Pensioner Potter

For the young at heart

21st, May, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

Hawthorn blossom provides a fitting backdrop for this Potter photo-shoot: slightly prickly cores with ample, colourful exteriors.

Cool water’s flooding the weir on the river Dane, Wincle.

A not so weary troop posing above the weir in this lovely leafy backwater where the river Dane flows by a famous trout farm which gives its name to a local fell run.

To: Pensioners' Potter From: Wincle Community Police:

It has been brought to our notice that today, during one of the aforementioned 'potters', a car was left in a 'no parking' zone, in fact the only 'no parking' zone for miles, thereby blocking the delivery dray from accessing the local brewery and endangering the economy of the village. Our lines of inquiry have led us to a group of runners, last seen jogging down the River Dane, a group of 8 or 9 reprobates, not in their first flush of youth, who must have crossed the Dane at some point as our CCTV monitors (Photo attached) showed them on the weir.

Later cameras picked them up on the Gritstone Way, which we assume was their get-away route out of Staffordshire. They then disappeared from view and the only trace that we have is trampled grassland near Wincle Grange suggesting they had the audacity to trespass across private land to get back to their cars.

To confuse the situation, another group of older men, this time walking, were sighted heading out of Wincle Village towards the Wild Boar Public House. No CCTV images have been obtained from this group. Reports are coming in from Blaze Farm that a rather rumbustious party came in for refreshments later in the morning but no association between the various groups has yet been established.

Meanwhile the offending car has been removed and the beer delivery vehicle was able to gain access. Inquiries have now ceased and the matter is considered closed but we feel that your members should be aware of the incident.

PC Plodder, Danebridge Community Police Constable.


(ED), It’s been brought to our attention that the miscreant who dumped his small blue car in a most dangerous manner, so as preventing deliveries to the brewery is now know to us and, it may be in his interest to come clean, or we may have to spill the beans to the boys in blue.

In situations like these a delicate hand needs to be applied and a little silver would go a long way to relieve the situation. Unless, of course, the culprit proves somewhat difficult and unwilling to negotiate. In that instance we’d feed Phil to the lions and leave it to them to paw over. 

16th, May, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Patch studying a patch of bluebells under the bright morning’s sunshine somewhere not too far adrift of the Wizard Tea Rooms, Alderley Edge.

Leader Jude takes control of the lethargy within the group: the lack of urgency has split the troop, with at least one member in the background bolting for lack of some action.

14th, May, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

The troop in a hot spot above the River Dean. Fortunately, the flies were brewing else where but, be sure, they’ll have their moments of fame.

The Magnificent Seven: no gun tottering madmen around here, just madmen. Butch was about to kick the stone wall in because he’d forgotten his Stetson. High Noon? Could well have been; it was near lunchtime.

Carrion, said the wily fox to the leery crow.

9th, May, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Birthday girl Dotcom surveying her cake-filled table with an assorted number of potters in attendance. Each eyeing and eager to indulge in the ample offerings Our little wonder had on display. By the time the heavy gluttony had taken hold, the run must have become a distant activity, if it had ever materialised. One wonders what must have happened out there in the rural enclave of Lark Hall, on an unassuming morn in the month of May, when, presumably, people went out to play...though this may have been a cunning sleight of hand.

7th, May, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

The troop posing in a wooded glade somewhere in the realms of Redesmere. With the bluebells now almost passed and done.

A fair cop in a dry copse: a sweetened rose hemmed inbetween two indgenous thorns.

Wild Flowers Galore:

It was not so much a run as a wild flower extravaganza. The woodland paths around Capesthorne and Astle Farm were magnificent in their displays of bluebells, native ones of course. We were bowled over by the marsh marigolds in the boggy land now crossed by board walks. The red campion and wood sorrel bordered the path, the stitchwort bordered the roads.

The birds were singing and spring was in the air. It was a pity that it was so cold that we had to keep running. Which was a good thing because that's what we were there for. Not sure whether the photographs will be of the runners or the flowers.

The sojourn in the Flora Cafe was spend checking our identifications on the internet. The bacon breakfasts and oatcakes were secondary to our review of this most pleasant and interesting morning. The run was incidental, a little like this report in fact.


2nd, May, 2019: Thursday’s Potter. 

John K’s birthday bash up on Kerridge Ridge, with sibling Margo reaching greater height atop the hill’s trig. Braving the fickle weather.

Someone’s blooded hand: was it inflicted intentionally as part of some local ritual or other, or incurred by nothing more banal than falling down?

This sketch had nothing to link it to its neighbour other than that blood would surely flow.

25th, April, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Captain Kav reporting for duty.

Happy Jacko enjoying his time, up to his ears in rapeseed.

The group sauntering though the bluebells in some lush dell or other.

In the unfortunate absence of Mike Lawrence, Grant stepped up to lead the proposed jaunt from the Mow Cop Castle car park, to include a vista of English blue bells in their natural habitat. Geoff Pett — fresh from dodging the mosquitos in South America — joined the group today (we were on his home turf).

Grant issued a pollen warning to hay-fever sufferers and offered anti-histamine tablets to stave off any deleterious effects (one wise runner accepted). The inevitable descent was made down the steepish south ridge footpath, before a short stretch of Chapel Lane allowed us to take another footpath to the back of the local primary school. Here we followed a contour North to join the Gritstone Trail, heading West down the steep grassy track towards ‘The Bank’. Before we entered the built-up area, we turned left and took the wooded track to the Mount Pleasant village hall.

