Birds and buses

Liesel and I usually go for our strolls in the morning but every now and then, we venture out later in the day. The danger with this is, there are usually many more people out and about. This makes it more difficult to maintain social distancing, of course, but being out in the Sun is good, you can feel the vitamin D fizzing away while it’s being manufactured beneath your skin.

Bed of leaves

Of course, the delight of walking in the sunshine has to be balanced by the sight of flytipped rubbish, including a mattress, in the middle of the road. Yes, actually on the road, as if they’d just opened the back door of a moving van and kicked out all their rubbish. What a shame that personal details were clearly visible on some of the items.

More Northenden flytippery

Passing vehicles had to bump up onto the pavement to get past.

William the carrot-muncher

On a lighter, happier note, William grabbed his Mum’s phone and called his Grandad while eating his lunch, in the car, after his swimming lesson.

Unprompted, he told me the carrot stick was a triangle. In the pool, he had dived to retrieve a (plastic) fish, something that I could never manage to do.

 

Mincemeat scone

Liesel baked some scones, using mincemeat rather than plain ordinary dried fruit, and of course, they didn’t last very long. All the flavour of, but not as strong as, traditional mince pies.

 

 

 

There is a universe beyond Northenden. We proved that to be the case by breaking out the passports and venturing as far afield as Lyme Park this week. It’s been a while, but it was good to be out walking somewhere other than our local ‘hood.

There was evidence that deer had been roaming, but we didn’t see any. Not real ones, anyway.

Lyme deer

Time for some bird spotting, I think.

Corkbill egrets

Amongst the fallen leaves of Autumn, behold, young ferns.

Baby ferns
Selfie of the day
Mushroom

As you can(‘t quite) see, it was a very clear day. You can see the metropolis that is Manchester from Lyme Park, and today was the clearest that particular view has ever been.

 

Back in Northenden and we’re still finding new roads to explore. We took it into our heads to walk a bit further, buy some lunch and then walk home.

Britannia Country House Hotel

We had been walking along the river but the path was so muddy, we detoured at the first opportunity, not really knowing where the stone steps would lead. It’s a bit of a dilapidated hotel, with its run-down car parks, set back from the main road.

We found our destination in West Didsbury but were immediately disappointed.

Bad news at Greens

Yes, you guessed, it was Tuesday. Oh well, nothing for it, but to walk home, hungry. Well, not strictly true. We stopped off at La Chouquette in Didsbury for coffee and cake. La Chouquette has taken over from Cidsin, a coffee shop that we had frequented in the past.

Time for some more bird spotting, I think.

Wooden sculpture
Kingfisher

Spring is coming up fast, even though we probably have the worst of Winter to come, yet. I thought the baby fern at Lyme Park was a freak, but we also saw some very early daffodils near one of our local golf courses.

Baby daffodils

On the other foot, I did find a pair of shoes on one walk. Well, not exactly a pair, but I guess these folks had a good time at their illegal parties before hopping home.

Lost shoes

I was so glad I’d decided not to walk by the river on this occasion. Looking down at the path from the road above reveals how muddy it still was after all that rain. Plus, the river is a few feet higher than normal.

More muddy than Mudsville, Mudshire

Our food deliveries this week included the biggest Brussels sprouts we’ve ever seen.

Big sprouts

There is not a lot of spare room in the fridge, right now! But the sprouts are delicious, oh yes.

Here’s William on his last day at Busy Bees. He’ll start at his new nursery after Christmas.

William the former Busy Bee

And here’s Martha on the last day at school before the Christmas break.

Martha in mufti

It’s wonderful to see them both doing so well, and I’ll say it again: the worst thing about the pandemic is that we aren’t able to spend time with our beautiful grandchildren.

Brandy balls

What’s this? Another foodie photo? Are you alright, Mick? Yes, I’m fine, thanks. But you need to see Liesel’s bourbon balls, made with, not bourbon, but French brandy. Brandy balls. Liesel also baked cookies and included crème de cassis. We’ve had a bottle of that particular poison for many, many years too and it’s time to finish it all off. With white wine, it makes a cocktail called kir, something Sarah and I used to enjoy during our brief cocktail-making period.

My radio show this week was full of Christmas cheer, and you are welcome to listen to two hours of fun and frolics here.

And so, the first of the Christmas snacks have been opened. Liesel’s justification is that we are now on the first day of the Christmas Radio Times. Salt and pepper cashew nuts. M&S salted pretzel sticks. All very tasty of course. Liesel’s career as a food critic is slowly taking off. ‘These pretzel sticks are long, they’re like covid tests.’ I don’t know why M&S feel the need to straighten out pretzels, to be honest.

As this is the last post before the big day, Liesel and I would like to wish a very merry Christmas to all our readers, visitors, viewers and other passers-by. Thanks for joining us during a period of antics not quite as exciting as our gap-year travels a couple of years ago, but we’re looking forward to a much more adventurous 2021.

Ahh, gap-year travels, the good old pre-covid days! Here’s something I wrote that wasn’t published at the time, for some reason. Imagine we’re in Fiji, late 2018, mostly taking buses here and there…

Suva bus station is organised chaos. There are several different bus companies, there are several bays, there are hundreds of people, and to move around you have to walk between moving buses. Yes, there are signs saying not to cross over except at the designated places, but those designated places are never where you actually need them.

On the first bus, we bought $15 cards which was enough to cover the fare from Nadi to Pacific Harbour. Each card now has $3.50 credit. Can we use this towards another fare? No.

The second bus, we paid a man at the bus station, he wrote out a ticket which we then had to present to the driver when we got off the bus at our destination.

On one occasion we paid the driver when we got on but didn’t receive a ticket, so we’re glad nobody, no inspector, asked to see it.

On the ride from Pacific Harbour back to Nadi, we paid a man halfway back. He took my last $50 bill and got off the bus when it stopped for a break at a market. I thought I would never see him again. But he did eventually reappear with my change, but again, no tickets.

Author: mickandlieselsantics

We are a married couple, one American, one Brit, one male, one female, neither of us as fit as we would like to be, well over 100 years old altogether.

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