Go Jonny Go Go Go Go.

Saturday 4/6/2005

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Diary and Notes

Today I was going to go walking in the Peak district with some people from the Manchester University Maths Dept. They were planning a hike from Edale, along the Pennine Way to Glossop (about 13 miles over Kinder Scout, a beautiful, if exceedingly hilly, trip that should have given me a chance to socialise with some of my new work colleagues. That's forgetting of course that incompetence and stupidity will, if you are lucky, turn every day out, no matter how simple, into an adventure.

I got up in plenty of time to have a shower, make a thermos of coffee and make some sub-sandwiches for my trip (one bacon, mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise, one cheese, lettuce and mango pickle and one cheese and Mad Dog Inferno Sauce, just in case I needed a pep) I wandered off to get the bus into town for to meet the others and get the 9.45 to Edale. Only weird fate was working her magic - as I got to the bus stop the bus was just leaving - "I know." I thought "Why don't I get the train from Levenshulme either to Piccadilly or even better, straight to Edale and meet them on the train?" Good idea, you're thinking and so was I. I strolled to Levenshulme station and went to ask the ticket man if the train from Piccadilly to Edale went through Levenshulme or whether I should go into Mancheaster and catch it there. Aah, but here cruel fate intervened - there was no man at the ticket counter, only a sign saying he was working on the platform somewhere - which he wasn't. I checked to see if there was a leaflet but they were all safe behind glass inside the ticket office. "What to do? Do I go to Piccadilly or Stockport?" I knew that the train to Buxton and Maccelsfield went through Stockport and guessed the other Peak District trains did as well - so South it was. Of course, cruel fate being what it is, when I told the train conductor I was going to Edale he said I was going the wrong way - and now I'd missed the 9.45 and was going to be late. "I know." Thinks I, "There's bound to be a bus from Stockport to Edale." So at Stockport I walked to the bus station and asked if I could get to Edale. They told me I'd be better off getting a train!

So what to do? Even if I go to Edale I'll be at least an hour late now, maybe I should go home. Being unable to decide on the best course of action I flipped a coin, (a 1p coin that I had found on Stockport station no less) - heads home, tails Edale. Tails! Edale it is.

My cunning plan was this. Get to Edale and zoom along the trail and catch up the maths people who will be taking it easy. I figured that if I went really speedy I might just overtake them before the Snake Pass road (about 9 miles). They had an hour and a quarter head start but I knew if I didn't stop, even to eat my sandwiches I might just catch them. I got to the gate which marks the start of the Pennine way, set my stopwatch and set off.

And boy did I zoom.

One two, one two. Singing marching songs and shouting at myself. At times like these I always feel the blood of my Norse ancestors rising in my veins. The red mist comes on and nothing can stop me. I was bowling old grannies with walking poles out of the way. Kicking boy scouts and dogs as I sprinted past them up Jacob's Ladder. I was a machine, a dangerous yomping machine and I was going to catch my maths friends, and when I did they had better be ready!

Watch out folks, there's a crazed viking beserker coming through. I didn't have an axe, only three sandwiches and a thermos of coffee. I didn't stop to eat them - but I ate them anyway, on the hoof like a good viking should. The rain came down but did I care? I dropped and broke my thermos and spilled all my coffee, but did I need fluids? No, keep going Jonny boy, go Jonny go go go go. I reached the point where the Pennine way joins the Snake Pass road after about 2 1/2 hours - but there was no sign of my quarry - they had eluded me. I realised that they had probably taken a different route, and if they hadn't there was little chance of catching them now as nobody is going to stop for a rest by the side of a main A road. I slowed my pace a little and marched the last four miles or so into Glossop with only the thought of a cold beer in my head.

And if you are wondering how long the whole march took. From the gate at the start of the Pennine way to the sign that marks the start of Glossop - 3 hours, 35 minues and 22 seconds. Not bad for a slightly overwieght, unfit middle aged sedentary mathematician. It's the red mist I tells ya, don't mess with us vikings.

And when I got home, all tired and bedraggled and hungry did I just flop down in front of the TV and eat a ready meal? No, I made a fine Mexican pork stew and some whole wheat tortillas. The I flopped down in front of the tv and ate my dinner.

And if you want to see some photos I took on the yomp (plus my train tickets to prove that I really did go myself) see my photos

Cake Blog

A low fat carrot cake: I wanted to buy some Kendall mint cake (as is traditional) but the woman at the shop in Edale was talking to some old giffers from the village and wasn't serving anybody (there was a queue of about six people in front of me but it wasn't moving) so I left without buying any. I had bought this in Picadilly Station after getting the train from Stockport and waiting for the connection. It wasn't very good. I didn't know it was low fat when I bought it by the way.


  • Pork Shoulder in Chipolte Sauce
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Wheat Tortillas


    Pork Shoulder in Chipolte Sauce
    1.5 kg Pork Shoulder (on the bone)
    2 Onions
    2 Sticks Celery
    2 Green Peppers
    Can Tomatoes
    3 Cloves Garlic
    1/2 Lime
    1/2 Tube Tomato Puree
    1 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
    6 Green Chillis
    1 tsp Chilli Powder
    1 tsp Cumin
    2 tsp Dried Oregano
    1/2 tsp Cinnamon
    2 Tbsp Disaster Bay Chipolte Sauce
    1 tsp Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika
    Salt and Pepper
    Few Coriander Leaves


  • I had been on a quest to find chipolte seasoning or even better some chipolte peppers last weekend. I'd tried every deli in Manchester and even Selfidges and Harvey Nichols. No luck though. The best I could do was a very expensive bottle of chipolte chilli sauce (£7.95 from Harvey Nicks) and some smoked Spanish hot paprika. Together they made an excellent smokey flavoured sauce and I would recommend this to anyone.
  • Brown the pork shoulder in a little olive oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic, celery and pepper and sweat until the onion is soft. Next add the chillis, chilli powder, dried paprika, cumin, cinnamon and oregano and fry for a minute or two. When the spices are nicely fried add the tomatoes, ketchup, tomato puree, the juice of half a lime and enbough water to cover the meat. Stew gently for two hours. Stir in a little fresh coriander before serving.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for four people