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  • sgoff - Thursday 7 December 2017 14:38
    10th November 2017

    Huddersfield

    Present: Syd Bennett, Dave Burrows, Steve Carey, Dave Dalton, Andy Fildes, Steve Goff, Trevor Heywood, Robert Holmes, Peter Holmes, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, Alan Larsen, Keith Mayoh, Kevin McDonough, Mark Nutter, Noel O’Toole, Bob Rial, Dave Whittle, Mike Whittle, Mike Worthington


    Today’s tour of Huddersfield’s finest hostelries attracted a twenty strong assembly, testament indeed to this erstwhile Yorkshire textile town’s fabled drinking establishments. Initially, upon our arrival at Huddersfield’s station, the tea-drinking triumvirate was conspicuous by its absence. It had elected to participate in a short walk in the vicinity of Huddersfield prior to rejoining the main group later in the afternoon.

    Following a short walk from the station, we soon arrived at The Corner, this being the first of six licensed premises to be visited during the day. The remaining five being: Rat and Ratchet, The Grove Inn, The Slubbers Arms, The Magic Rock Tap and The Sportsman.

    The weather had begun with bright sunshine and blue skies but as we strolled along a section of canal between hostelries, rain showers made their presence felt. Prior, to the start of our stroll along the canal, Kevin Maximus decided that it would be an opportune moment to ask us to bend our ears and savour his dulcet tones emanating from his reprise of the famous Yorkshire ditty: “The Recalcitrant Cow” *:

    “In Huddersfield in Huddersfield

    There was a cow that wouldn't yield

    The reason that she wouldn't yield

    She didn't like her udders feeled”

    Excepting his questionable choice of musical key that he chose in which to sing his ‘Ode to Codgers’, it was generally on the whole, well received.

    Our grateful thanks to Alan for his production of an insightful ale trail.



    *Of unknown origin
  • sgoff - Saturday 11 November 2017 18:58
    Dear All

    Due to the Codgers London trip this months OCOT has been moved forward to the 10th of November 2017.

    This months trip is an ale trail taking in some of the best pubs in Huddersfield.

    The Grove, The Rat and Ratchet, The Corner Mallisons Brewery Tap, The Slubbers Arms, The Magic Rock Brewery Tap and The Sportsman's. There will be 2 to 3 miles walking on hard services, distance subject to weather. There is usually street food at The Magic Rock Brewery Tap.

    Travel Details. Day return £13:40 from Manchester Stations to Huddersfield.

    If wishing to travel from Manchester Victoria. I will be on this train, may I have a volunteer to lead the Victoria crew.

    Please meet at 10:40am in order to catch the 10:57 to Huddersfield arrive 11:42am.

    If wishing to travel from Manchester Piccadilly. Can I have a volunteer to lead the Piccadilly crew.

    Please meet at 10:40am in order to catch the 10:57am to Huddersfield arrive 11:26am.

    The return trains are

    Huddersfield 19:30 arrive Manchester Piccadilly 20:05, Manchester Oxford Road 20:09.
    Huddersfield 20:02 arrive Manchester Victoria 20:33.
    Huddersfield 20:11 arrive Manchester Piccadilly 20:42
    Huddersfield 20:30 arrive Manchester Piccadilly 21:06, Manchester Oxford Road 21:10.

    As always the above are the suggested return journey times there are other trains / buses that you might wish to travel home on.

    As always please buy a ticket that suits your own personal requirements.

    My mobile number is 07949550751 if you have any queries.

    Look forward to meeting you all on the day.

    Please confirm you attendance asap

    Cheers

    Alan

    Sent from my iPad
  • sgoff - Wednesday 18 October 2017 16:46
    O.C.O.T. Minutes

    13th October 2017

    Wilmslow

    Present: Dave Bates, Robert Brown, Steve Carey, Dave Dalton, John Farnell, Andy Fildes, Steve Goff, John Guest, Adi Hammond, Trevor Heywood, Robert Holmes, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, Colin Larsen, Kevin McDonough, Mark Nutter, Noel O’Toole, Bob Rial, Elsa Sawczuk, Steve Sawczuk, Neil,Shortland, Dave Whittle, Mike Worthington


    We had scarcely begun our Cheshire circular trek as we made our way from Wilmslow station when the heavens suddenly opened and left everybody completely unprepared and scrambling for their waterproof wear. Earlier, our Wilmslow station departure had been delayed for around fifteen to thirty minutes by the inexplicable absence of our leader for the day, Robert. He eventually arrived on the platform on the far side of the station, which is designated primarily for services to the airport, accompanied by Dave Bates. Immediately upon his arrival, he was already probably harbouring instant regrets for his late arrival when later, he knew full well it would be the devil’s own job to attempt to dislodge errant members from the next hostelry who may be inclined to overstay their welcome.

