to that today. I got a good soaking on the 5 km back along the towpath from Stretford (see top picture). Perhaps it won’t seem so dry next time I go out.
In between times the garden has needed attention, having apparently risen from the dead whilst we were away, and I finished Raymond Chandler’s ‘The Long Good-bye’ – a thoroughly enjoyable read despite a predictable ending.
That leads me to my next ‘book’ – my father’s diary that he kept from his retirement in May 1983, at the age of 60, to the end of his days in 1990. It’s a fascinating read that starts with all the effort needed to sort out the new house when he and Dot retired from Lincoln to live nearer most of their family in Staffordshire. I know that later it will become a difficult read as dad had to deal with a terminal illness, but in that relatively short period he did achieve a lot, including family biographies and even a novel, for which sadly he couldn’t find a publisher.
Dad’s diary is a lot different to this one, being a daily record of his activities and thoughts. It would be interesting to have his thoughts on Brexit. I wonder whether it would have depressed him as much as it depresses us.