Saturday 19 April 2014

Shoot Story - Alderley Edge and Tatton Park

The current issue of Cycling Active includes my ride story, Made in Cheshire. It was the first photo shoots I did for Cycling Active after starting my job in Macclesfield and was in the area known as the golden triangle of Cheshire. This includes places like Wilmslow, Knutsford, Alderley Edge, Mottram St Andrew - some of the most affluent parts of England outside of London and the South East.

And yes, we certainly got that feel about the place while we were there. Our first area for the photo shoot was on the main road through Alderley Edge. That certainly had a Primrose Hill village feeling about it, with independent clothes shops, trendy cafes, and a few beauty salons. Like every high street in the UK there are a few charity shops. The ones in Alderley Edge are decked out like designer fashion shops! Who needs Zara when you've got the Oxfam shop selling the cast-offs of celebrities?

The street was flush with 4x4 Mercedes, BMWs some Land Rovers plus a number of luxury cars. Of course there were ordinary cars - Audis, VWs, BMW saloon cars, etc that are less than 2 years old.
I am not sure we quite fitted in rolling up in our hired 5 year-old Vauxhall Astra van!

We took a pic of me riding past a Bentley parked along the high street. Of course we were careful not to photograph the number plate. Some of the folks were a little bemused at the way I kept riding up and down past the same car. But they were amenable and some cars stopped for us while Aodan finished his shot. People may have been wondering what I was up to going up and down the street on my bike, but I have to say that I was a little bemused when we saw that same Bentley carousing up and down the road to Mottram St Andrew. We couldn't see the driver through the greyed out windows. So we just assumed it to be the chauffeur who just wanted to parade around out of boredom!

The Village Café seemed to be another hangout where people were there "to be seen". This wasn't just your greasy spoon or even Café Nero where you rock up to the joint at random. You needed a reservation to pick up your morning cappuccino. The women were either blonde or had highlights, while the men all seemed to be of a certain age and had that permanent tan to match their silver fox hair style. Some of them looked like actors from some northern based soap opera. It's been ages since I watched Coronation Street or Emmerdale so I wouldn't know who the actors were even if I tripped over them! Maybe they weren't so high profile but they certainly had that ac-tor way of speaking and they spoke in a way that tended towards Stratford-on-Avon rather than Stockport!

Later we were in Tatton Park, which for me was like Richmond Park in London, but with more stately homes and gardens and not as hilly. There were parking restrictions in the park to allow space for the guests of "James and Julia's wedding". We took a few shots outside the mansion anyway, managing to do this before the wedding party emerged, and we tried to snap shots in between the various families that were passing by. Families like this one consisting of George on his scooter, Poppy with her stabilisers, yummy daddy Rupert carrying baby Oliver in his pouch, and mum on her lady's hybrid. The kids looked at us curiously, while their parents hurried them along so that they could get to the Garden Café serving organic food.

Because the mansion was in the shadow and the light was not so bright Aodan told me I had to ride slowly during these shots to stop the photo looking blurred. Of course passers-by didn't understand this, and some kids passed me, giving a look of triumph as they managed to overtake this lady on a racing bike while they were riding their first two-wheeler. Ah well, let them have their day of "glory"!

Later on while in Tatton Park my mum rang me. I hadn't had the chance to talk to her since returning from Milan. (I'd only been back in the UK for a week at that point.) As ever she was surprised to hear where I was, and she was quite excited to hear that I was in Tatton Park. Even though we were in the middle of the shoot I took the time to talk to her because I hadn't spoken to her in a while, so I thought it would be nice to chat. Thankfully, Aodan kept himself busy photographing deer while waiting. She didn't know Tatton and had never been there before so I described it to her and where else we had been that day as the planes into and from Manchester Airport roared up above me. She was quite interested to hear about this plush part of the North-West. "You might even see George Osborne!" (the local Member of Parliament and Chancellor of the Exchequer) she joked.

We took a few more photos in Tatton Park and then called it a day. It had been a fun day with nice weather, and we had enjoyed a very pleasant café stop at the Wizard Café on Alderley Edge.

My mum always liked reading the ride stories and other articles of mine that were published in Cycling Active and Cycling Weekly. I had really been looking forward to showing my mum the finished article on Cheshire in Cycling Active magazine. Sadly, on the day the issue was published my mum was critically ill and under sedation in hospital after a sudden illness. She died the following day, 27th March, aged 64 years. It's incredible how things can change so suddenly.

I dedicate my Cycling Active feature, "Made in Cheshire" to my mum, Esther David.
May she live in eternal peace and happiness in Heaven.
I hope that when I write future articles she will look down and continue to enjoy them.