    It was because of unrelenting rain during the previous weeks that had led Robert to redesign the walk today to allow for saturated fields, which we would have had to endure had we persisted with the inclusion of the villages of Mobberley and Knutsford. Today’s route would lead us from Wilmslow and take us through The Carrs and include a walk between Morley Green and Knolls Green.

    We took the opportunity of an early afternoon break at the Bird In The Hand, located in Knoll Green - a Samuel Smith’s abode. The ambient outside temperature today was forecast at around 18C, which undoubtedly explained why sheens of perspiration appeared on our faces as we entered the premises to be greeted, inexplicably, by at least three roaring log fires that had been lit in each room. For those of us whose body physiologies were completely unable to endure the oppressive environment, we beat a hasty retreat to the seating area outside the premises. The remainder of us sought sanctuary from a raised level room where the heat was surprisingly apparently unable to convect itself. Shortly after those who had seated themselves in the raised room, they observed a long table along which twenty or so senior gentlemen were seated prompting comments from our group as to what the social occasion may have been for the seated group. We learned shortly afterwards that its raison d'être for the occasion was a gathering of work retirees.

    Prior to our visit to the Bird, we’d had a brief sandwich break. After around a fifteen to twenty minute interval, several members began to volubly level complaints towards the direction of the leadership regarding the brevity of the lunch break. It was, apparently, not an isolated incident. Over the preceding months, the lunch break duration has been evolving into something akin to a running sore. One member has been specifically affected by the issue and others have from time to time: in particular, those members who have developed a penchant for processed canned fish whereby the cans’ manufacturers have possibly allowed a design flaw to emerge in the cans’ ring pull release. It has been observed that the ring has, with alarming regularity, been liable to suddenly snap off the can without warning leaving the hungry diner in something of a quandary as to how then to penetrate the can’s fishy contents in the brief time allotted for the lunch break. Perhaps it is an issue that is worthy of further consideration in the more formal surroundings of the annual general meeting?

    Following time to allow for the consumption of two pints we left the sub tropical climate of the Bird In The Hand to continue our final leg of the walk along Moss Lane and Lindow Common before returning to Wilmslow town centre.

    Shortly after our arrival in Wilmslow, a schism immediately fractured the group into three parties: those electing to make their way to the station for the return journey to Manchester, those choosing the Coach and Four, a Hyde’s hostelry and the remainder choosing the Old Dancer, a craft beer establishment. Later, several members also paid a visit to the Brewhouse and Kitchen - a pub and microbrewery.

    Some members visited the local fish and chip shop, Jackson’s, to dine inside or take away, whilst others chose to eat in the hostelries.

    All members extended their sympathies to John Nelson on learning that he has recently been afflicted by a bout of gout. The latest news is that he’s making good progress towards his recovery.

    A big thank you was extended to Robert from the group for his sterling dedication to the production of today’s walk.
  • sgoff - Saturday 14 October 2017 17:54
    Hi Dave,Please can you forward to codgers,thank you.

    Hi Everybody,

    Please find revised details for the October walk( the original walk from Knutsford to Wilmslow has been cancelled due to flooded fields & overgrown paths).

    The October walk will take place on Friday 13th October 2017- it will be a circular 8 miler from wilmslow via the Carrs, Morley Green to Knolls Green with a stop at the Bird in Hand before returning via Moss Lane & Lindow Common to Wilmslow where we will spend the evening.

    Please meet at Piccadilly at 10.25am to get the 10.46am train to Wilmslow arriving at 11.20am(I will join the train at East Didsbury). note there are lots of trains to Wilmslow going via Stockport if required.Just make sure you are at Wilmslow for 11.20am.

    There are lots of trains at regular intervals back to Manchester Piccadilly mainly via Stockport although there is an hourly train via the Airport if required.

    The return fare is £6.40p,although as usual it is recommended that each individual manages his/her own ticketing requirements, tailored to each individual's needs.

    Please confirm you attendance asap

    Cheers
    Robert
  • sgoff - Saturday 14 October 2017 17:51
    Hi Dave,Please can you forward to codgers,thank you.

