Friday, 28 December 2012

Running (Strictly Style!) - 27th December

Sir Bruce: Although this is a last run of 2012, it's also the 1st of the new season.
Anton will be performing the post–festive jog along the muddy canal towpath, a 55 minute, 7km slowstep.

Sir Bruce: Here he is in training!
Finishing a very wet Great North Run – in my road running era – in 1980?
Sir Bruce: Well done indeed – marvellous to see such enthusiasm in the rain! Over to you Len.

Len: I like to see the contestants having a go – and you certainly did that for me.
Yes, it could have had more balance and flowed more but for a first run it was a solid beginning to the season. Well done son!
Bruno: Anton – you dark horse – going out at 3.30pm in the almost dark.
A slowstep of slithering simplicity safely shuffled. Go for it – you know you can do more!

Craig: Your steps were lumpy and stacato, you completely stopped at the benches
for a stretch and slipped several times. However, you showed more movement on the return. Not a complete disaster darling!

Darcy: Plenty of enthusiasm for such a difficult first dance. I would have liked to have seen  more poise in the upper body, work on your core will help.

Sir Bruce: Plenty of suggestions there – off you go.

Tess: Craig said 'your steps were lumpy and stacato'.

Me: I can agree to that – I was uncertain how it would go after the festive fun. The return section was better and I felt more at ease coming back. I can certainly improve.
Tess: The scores are in!

Craig – 5 ; Darcy – 6 ; Len – 7 ; Bruno – 7

Sir Bruce: Til next week then, keep running!!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Early Winter 2012 – Ice and Anticipation!

We've had one spell of cold weather, sufficient to ice the Marina pool over. With prolonged sub-zero temperatures, the marina turn off and drain the water supply pipes as these run under the pontoon and are therefore vulnerable. We topped up our tank (about 170 gallons) and have an electric fan heater we leave on frost protection – a benefit of being on mains hook-up in the Marina.

2cm thick ice

Boatman's Cabin fire lit

Having enjoyed this year's Carol Concert playing with Rode Hall Silver Band, we headed to Durham to stop with our Northern Woollies.

The occasion (apart from the exchange of the families' presents) was to enjoy our Grandson's nursery Nativity Play – held in the local church and excellent it was too.

The whole of the nursery group; children, parents, grandparents, helpers and friends walked through the driving rain to their warm and welcoming village hall for a cup of tea and Christmas bites.

And then a special Christmas visitor arrived and gave out a seasonal present to each Nursery child – being an educational establishment – FC brought a book (and chocolates)!

For us adults, we had the pleasure of sharing the excitement of the little ones, and memories re-kindled of past enjoyment at this great time.

So, in anticipation of the festive occasion, I wish you all a Happy Christmas, wherever you are and whatever you are doing!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Early Winter 2012 – Wintry Walking!

As 2012 comes to a close, there has been time to get some walking done. Sometimes by myself and others with the Ramblers.

On a blowy day in late November, I walked up from Sutton on the Macclesfield Forest 'Horseshoe'. The first climb is up Tegg's Nose and then having dropped down the east face, climbed steadily up through Macc Forest to Forest Chapel for lunch.

  Forest Chapel – originally from 1673 and rebuilt by the Victorians in 1834, in sandstone with Kerridge quarry roof slates.

The porch makes a great stop-over place for a bite to eat and a coffee – often in the company of other walkers!
My route then threaded back into the forest and climbed up to the top Standing Stone car park. On the road corner is the 'Walter Stone'.

This route then takes the ridge across to Shutlingsloe and back down through the forest, back to the car at Sutton. I reckon I covered about 11 miles (including the 2 miles from Sutton to the hills) and climbed about 1380 feet.

Looking up at the climb up to Shutlingsloe at 1660ft.

Having joined the Ramblers, I met up with them in Kerridge for a loop around Rainow on one of our cold and sunny days.

In Cheshire, you are never far away from canals – here we used the Macclesfield Canal to get the distance around Bollington.

Looking north at Bollington Wharf – our old mooring – with the impressive Adelphi Mill on the left. Cold and icy!

Just a little further on, the striking chimney of Clarence Mill with the ramblers ahead

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Early Winter – Out and About

Now we are back in the Marina, I have more easily followed my range of leisure activities!
The joys of retirement?!
As a member of the local Audlem Ramblers, we went down to the Wyre Forest. We came across the unexpected sight of a falconer's bird of prey caught by it's jessie's on a barbed-wire fence.
The guys cut the bird free

Chris holding the freed bird of prey – a peregrine?

As winter slowly arrives, there have been some great sunsets – a benefit of the open aspect of the Marina. Here is a view looking west across the pool.

Overwater Marina gets used as an easy launching location, on this occasion for the Land and Water contractors who have been working on some piling to tidy the pound below Lock 4 on the Audlem flight of locks.

Lifting off the boat sledge

Onto the lorry – now on it's way to the Montgomery Canal at Welshpool
There is easy (though muddy) access from the Marina, via Bridge 82, to the canal towpath.
Here I had the pleasure of catching the tug “Taurus” ticking along with a Gardner 2LW – heading for the Marina for a mooring.

The same day, I walked up to the Audlem Top Lock, where they are replacing the lock gates.
A new lock beam awaiting installation

Health and Safety fencing obscure the renovation work