Sue and Martin's Christmas 2014 letter
December 2014

Regular readers of our ‘Postcard from Timperley’ will be aware that we have enjoyed another fairly active year.  For the vast majority who can’t or aren’t inclined to keep up with Martin’s frequent ramblings on those pages, but may be curious out of passing interest, here’s Sue's brief summary of our year.

In January we spent a week in La Clusaz in the French Alps, cross-country skiing courtesy of friends Yolaine and Pierre who we met in the Pyrenees. Despite conditions being variable, it was nice to be in the mountains. We also got to see Martin's cousin Alistair and his wife, who live in Geneva.

Yolaine, Martin and Sue
Sue and Martin at Champlain Lookout

That provided a 'warm-up' for our stay with Ken and Helen in Ottawa, where it was somewhat cooler but often sunnier.  During a morning ski when it was minus 17C, we noticed a sign stating "No naked bathing" - not a chance!



Martin's nephew Toby married Krystle at the beginning of March, so I had a wedding cake to ice.  No small task as it meant learning a few new techniques, but it all worked out in the end!



Toby and Krystle's cake

In mid-March we spent a weekend at Wye Valley youth hostel with a group extended from my university rambling friends.  The weather was good enough to have breakfast outside on Sunday morning, overlooking the river, and later that day I was in shorts!

Whilst Martin went backpacking in the Lake District for 4 days over the fine Easter weekend, I was stuck at home on the computer, trying to complete a piece of work creating a database for checking interactions with antifungal medicines for both patients and health professionals.  Needless to say, I was relieved when it was done.  Following straight on from that, Manchester University tasked me with converting some face-to-face teaching on Parkinson's disease, to an e-learning package.  So that was May written off, whilst Martin was backpacking in Scotland on his 8th TGO Challenge, from the west coast to the east, over two weeks.

Our big trip this year saw us drive over to Europe for a month in July. We visited our old neighbours, Andrea and Thomas, in Heidelberg on the way, also stopping in the Engadine Alps in Switzerland, to see our Austrian friends, Markus and Silke. 

A rendezvous with four Americans was next, at Lago di Braies, the start of Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites, which was our objective for the week.  Staying in mountain 'rifugios', we walked south, with mixed weather and a lot of late snow.  Karen and Mike, who hike mainly in the Grand Canyon and live in California, struggled with the mud and the late snow! Susan and Roy are used to our routes and managed fine. The following week was spent in a Collett's chalet near Corvara. Our group was 19-strong, including Martin’s son Mike – taking a rare holiday from his life as a musician - and we enjoyed warm, sunny days.  There were plenty of walking and via ferrata routes on offer, and for some of us, the attraction of the alpine flowers.  New ones for this trip included three new orchids, the coralroot, lady's slipper, and birdsnest.

Susan and Roy on Tridentina

Early September walking between Shap and Richmond on the Coast to Coast was proposed by Anna and Dale, over from Saskatchewan in Canada.  We had blues skies for all except the first day and stayed in luxurious B&Bs.  Sometime, it will be good to do the whole C2C.

I had been busy cake decorating again, this time for my parents' golden wedding anniversary on 5th September.  It was celebrated with lunch for close family and friends in the garden.  Congratulations to them - they both deserve a medal!
As does Martin's mum, who is in good form at 89, and coming to stay for Christmas.

When we do spend time at home, we've been having Kate’s son Jacob, Martin's grandson, who is now 3½, to stay, although it's always grandma who gets up at 5.30am! His sister, Jessica, was one in September and is now walking. 



We're both enjoying going to Wythenshawe Park on Saturday mornings to do the 5km Parkrun or to marshall.  Martin walks with an assortment of folk, and we have finally joined Stockport Walking & Outdoor Group, going on a few of their summer evening walks, and attending more of their winter slideshow programme to which we contribute.
And that's just a bit of what we've been up to!

We hope you have a very happy Christmas and wish you all the best for 2015.

Please feel free to keep in touch with us next year by visiting the ‘blog’ at – comments are always welcome. A programme for 2015 will also soon be uploaded to this 'topwalks' website.

  Back to home