Thursday, 29 December 2016

A mini blog for Christmas..........Dec 29th
    For about 35 years my wife has catered at Christmas for an assortment of mothers, mothers in law, aunts, aunts friends, brothers, our girls and me. (Although I have always helped with the washing up.)
This year, now that we are getting old, we have been invited to spend Christmas at daughter Lucy's family home in Cheadle Hulme which is possibly in Cheshire but is definitely south Manchester.
On Christmas Eve I played football with my grandson and his dad on a local, very muddy field. My jeans were well coated and being me I had not taken any others so I was dispatched, wearing a pair of tracky b's, to the local retail park, with help, or they would have been wrong, to buy another pair.
 Christmas day started as it normally does with small children, opening a stocking and feverishly tearing paper from presents, the most popular being a thing called fungus mungus which reminded me in a roundabout way of the film Soylent Green.
Christmas dinner was a great family affair, Ken and Yvonne, (Mark's parents), wife Kathleen, daughter Kate, daughter Lucy, son in law Mark, Alex the grandchild and me.
                                  Some of us tucking in. Some of us had traditional turkey, the vegetarians had an amazing looking home made vegetable pie and for sweet we had a fine Christmas pud, or apple crumble.
                                      Making a gingerbread house
                                       And ginger bread letters
We had dined quite late in the day, so the rest of the evening was spent playing fun games like "Who am I?"
On Boxing Day it was agreed that we would take advantage of the bright weather and visit Lyme Park, the ancestral home and hunting area of the Legh family who seem to have run the place from the conquest until 1946 when it was handed over to the National Trust.
            No blog without a car park. This is at Lyme Park, the largest house in Cheshire and very popular too for family walks.
We strode out manfully in the wind, walking across moors and through woodland. Fascinating views across distant Manchester and its airport, the Derbyshire Peak District National Park.
                   S W M B O boots up
                  Lyme Park House, the largest house in Cheshire
                       A hunting lodge, apparently
                    Thumbs up, we are nearly back at the cars.
A fairly ordinary looking gate but look closely at the blue disc.
One for the yet to be published book on gate fastenings of the north of England.
The following day we indulged in an even more interesting walk. As a small child I was brought up near the Leeds Liverpool canal, from being five to twenty I lived near the Lancaster Canal which, before it was cut by the M6 motorway, ran from Preston to Kendal. Canals and their banks,especially out in the country, were wonderful playgrounds and, living in the north east of England, I actually miss them. Good for walking, fishing, canoeing and throwing stones by children, nowadays canals seem to be used solely by boat owners and holiday makers. Today's stroll was along the banks of the Macclesfield canal, it had nearly everything, a tow path, bridges and pubs. (But not one of those clever bridges designed so that the horse could cross from one side to the other without the tow rope being removed.                                                                                                                                     

                   The Miners Arms, beer, food and coffee for the drivers.

                          Views on the Macclesfield Canal. Memories! ( I await comment from anonymous)

And on the 28th of December we walked to and round Bramhall Park, another ancient home and now a setting for weddings and functions. Also a popular place for a family Christmas stroll.
The ladies in my life, Lucy, Kathleen, Kate. The Tudor pile behind is Bramhall Hall where Lucy got married.
All short walks and all very enjoyable but not weight reducing, I managed to put on 5 pounds but that will go with a return to gadgie walks. Happy New Year to all.