From there we kept heading West, passing a quartet of Clydesdale horses — and trying to avoid their eyes as we had no carrots to give them — before turning North to Lower Bank Farm.   Once again the front runners learned that it is best to stay with the leader when a choice of paths is presented. We turned South alongside the farm, but had to avoid the first stile because a cow and her calf in a fenced off area were blocking access to it. The calf was clearly unused to a pack of runners and shot off, passing under the electric fence, leaving the mother to face the wolves alone. Fortunately we dropped to a careful walk and managed to turn the calf back to the mummy cow.

Rejoining the track, we had to limbo under another electric fence before following the footpath South.   It took but a few moments to locate the stile and path to the next footbridge, but once across the stream-bed, we were able to enjoy the sight of blue bells in all directions. Having satisfied the ‘blue bell’ requirement, we headed towards the metropolis of Kisdgrove.

Before getting that far, a field of tall stemmed rape-seed plants had to be negotiated. It was vitally important not to lose sight of the smaller members of the group among those bright yellow clusters — we might have had difficulty finding them again!   From that point, it was not quite uphill all the way back — it just felt like it.

However, once back at the carpark, the unanimous view was of ninety minutes well spent, with a further prospect of the delights of the Chappell Centre to be enjoyed. I trust Mike would have been pleased with the route and the choice of refreshment locale.


23rd, April, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

The happy group enjoying themselves tottering near the Edge: an element of danger does stir the senses. Whatever happened to Jimbo’s wonders?

A mild, tranquil morning set the tone for this little sally around the quiet back-waters of Alderley Edge, where interesting small, narrow passageways can be accessed at ease, if one happens to know where to seek out these bushy wonders: then these silent places could be joined to create a pleasant enough route to satisfy all of the Potterers’ whimsies.

Whether these foibles of theirs could ever be in agreement within our lifetimes is anyone’s guess, but, gathering by this Potter’s throng, one was heartened to hear they, in particular, enjoyed themselves immensely and came away from the experience all feeling fulfilled and,- dare one say, all in one piece...mostly.

Then nothing’s perfect in this world of ours: Grant had some problem from the start with his dicky knee: the bruised joint wasn’t really enjoying the way its owner was treating it, like through this brutish behaviour of pounding hellish ground with dainty feet. Of course, the knee behaved in the only way it could under these pulverising conditions: by inflicting pain in a way that only a wounded knee would know how when troubled by the force of a greater being.

Inside the Wizard Tea Rooms, the tables were sparsely filled, probably due to the tables al fresco being mostly full. It wasn’t really surprising however, as the weather was rather lovely. So, we took advantage and quickly co-joined tables to suit our needs and patiently waited for the short-of-staff waiters to take our orders.

We then waited, waited, and waited some more for the busy ladies to visit our tables: it felt at times as if time itself had missed us all together and we were trapped in inner space: we could see people out there but out there those creatures couldn’t see us. We most likely aged less than they did by the time the waiting eventually ended but by that time things didn’t really, quite matter that much.

18th, April, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

A moment to savour before the final push to base.

Margo showing her knowledge of the landscape.

Leader Jimbo setting the pace through a leafless habitat.

An old codger enjoying his moment on a downward trajectory.

'I was standing in the car park below Teggs Nose awaiting the arrival of the potters for this morning's run giving thought to the route I'd devised, hoping it would not be too long or too hilly, wondering if the weather would be as good as forecast when I espied a robin land on the wall alongside. It looked at me and I returned its gaze. No words were spoken but there was communication. The bird seemed to be telling me not to bother myself with such trifles, to just go out and have a good time. That seemed like good advice but just as he was preparing to take off again the robin advised me that Alan and Johnny had left ten minutes ago.

The responsibilities of potter leadership are ever mounting it seems. To the business of planning and leading a run are now added the need to take care of participants who may be carrying injuries or suffering from the fatigue of other adventures. As the potters arrived, a good number mentioned individual problems. Perhaps it's a form of attention seeking?

Nevertheless ten potters set off at ten o'clock with three others having made earlier starts: Sunny conditions prevailed though with a cooling breeze as we ambled round Bottoms reservoir. Our route followed the Gritstone trail over to the late lamented Hanging Gate pub, for many years a favoured hangout for Macclesfield Harriers, but now gone the way of so many country pubs.

The sun was beginning to exert herself and we did the same as we ran across the moors towards Oakenclough. The group was now 11 strong with Pete having been reined in and we stayed cohesive as we got closer to another early riser, Alan coming into sight at the top end of Piggford Moor. A good trod around the back (or is it the front?) of Shutlingsloe presented itself as we started the long descent back to base.

It seemed strange to be so close to our local Matterhorn and not ascend it though the ancient spirits that frequent these areas could have something to say about it. Back-breaking exercise was left to a young man seen carrying his bike up the steepest end of the hill in order to ride the ridge before descending and racing past us at some speed.

The potters were in remarkably good form this morning despite the earlier gripes and mutterings so it felt right to reward everyone with another small hill before finishing. We gathered on Nesset Hill therefore for photographs and wisecracks before Dot led a merry charge down to sea level. We then steered our way into harbour where we then felt good about ourselves. A great way to be.

The morning ended at the Teggs Nose cafe where the dishwasher had failed so cake and drinks were served in cardboard containers. This is what Brexit will be like. Margaret told us a joke about an old man which went down well and then we disassembled to return home to nurse our various pains, content and satisfied with our morning's work.

And nobody saw Johnny.'


16th, April, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

The potter's troop taking five at Bosley Locks while Rent-a-Dog’s keenly bracing itself for the next section of journey.

A safe place out of the grinding wind

4th, April, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Horsing about in some paddock not too far from Prestbury, with Grant fancying his chances while Pete had firmly declined an invitation to ride on the bronco.