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17th July 2015
Present: Syd Bennett, Robert Brown, Steve Carey, Kevin Clarke, Dave Dalton, Andy Fildes, Graham Fildes, Steve Goff, Miklos Gombos, Trevor Heywood, Robert Holmes, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, Alan Larsen, Colin Larsen, Sylvia Larsen, Kevin McDonough, Paul Morrell, Aidan Moy, John Nelson, Bob Rial, Elsa Sawczuk, Steve Sawczuk, Neil Shortland, Julie Sprigg, Roger Wallace, Dave Whittle, Mike Whittle
It was gratifying to note that Network Rail, when performing optimally as evidenced by the prompt arrival of the 11:17 from Manchester Piccadilly, is still able to demonstrate that it will not be upstaged by any earthbound or other extra terrestrial upstart such as the space mission’s ship which recently arrived at the planet Pluto having erred by just 1 hour during a million mile journey. Alas, if only Network Rail was capable of this calibre of performance on a sustained basis.
Within minutes of disembarking, a substantial body of 28 individuals followed the leader Alan out of Marple station who wasted no time in heading towards the first stage of our walk, Marple Bottoms Hall. As we progressed along the 9 to 10 mile route, we were quickly made aware of the presence of elevated humidity. By the time we had passed through Marple Bottoms Hall and Linnet Clough and arrived at Moor End to visit our first hostelry of the day, The OddFellows Arms, we were perspiring heavily. In particular, as I entered the bar area, I soon realised how warm it was as I became quickly drenched in moisture which I found to be thoroughly unpleasant. I quickly headed outside to join the others sat outside the front of the premises at tables and on top of peripheral walls. The bitters on offer here included: Thornbridge’s Desert Sessions , Wellesley’s Abbeydale, Bollington Blonde and Marston’s Pedigree. Thatcher’s provided the cider.
Following a relaxing two pints break and sufficient time to allow Sylvia, who looked to be in a fair degree of agony, to self medicate and tend to her painful toe which was looking eye wateringly raw as her boot had been rubbing against it for several miles. Unfortunately, nurse Elsa was unable to provide any relief by way of an adhesive plaster as she had, to her consternation, exhausted her supplies. I sussed that the prime culprit behind Sylvia’s predicament must have been Kevin Maximus who had hitherto required Elsa’s medical attention together with a plethora of plasters because of lacerations sustained on his skin from previous walks caused by brushing up against the leafy edges of viciously sharp dock leaf vegetation.
We continued our walk towards Hollywood End and onto Bothams Hall. We savoured some splendid scenery as we gradually progressed towards Hodgefold at Broadbottom. Along the route, some members indulged themselves by picking at some wild raspberries that were ripening in the adjacent hedges.
Our second and final port of call was The Harewood Arms at Broadbottom. The range of bitters and ciders here included: Smokey Joe, which reminded Kevin Maximus of a ‘smokey session’ beer and Chief, which Alan noted, contained hops from Slovakia. Rekorderlig and Rosie’s Pig were the available ciders. We collected our drinks and made our way into the beer garden at the rear of the premises. A flight of steep steps had to be negotiated to gain entry down into the garden together with a trailing mains electricity cable, which was draped across the bottom of steps. The blood pressure of any health and safety officer worth his or her salt visiting the premises would surely have been raised at the sight of this perniciously positioned cable. As we took our seats in the garden, we looked more carefully at the cable and slowly began to realise that its raison d'être was to provide a supply of electricity to a mobile hot food van, which was parked on the other side of a wall adjacent to the garden. The sight of the van piqued the interest of several members as they began to note that by now, their appetites were in dire need of sating. Other customers sat alongside us in the garden had also registered the signals from the van on their olfactory senses and began to return with portions of food. The sight of the food provided the final persuasive prod, for those members whose hungers could no longer be ignored, to climb the steps and visit the van to inspect the food on offer. In due course, members were returning with portions of pizza and pasta shells in accompanying sauces. Favourable comments were passed regarding the quality of the food but distinctly unfavourable ones regarding pricing. We deduced that the vendor was an ardent capitalist and was fully exploiting the monopolistic opportunity and captive customer audience that lay before him seated down below in the garden. I overheard one Bradshaw based member, who shall remain nameless, bristling at the £8+ price tag of what appeared, prima facie, to be a relatively miserly portion of pasta.
Following our drinks, meals and emptied pockets, we made our way to Broadbottom station to catch the 20:45 back to Manchester Piccadilly.
We all conveyed our thanks once again to Alan for his organisation of another splendid walk.