    Hi Everybody,

    The October walk will take place on Friday 13th October 2017- It will be an easy 10 mile linear walk across attractive(& mostly flat) countryside from Knutsford to Mobberley Village then crosses the main Knutsford Road & meanders across fields through part of Great Warford then on via Lindow to Wilmslow where we spend the evening.

    Please meet at Piccadilly at 10.00am to get the 10.17am train going via Stockport(arr 10.26am depart 10.30am where I will board the train) to arrive at Knutsford at 11.01am.

    The return train will be from Wilmslow- there are lots of trains at regular intervals back to Manchester Piccadilly mainly via Stockport although there is an hourly train via the Airport if required.

    As we are using two different train lines the best ticket option is a Wayfarer ticket(adults £13 or concessionary £8) which covers both destinations,although as usual it is recommended that each individual manages his/her own ticketing requirements, tailored to each individual's needs.

    Please confirm your availability asap.

    Cheers
    Robert
  • sgoff - Monday 9 October 2017 19:13
    O.C.O.T. Minutes

    15th September 2017

    Preston

    Present: Robert Brown, Dave Dalton, Andy Fildes, Steve Goff, Adi Hammond, Robert Holmes, Kevin Jordan, Alan Larsen, Colin Larsen, Barry McGuinness, John Nelson, Noel O’Toole, Bob Rial, Tony Statham, Dave Whittle, Mike Whittle, Mike Worthington


    In contrast to some of the year’s earlier walks, the weather today was near perfect for our visit to Longridge, a few miles from Preston city centre.

    The early arrival members, including your correspondent, Alan and Mike, chose to stand upon the main ramp at Preston station awaiting the remainder of the group, due to arrive imminently from Manchester. We observed an abnormally heavy police presence as we waited. We were slightly taken aback when a female constable ventured towards us to inquire where the three wise monkeys were intending to visit that day which almost caused us to vent an audible sigh of relief that it wasn’t a charge of soliciting with intent!. Thankfully too, we were free of any illicit substances or lingering scents of any previous evening’s cannabis consumption. We responded to her friendly inquiry albeit with a due sense of unease and slight paranoia and duly began to converse with her, covering such subjects as her take on working for a modern day constabulary, the state of police pensions and her opinion on the Tories’ generous relaxation of public pay awards which included amongst others, the police service. Overall, it transpired that extant police service conditions of employment are not, unsurprisingly, what they once were.

    In due course, the remaining members arrived whereupon we then headed across Preston city centre at a brisk pace, invoked by our leader Alan, to the bus stop for the service to Longridge. Upon our arrival, we set a bearing which would take us towards Longridge Fell which then led us towards Jeffrey Hill. At this point, we were optimally positioned to absorb the stunning and breathtaking views of the Bleasdale Fells and, because of our good fortune regarding the weather conditions, we had an excellent view of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks: Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. We continued onwards by descending into the Ribble Valley along field paths and bridleways to return to our starting point in Longridge.

    During the afternoon, we called in the Corporation Arms and took the opportunity of seating ourselves in the beer garden to avail ourselves of the residual sunshine before fair weather cloud began to accumulate.

    During the evening in Longridge we visited Hoppy Days and the Tap and Vent. Some members availed themselves of pub cuisine whilst others opted for a visit to the local fish and chip shop. Following ample portions of fish, pies and chips, it was time to catch the return bus service to Preston. The chip shop visitors were ideally positioned with the bus stop being sited opposite the food takeaway shop.

    The return destination was the main bus station in Preston where we then made a beeline for The Guild Ale House. Certain members were unable to avail themselves of the final hostelry because of their transport circumstances.

    Once again, our gratitude was conveyed to Alan for another magnificent production.
  • sgoff - Monday 9 October 2017 19:11
    O.C.O.T. Minutes

    18th August 2017

    Burnley

    Present: Dave Bates, Syd Bennett, Robert Brown, David Burrows, Steve Carey, Kevin Clarke, Dave Dalton, Andy Fildes, Steve Goff, John Guest, Adi Hammond, Trevor Heywood, Robert Holmes, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, Dave Lamb, Alan Larsen, Barry McGuinness, Mike Melia, John Nelson, Noel O’Toole, Tony Statham, Dave Whittle, Mike Whittle, Mike Worthington


    A wet beginning to the day greeted the X43 Witchway contingent. The clouds appeared ominous as the bus returned to the A56 from Rawtenstall station and we feared the worst for what was about to greet us in terms of the weather. Rain was in the air as we disembarked to make our way to rendezvous with those travelling from Manchester Victoria on the 10:56 at Burnley (Manchester Road) station.

