Sunday, 1 August 2010


We were at Tatton Park yesterday for the annual Halle Orchestra picnic in the park event. After the last few days of rain and some gloomy weather forecasts the signs were not good. Mel and her family had spent a lot of time preparing a heavenly feast and we set off in the minibus at 5pm with a certain amount of trepidation and sure enough five minutes into our journey it started to hammer down with rain.

However after a small shower we had no further rain and even had an hour of sun in the late evening. We ate and drank like royalty and spent a good 2-3 hours just taking in the atmosphere and people watching. Having arrived in plenty of time, we had secured a fantastic spot with a good view of the stage and were hugely entertained by the many groups of people bringing enormous tables, padded chairs, candelabras and gargantuan picnic baskets turning up at 7pm and appearing bemused that they couldn't find a spot near the front.

The performance was pretty good on the whole however the planned Tenor Wynne Evans had cried off ill (questionably according to the Guardian) and his last minute replacement Geraint Dodd was in the opinion of our party a bit lacking sounding a little like Vic Reeves pub singer routine. Natasha Marsh did a great job though and the traditional firework crescendo set to Wagners Rise of the Valkyrie was absolutely spectacular.

Today we went to see the Joy Division Unknown Pleasures exhibition in Macclesfield. I have had a fixation with Joy Division since my very early teens and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see some rare artefacts. In the end it was pretty good but I do actually own quite a few of the things on display and I wasn't blown away in truth.

On the way back we stopped at a pub called the Butley Ash where Mel and I had possibly the worst meal ever. Managing to make Chicken and Chips taste THAT bad is actually a tremendous achievement and the 'Chef' should be proud of his/her achievements. The abomination was served about 45 seconds after ordering it and we tried to take some enjoyment from our food but this proved impossible. In addition to the rancid food our ears were assailed by the sound of a dog whelping, screaming and scratching at the floor above our heads. We tentatively complained though we were nervous in case some kind of punishment was dished out.

We complained about the meal and were not charged for the food but even then I still felt hard done by as my hearty appetite had now subsided, my stomach churning on what little food I actually managed to eat. It was a lovely pub in a lovely location but a terrible waste of a Sunday dinner.

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