Thursday, 29 January 2015

Manchester city break. January 2015

Let the bus do the driving

Britannia Hotel

Manchesters answer to the London Eye.

Some very grand architecture.

to some very futuristic

This old water pump

was proudly made in Kilmarnock.

Some of the exhibits

in the museum of science and industry.

Manchesters media city.
Anne and I have just returned from a most enjoyable city break in Manchester . Arriving by coach on Monday we checked into the Britannia Hotel which is situated right in the city centre before our next important mission  to discover the locations of our nearest branch of Wetherspoons.On Tuesday we went to the Science and Industry museum which is built around 5 very large warehouses each containing different exhibits from all parts of the local industries.Next was a visit to a Lowry museum showing  pictures of match stick men which I am told he is famous for. Attached to this museum is a factory outlet shopping centre so a visit there was essential for one person in this famous duo. Next  a tour round Media City which for an additional cost you could visit the set of Coronation Street not an option either of us were keen to do.In the evening we went to Wetherspoons Paramount for dinner and a few refreshments to round off a very pleasant day out. On Wednesday the coach left at 11.00AM and by 4.00PM we were home in Ayr after a snowy windy drive up the M6  motorway thank goodness neither of us were driving. Later on last night the road conditions for that journey were described as treacherous so we were very fortunate to make it home with the minimum of disruption.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Cunninghame ramblers. Mid week walk, Irvine /Dreghorn circular.January 2015

Some of todays paths were very icy.

Local historian giving us a wee story of times gone by.

A real winters scene

Often the grass was safer to walk on.

Could not think of a printable caption!!

An extremely rare sight I am told.

Todays well wrapped up group.

Don't all push to get in

The leader is always last.
Yesterday Wednesday January 21 Cunninghame ramblers mid week walk was a wee bit different from our normal outings. Being in the middle of winter a short 7 mile walk was organised to end at Wetherspoons in Irvine for lunch and refreshments. No prizes for guessing whose idea it was! 20 of us met in the Aldis car park before setting off on the New Town trail to Dreghorn where we climbed a small hill locally known as the "munt" presumably an Ayrshire word for the mount. Here we had a short break before going down the Annick Water  paths back to Irvine. Lots of wintering birds were spotted on this stretch which our twitching member  able to identify for us,namely buzzard, grey wagtail,blue heron,mallard,murganser to name a few. Arriving back in the town it was off to Wetherspoons for something to eat followed by a pleasant afternoons drinking with this fine group.
PS. Thanks to the chemist for helping me with the recce,thanks to the traffic commissioner for his contribution to the pictures and finally thanks to everyone for supporting my walk on a cold frosty winters day.
PPs today we also met a group of fellow walkers who have the most interesting blog that goes under the name of the Early Ooters.Lots of information was swapped and you never know we could perhaps enjoy a joint walk with them in the near future.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Ashoka cook school ,Linwood near Paisley. January 2015

Yesterday Thursday January 15 I had another day out to the Asoka Cook School situated in Linwood on the site of the Rootes factory that built the famous Hillman Imp.This was a christmas present from Anne perhaps dropping a hint I should do more in the kitchen. There were 7 budding chefs on my course and after a brief welcome it was aprons on and off to our individual work stations consisting of a cooker ,pots and pans,range of different spices and cooking utensils. Everyone was a given one cleaned chicken to score to allow the marinate to penetrate the flesh. Basically we chopped onions and tomatoes to which we added spices and water to make a marinate on our large pans. Once all the ingredients were browned you add the whole chicken with extra boiling water and let it simmer for 40 minutes. When all that was going on we prepared marinates for different types of pakora and then onto the spiced onions which are my favourite. Next we cooked chapatis and another potato dish full of Indian spices. At the end once we had cooked all our food we had a meal prepared by the schools chefs to show us how it should look and taste. A rather large doggy bag was supplied to all participants to take home to show off  all our culinary delights of the day. The whole course took 4 hours so it is a long quite tiring day trying to take in everything the chef is telling you and make sure you added the correct spices to your various dishes. There were several mistakes made by everyone with curries and pakoras being produced that tasted and looked a wee bit different from the normal traditional recipes.

Day trip to the Shard Building in London. January 2015

Day began with Ryanair flight.

The Shard Building

At the top you could see for miles

HMS Belfast,the Tower of London and Tower bridge.

From the top of the world to the underground

The National Gallery

Trafalgar Square

Must have been sculpted by a Rangers supporter.

Welcome to Downing Street.

The Cenotaph

Lunch in Wetherspoons

In true tradition always leave the leader till last.
On Wednesday January 14 I flew to London to visit the Shard Building and go to the top and admire the views over the great metropolis. Apart from a wee hiccup on the tube (I got on the wrong one) I arrived at London Bridge and the awesome sight of this glass greenhouse in the sky. I had pre booked my viewing ticket on line and once clear of security you go up on the first lift to the 33rd floor where you then change to another one to take you up to the 68th level. The view that greets you when the doors open has to be one I will never forget. The vista over London has to be seen to be believed , guides and notices are on hand to point out all the various landmarks that we all hear about but seldom see. It was not too busy when I was there but imagine in the summer at the height of the tourist season it could become very crowded. An opportunity is given to climb stairs to the 72nd floor which is encased in glass but this time you are open to the elements from above which today had a decidedly chilly wind blowing .As I admired the views planes were on their approach to Heathrow passing quite close to the Shard so plenty of opportunities to wave to the passengers!.
Next part of my day was a quick tube ride to Trafalgar Square with the National Gallery bathed in glorious winter sunshine before visiting Downing Street and the Cenotaph. In the afternoon I met a couple of lads I have known since schooldays in Wetherspoons to enjoy a few pints and reminisce on the good old days. Back out to Stansted airport and a bumpy flight home to end a wonderful day out visiting a building which has long been on my "must do" list.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Week ending 10th January 2015

Due to very high winds coupled with rain/hail showers all walks with the local groups were cancelled, lets hope for better conditions next weekend.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Cunninghame ramblers. Mid week walk to Goldenberry Hill ,West Kilbride.January 2015

On the shore looking out to Arran

Catching up on New Year gossip.

And I left my man curled up in a nice warm bed!!

In horse racing terms"the going was heavy"

Who forgot to pick up their flask?

Hunterston Nuclear power plant with Millport in the background.

Group on top of Goldenberry Hill.

1st walk leader of 2015. 
Yesterday Tuesday January 6th Cunninghame ramblers 1st mid week walk of 2015 was  10 miles from Seamill shore to Goldenberry Hill returning via Hunterston power station  and Portencross castle.14 of us met in the beach car park in the wind and rain but our intrepid leader informed us it was the the end of a large shower and the forecast was to dry up and be a nice sunny day. Once we were all togged up for the weather off we went along the shore with the wind in our faces so any cobwebs from the new year were soon blown away. Once at West Kilbride the rain stopped and the sun made an appearance to give is wonderful views of a snow capped Island of Arran. A good climb up Goldenbery Hill got the heart pumping even at the moderate rate of this group who lets say are advancing in years a little bit.There is a lot of construction work taking place at the power station so 2 mile diversion was taken via Hunterston Castle to get us onto the track to Portencross Castle which was to be our lunch break. During our lunch a very sinister looking nuclear submarine made an appearance on the surface of the water to observe us all tucking into our sandwiches.A nice long shore walk got us back to the start apart from a couple of showers most of the walk had been in glorious winter sunshine. Thanks to the leader once again for working out how to get us round the power station without upsetting the security guards who were watching our every movement as we passed around the perimeter of this most secretive establishment.