    Once we began our moderate nine miles walk, the weather slowly began to improve. Our primary objective today was to visit the Singing Ringing Tree, which is one of a group of four panopticon structures to be found in the county of Lancashire, the other three being: The Atom, Colourfields, and Haslingden Halo. The Singing Ringing Tree is a musical sculpture overlooking Burnley. It was designed by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu of Tonkin Liu, and constructed from pipes of galvanised (zinc coated) steel. The Singing Ringing Tree was launched by the Mayor of Burnley, Councillor Mohammad Najib, JP, and designers Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu on 14 December 2006. Our arrival at the site prompted the group to marvel at the variety of the audio waves and cadence emanating from the metal blade structure. We were additionally impressed by the views that were afforded to us.

    The walk provided us with a rich variety of landscape and views by taking us along canal towpath, through woodland, moorland and across field paths and parkland.

    Later in the day, our hostelry visits included the Bridge Bier House, Brew M and the Ministry of Ale. During our visit to the Bridge, Dave kindly introduced his friend from his school days, John, to your correspondent and several others.

    Many thanks to Alan for another of his insightful productions.
  • sgoff - Sunday 1 October 2017 20:37
    O.C.O.T. Minutes

    16th June 2017

    Morecambe/Lancaster

    Present: Dave Bates, Robert Brown, Steve Carey, David Burrows, Dave Dalton, Andy Fildes, Trevor Heywood, Robert Holmes, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, Alan Larsen, Colin Larsen, Sylvia Larsen, Kevin McDonough, Barry McGuinness, Mike Melia, John Nelson, Noel O’Toole, Bob Rial, Elsa Sawczuk, Steve Sawczuk, Linda Staunton, Dave Whittle, Mike Whittle, Mike Worthington


    From a meteorological viewpoint, we had mistimed our inaugural foray into Morecambe by twenty-four hours. We were cruelly denied the eagerly anticipated commanding views of the Furness Peninsula, the Lake District fells and Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales. Nonetheless, it was a dry day albeit heavily overcast. Emerging from Morecambe station, we initially headed down the town’s promenade in the direction of Alan’s Lakeland retreat, Bare. The local authority had recently identified funding to reinvigorate a hitherto tired looking coastal front. We all agreed that it had made a decent fist of the work. For those in the group unfamiliar with Alan’s background, one could easily have been forgiven for believing that he was contracted to Morecambe Town Council and the local tourist board in light of the justified promotion that he was giving to the area. We soon came across one of the principal tourist sites of the area: Eric and Ernie looking rather resplendent on the sea front, so much so, that they prompted several members to begin pointing their cameras for some group photography. The local lore has it that the Art Deco Midland Hotel, a grade II listed building built by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway company in 1933, once provided a love nest for one, Anthony Statham. An unverified sighting by one member of a brass plaque located in the hotel testified to the historic significance of Tony’s past connection. Verification would also be required to determine whether this was also the venue where Tony recited Shakepeare’s fourth sonnet to his lady wife: “Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend, upon thyself thy beauty's legacy? ..............................”

    In due course we duly arrived at Alan’s manor, Bare and we were promptly shepherded into The Owl’s Nest pub, located in the village.

    Following some liquid refreshment, we continued on to Happy Mount Park, and made our way over some fields towards the Lancaster Canal. A walk along the Lancaster canal preceded our eventual arrival into Lancaster city centre. However, shortly before we departed from the canal, we were subjected to a sharp shock when we read a fingerpost sign quoting the remaining mileage into the city centre. We were led to believe from our leader that it was a mile or two into the city centre. The sign however conflicted with Alan’s estimation by quoting three or four miles. Alan ameliorated our shock by stating that the fingerpost was incorrect regarding the route that we had selected.

    Our arrival into Lancaster took us into The White Cross where we stayed for a few drinks. From there, we went on to the Waterwitch. Members then began to disperse as we had varying departure times for our return to Preston/Manchester.

    Everybody extended their gratitude to Alan for his memorable Morecambe and Lancaster excursion.










    A well trodden destination greeted us as we stepped off the train at Edale. The weather proved to be ideal for our tour around the vicinity, which took us around Hollins Cross, Back Tor, Lose Hill and into Hope.

    An early afternoon break was taken in the Cheshire Cheese in the village of Hope where many memories were resurrected from earlier visits going back as far as the 1990’s.

    Following our departure from the Cheshire Cheese, our route took us towards Edale End, Jagger’s Clough and Nether Booth for our return to Edale.

