View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Tuesday 3rd September, Another Curry Walk

An email from the Long Suffering Rick gently hinted that a Curry Walk was overdue. I fired off emails to those well known Curry Walk aficionados, Martin & Alan. Alan was predictably enthusiastic, Martin was willing but the flesh it was weak – a particularly painful back problem meant he was virtually immobile. The decision was taken: we’d do the walk and eat Martin’s curry for him. Oh, and drink his beer at the end.

My old friend John had been cajoled into joining us. He’s not that old really, but he does enjoy a curry. And a walk. He’s quite partial to a few decent beers too.


Rick planned the route, it was his fault turn. A tram ride from Timperley whisked us up to our rendezvous point with Alan:  Prestwich on the north side of Manchester.


The Plan (Ho-ho!) was to follow the banks of the River Irwell into the centre of Manchester. To get to the river from our start point meant wandering down a short section of the busy A56 Chester to Broughton (North Yorkshire) road. You can often turn up some real gems if you keep your eyes open when walking through built-up areas, like the delightfully named ‘Railway & Naturalist’ pub:

P1020677 The Railway & Naturalist, Prestwich
 
Leaving the busy A56 to walk through Prestwich village we passed the old church of St. Mary the Virgin:
P1020679The building has been extended over the years You don’t need to look too carefully to spot some of the alterations. Alan knows more about it (and the pub opposite), he and Sheila used to live locally.
 
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After walking through the wooded graveyard we followed a very good path that took us through Prestwich Clough > Drinkwater Park and then the River Irwell:
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Rick doing a map check…..John McN checking the location of his marbles
 
P1020694 The River Irwell

Most people think that the course that rivers follow as they wend their merry way into busy city centres as being dreary at best. The route the River Irwell took was anything but – it was quite delightful.

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The path was very pleasant indeed although there were constant reminders of our close proximity to central Manchester:
P1020703  The Manchester skyline, the 550’ 47 storey Beetham Tower on the RHS

 
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Manchester City Council appear to have provided comfy seating on the route. Nice, eh?
 
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I’ve no idea what this is, perhaps a tribute to the area’s industrial past?
 
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I think this building may have some connection with the old trolley-bus system that was in use in Manchester until  1966.

British Trolleybuses - Manchester - geograph.org.uk - 559504.jpg
A Manchester Trolley-bus in 1966. Pic taken from Wikipedia.
The weirs of the river began to sound unnaturally loud….then I realised I was hearing the rumbling of stomachs. It was getting towards 2pm and we were hungry, hungry, hungry.
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Above: the view to Salford from the bridge below:
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I can’t imagine local councils forking out for such elaborate signage these days.
 
P1020724A sadder-looking River Irwell. The building behind the bridge is the old sorting office. So Alan says. And he knows about these things.
 
Our bee-line to the luxury of ‘This & That’ took us past Manchester Cathedral, a rather magnificent building that is undergoing some restoration work. Whilst this work is being carried out a temporary building has been constructed to serve the faithful:
P1020728 Manchester Cathedral with the Cathedral Pre-fab to the left.
 
P1020726No idea, but it goes to show that you should always look up when in a city centre. Not all the time though.
 
P1020729 Getting closer….The Urbis and The Printworks. I can almost smell the curry.
 
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Inside the Printworks
 
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Gotham City?
 
Moments later….well minutes later actually, (John McN and I found ourselves slightly lost) we entered the hallowed towers of ‘This & That’. No photos of our excellent meal, only the aftermath. We were too damned hungry to be messing with cameras.
 
I enjoyed rice with curried chicken, curried cabbage (wonderful!!), and dahl. All for £4.90.
P1020735 John McN and Alan, hunger satisfied.
 
The process of rehydration was carried out at the very excellent Ape & Apple where destructive quality control tests were carried out on some of Joe Holt’s finest ales. The ale passed all tests with flying colours. I wouldn’t have expected anything less…but it’s best to be sure.
 
It was great to see Sheila who joined us for a short time before John McN, Rick and I headed off to the tram and then home. She had lager, but she’s a lovely lady.
 
P1020736 Poor thing. Hot, sweet tea will help.

Alan reckoned we walked 13.3km, that’s around 8.3 miles in English. It was downhill. I know this ‘cos that’s the way that rivers flow.


A grand day out in excellent company. Oh, and we all thoroughly enjoyed Martin’s curry and beer. Thanks Martin, I’ll be down for a coffee in a bit.


You can read Alan’s report here, it has much nicer pics and a map.


More of my pics are here. No photos of the curries or the beer, we were too hungry and thirsty to be mithered.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Get yer kit off….!

….or put your hand in your pocket.

My mate Mike is dropping his drawers and risking freezing his wotsits off in a damned good cause – MIND.

http://assets5.tribesports.com/system/challenges/images/000/006/794/original/20111124140921-skinny-dip-swim.jpg

MIND’s mission is to “provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.”

The NHS regards the Mental Health Service as very much a poor relation, it’s a Cinderella service.

Fortunately the Mental Health professionals working in the NHS are just that, very professional. And devoted to their work. They get the urine extracted from them with abandon.

It’s a bloody shame that they get shat on from a great height when it comes to funding, staffing levels and so on. Oh, and the amount of paperwork that CPNs (Community Psychiatric Nurses – the ones at the sharp end) have to deal with is just disgraceful.

These dedicated folks are working their nuts off (the ones that have nuts) trying to care for the mental health of their sometimes suicidal patients….and then have hours of paperwork to complete – very often in their own, unpaid time. And they don’t get paid that much.

Believe me, I know these things.

You may think that I feel more than a little strongly about this. You would be quite right.

Soooooo…..At sunrise on Sunday 22nd September hundreds of people will take on a mass skinny dip at Druridge Bay in Northumberland. This event isn’t about looking good. It’s about taking a risk, celebrating our unique bodies, being close to nature, raising money for The National Trust and Mind, and maybe even breaking a world record!

Now I’m not particularly mithered about providing extra funding for the NT – I pay them enough in membership fees, but I’m keen to support MIND….although I draw the line at flashing my rude bits around in the North Sea.

So go and visit Mike’s blog and see what the daft bugger gets up to. If you feel you can, please donate a little….or a lot. And if you can, select ‘Gift Aid’, it doesn’t cost you anything more but it increases the amount the charity gets from your donation.

You can donate here.

The photo up top isn’t Mike and his mates by the way, it an image I found at http://assets5.tribesports.com

Sunday, 1 September 2013