Cookie monsters

We ventured as far as Dunham Massey for a lovely walk in the sunshine. So did a lot of other people. The queue of cars waiting at the entrance split into two, National Trust members keeping to the right. And yes, we VIPs felt very special as we overtook several ordinary people waiting to buy their tickets.

Autumn colours

Some of the stags were bellowing, it must be that time of year again. Bellowing? To be honest, some of them sounded more like pigs squealing in pain. But maybe that’s an attractive noise to some of the less discerning females.

Jackdaw
Straw flower

Liesel knows this as a straw flower, and it does indeed feel like it’s made from paper. We know it as salmon rose or Helichrysum brachteatum of course.

Selfie of the day

We had a few goes at this picture, trying to get the gorgeous burgundy red foliage in the background, but it still looks like my head is twice as big as Liesel’s.

In the evening we went out to a live concert. We hadn’t planned to, it was a spontaneous decision, something we should do more often maybe. Part of Manchester Folk Festival, we enjoyed the music of O’Hooley and Tidow supported by John Kelly and Lunatraktors. (*) We were back at Home, a venue which we quite like. O’Hooley and Tidow sing wonderful songs but the banter in between is just as much fun.

O’Hooley and Tidow, Lunatraktors, John Kelly

Still being cautious, we kept our masks on during the show and I think we will be doing so for a long time to come.

Our default walk along the river was exciting. We saw not one, but two herons, in different places. Well, it might have been the same one playing tricks on us, I suppose, but it’s nice to see they’ve (or it’s) come back.

We’ve been inundated with ladybirds during the last couple of weeks. They try to come into our living room and, sometimes, they succeed.

Ladybird

This little chap enjoyed walking around the snow-capped mountainscape that is my sock before being released and allowed to fly away home.

It was half-term this week and we were pleased to be able to look after Martha and William for a few hours. They helped decorate the halloween cookies carefully baked by Oma and they did quite a good job, despite ODing on the decorating icing and food colouring. Some of the results might not be biologically accurate.

Martha, William, Halloween cookies

Six-eyed bat, anyone?

I took William to the playground where we played and waited for Oma to bring Martha. They’re taking a long time, I thought, maybe they’ve got lost. I even wondered whether they’d gone to a different playground. But when they arrived, it turns out they’d been picking litter, as suggested by Martha. And luckily, we have the equipment.

William climbing
Sliding together
Swinging together

William had problems with the litter-picker-uppers, the grips was a little too hard to squeeze. So he handed the stick back and and lifted his hands to his face, in the manner of binoculars. “What are you doing, William?” “I’m litter-spotting.” Well, it’s a very important job.

We picked litter as we walked home and two strangers expressed their gratitude to Martha and William for doing a good job. Strangers? Well, one was our local councillor, Mary, and she was with the manager of the local retirement housing facility, Boat Lane Court.

It won’t become a habit, but for lunch, we got chips from the local chippy. Jenny came to take the children to another play venue, and I was sure the amount of sugar consumed earlier in the day would keep their energy levels up.

Northenden Arts Festival  is here. On the first afternoon, we saw Ali Davenport (*) read some of her own poems, mostly written during the lockdown. Members of the audience were invited to read their own poems and short stories too, and it was a very entertaining hour.

The second event we went to later in the evening was Plane Comedy. MC Colin Manford did a good job and he introduced two other comedians for our enjoyment, Dan Tiernan (*) and Mick Ferry. The show was sold out and the theatre felt crammed, but we kept our masks on and ourselves to ourselves. But we had a jolly good laugh at the comedy.

Dan Tiernan, Mick Ferry, Colin Manford

Yes, I managed half decent pictures of the men in the evening, but nobody needs to see my photo of the back of Ali’s head, no matter how artistic it is.

The Festival carries on all weekend and we have tickets for three more shows. So, five shows over four days.

Because we were looking after the children, we missed the weekly walk in Northenden on Wednesday. Sadly, Liesel missed the one in Wythenshawe, also led by Chantel (*),  on Friday because she was at home, working. I joined it after taking the bus most of the way. I’d like to walk there and back, of course, but that means dragging myself out of bed a bit earlier.

The weather was ideal for observing rainbows, and here’s one as seen from our luxury apartment

Rainbow

What’s at the end of this rainbow? A stunning block of flats.

The radio show this week was all about Insults and Name-Calling. You can catch up here, maybe have it on in the background to ignore while you’re doing something useful.

(*) What’s that parenthesised asterisk malarkey all about then? This week, I introduced an occasional new feature into the show: Who did we see in concert this week? I play a track by each artist. Also, on previous shows, I have spoken to Ali, Dan and Chantel, so it’s good to see them in the flesh. I spoke with Ali briefly, but we were herded out of the theatre before I had a chance to speak to Dan, a former fellow Radio Northenden presenter.

I try to keep up to date with this blog but sometimes I forget to mention odd things. This is as good an opportunity as any to bring some very late news.

For a few weeks now, we’ve been using a new gadget in the kitchen. It’s an Instant Pot, an electric pressure cooker that has taken the USA by storm, according to the blurb. We use the inefficient electric oven far less often, and the meals are, so far, always delicious. It can perform several functions when in the more-than-capable hands of a fantastic cook such as Liesel.

When we were in Borough Market a few weeks ago, I think I forgot to mention that Liesel bought some Bienstich, one of her favourite German delicacies. Custard cake. She approached the stall with a plastic tub in hand, and the guy knew straightaway what she wanted. If you’re ever looking for gift ideas for Liesel, don’t forget Bienstich.

We had tortillas for dinner a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, the first batch were over-heated and discarded. When I picked up this lump of tortillas later, it felt really solid, like a paperback dropped in the bath. If you ever need a paperweight, let me know, and I’ll send the recipe.

Another Radio Northenden presenter, Hayley, and I met up for a coffee a couple of weeks ago. That’s the first time we’d met in person. Wasn’t this exciting enough to blog about at the time? Well yes, of course it was. I made notes and everything. But what’s the point of making notes if you don’t read them again afterwards?! Anyway, Hayley is lovely and we had a good chat and we know exactly how to fix all the world’s problems.

And finally, last week, our proud granddaughter was Gymnast of the Week.

Gymnast of the Week

She’s supposed to hand the trophy back after two weeks for the next recipient. I don’t know if she gets to keep it if she wins three times.

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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