    Arriving in Edale village, we headed towards the Nag’s Head where some members opted for meals whilst others elected to visit the local fish and chip shop. Members opting for the latter initially had worries about an early evening closure so your correspondent made a pre-emptory visit to confirm the closing time with the proprietor. It turned out that the time was around 20:00 so that gave us adequate time to finish our drinks in the Nag’s Head.

    Later, several members left the Nag’s and made their way to the shop. Upon inspection of the price list, our earlier concerns about the shop’s closing time quickly paled into insignificance when we began to digest the prices of the food: fish and chips £7, standard portion of chips £2.50, large £4.

    The group thanked Robert for another enjoyable return to one of our ancestral destinations.
  • sgoff - Sunday 1 October 2017 20:34
    O.C.O.T. Minutes

    19th May 2017

    Edale

    Present: Dave Bates, Dave Dalton (evening), Andy Fildes, Adi Hammond, Trevor Heywood, Robert Holmes, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, David Lamb, Barry McGuinness, Alan Larsen, Colin Larsen, Keith Mayoh, Aiden Moy (evening) John Nelson, Noel O’Toole, Elsa Sawczuk, Steve Sawczuk, Tony Statham, Dave Whittle, Mike Whittle, Mike Worthington


    A well trodden destination greeted us as we stepped off the train at Edale. The weather proved to be ideal for our tour around the vicinity, which took us around Hollins Cross, Back Tor, Lose Hill and into Hope.

    An early afternoon break was taken in the Cheshire Cheese in the village of Hope where many memories were resurrected from earlier visits going back as far as the 1990’s.

    Following our departure from the Cheshire Cheese, our route took us towards Edale End, Jagger’s Clough and Nether Booth for our return to Edale.

    Arriving in Edale village, we headed towards the Nag’s Head where some members opted for meals whilst others elected to visit the local fish and chip shop. Members opting for the latter initially had worries about an early evening closure so your correspondent made a pre-emptory visit to confirm the closing time with the proprietor. It turned out that the time was around 20:00 so that gave us adequate time to finish our drinks in the Nag’s Head.

    Later, several members left the Nag’s and made their way to the shop. Upon inspection of the price list, our earlier concerns about the shop’s closing time quickly paled into insignificance when we began to digest the prices of the food: fish and chips £7, standard portion of chips £2.50, large £4.

    The group thanked Robert for another enjoyable return to one of our ancestral destinations.
  • sgoff - Sunday 1 October 2017 19:52
    O.C.O.T. Minutes

    14th July 2017

    Sandbach/Crewe

    Present: Steve Carey, Dave Dalton, Andy Fildes, Graham Fildes, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, Alan Larsen, Colin Larsen, Aiden Moy, Kevin McDonough, Barry McGuinness, Mike Melia, Noel O’Toole, Bob Rial, Tony Statham, Roger Wallace, Dave Whittle, Mike Worthington


    A reasonable day greeted us as we stepped on to the platform at Sandbach.

    It was noted that today was the first occasion of an exclusively male gathering following the change to our articles of association some years ago. It wasn’t entirely coincidental that today, one or two members had wistful looking faces ……….

    Some looks of consternation passed over members faces as they began to realise that our leader, Alan, was conspicuously absent as we assembled outside the station. Our worries were quickly proved to be unfounded as minutes later, the sound of a northbound train arriving from Crewe into the station heralded the arrival of Alan who quickly alighted from his carriage and, with his clipboard tucked under his arm, headed promptly over the footbridge to greet us on the opposite platform. He was to inform us sometime later that his prospective return from Crewe that day, would be in the lap of luxury as he was booked to travel first class. Just one of the many indirect benefits justifiably afforded to our illustrious leader ………

    Today’s eight to nine mile foray into the Cheshire countryside would have us following the Trent and Mersey canal together with the Crewe and Nantwich circular walk passing through Winterley and Haslington. A prior warning had been issued by Alan for all members to be mindful of the presence of nettles which at this time of year are flourishing, stand at a substantial height and are well positioned to inflict skin irritations upon unsuspecting and unprotected members’ legs. Another potential hazard to health is the presence of Lyme Borreliosis disease, which if contracted by brushing up against particular vegetation, may leave an enduring legacy regarding members’ health. Covered legs therefore were highly recommended.

    Our later arrival into Crewe took us initially into The Borough Arms and followed by The Albert’s Corner and finally, The Hops Belgian Bar. A very pleasant time was had, as we sat outside our final hostelry, the Hops, in the evening sunshine.

    Once again, our gratitude was conveyed to Alan for another magnificent production.