A sashay from Venetian Marina to Aqueduct Marina

Last time I took the camera out for a walk it was to Barbridge Junction, yesterday I strolled in the opposite direction to Aqueduct Marina. A slightly longer stroll, and one with much more mud than is probably healthy for a chap in his prime to squelch through.

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To get out of Venetian Marina on foot requires a quick hop up the lane and a totter across the lock, since the towpath is kept on the opposite side (the opposite side of everything). Just as I fell through the gate I noticed that fuel boat Halsall was heading up the lock, so my cross-country swagger began with a sit-down for a spot of video recording. The engine in Halsall is a Sodbucket 244 or a Wartburg Glowbulb or something historic, hence the rather nice, if somewhat improbable sound it makes.

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These boats slog up, down and around the canal system, each with its own territory, flogging immensely useful stuff such as diesel, gas, coal and even lavvy contents disposal.

Yesterday was probably the deepest, darkest, dullest grey day since at least the day before, and where on my previous documented stroll I saw two humans, on this trip I saw one little vignette of life at the lock, and then nothing, zip, zilch, da nada until I got to Aqueduct Marina. There wasn’t even any wildlife about. Previously I’ve spotted foxes and suchlike, but today, the occasional rabid sparrow aside, the canal was deserted.

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Ordinarily this length of the canal is awash with at least Horace’s Funicular Swans and Ventaxia Web-foot Crow, but I suppose that they’ve all flown to Cannes for the winter. The reds, golds and yellows of autumn are long gone, leaving only the skidmark browns and gangrenous greens of winter behind. The palette was very much winter’s behind.

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This is a footpath that goes nowhere in particular, as far as I could make out. It links one field via a stile to another via a snogging-gate. Perhaps it was busier back in the day.

The mud of the towpath was of the variety that builds up on and around the old footwear, until each step required the lifting of several tons of clod. At one point during my walk I had collected so much weight on my boots that I stopped and checked, and I could indeed lean forward until I was nose-to-ground, and backwards until the split ends of my quiff were in danger, and all without moving my feet. I was a Weeble. I could wobble but I could not fall over. Oh, happy days. In my extreme dotage, as in my youth, one takes one’s fun where one finds it.

How may you tell whether you’re looking at the young me or the old me? Very simply. In my youth I was never seen without my pet brick in tow (when I could steal sufficient fuzzy string for a lead), whereas now Bricky McBrickarse too is old and spends most of his days asleep in his basket. I walk alone.

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Bridge 7.

I blessed Bridge 7.

Well, it was more of a “baptism”, really. When a chap has to go, he has to go: a litre of breakfast coffee will out. In nomine Patris et fillii et Spiritus Sancti, etcetera, etcetera, except that I didn’t use my fingers and I fashioned a short-lived, damp pentangle as a sign that I had passed.

Had I consumed two litres of freshly ground Machu Pichu I might have added “Kilroy Woz Ere”, but while the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak, and I could not.

Talking of coffee, and a large plate of “elevensies” chips, I made my target the café at Aqueduct Marina. If my military days taught me anything, they taught me that if you connect the red wire to the blue wire then the missile usually goes off like a bat out of hell. They also taught me that folk march best with a target in mind. Coffee and chips it was.

There is, of course, a slightly icky side to most things in life, and in this case the ick of the y was that access to the marina may only be gained via some very dodgy roadwork, including the notorious “Run, Forrest, run for your life!” bridge – wide enough for one and a half cars, all of which in every direction take their chances at “Cheshire Normal”, or “80mph and the Devil take the pedestrians as well as the hindmost”.

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You can see where a track has been worn by desperate pedestrians. At least with the hedge there was somewhere to fling oneself into, when speeding Aston met tractor, or whatever. I flung, and I survived, but I do wish that Aqueduct would build a footbridge so that access might be gained directly from the towpath.

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Chips and coffee. Splendid they were, too.

You can tell that the chips are good when a Hutson is prepared to walk a damned near six-mile round trip for them. Yum, yum, take that Mr Government Chief Medical Officer’s advice.

Of course, the return trip was longer than the outward bound, and the bridges were more difficult to get under, word having been passed from Bridge 7 and they were all gunning for me.

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This is the long and winding road:

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At this time of year it has all of the charm of a ditch filled with muddy water, but I still loves it.

“Trudge” was a word that sprang to mind as I made my coffee & chips-laden way home.

Conjugate “trudge”. I trudge, you trudge, we trudgeon, they trudgeth…

Still, the exercise did me good. Again.

Chips and coffee, eh? I think I may well wander along there again today.

Chin-chin.

IGH.

9 Comments

  1. Pat McDonald says:

    Ah, a bracing walk to coffee and chips, now that is a language I understand. I did wonder though, is sitting at the side of a waterway filming the chugging barge the maritime equivalent of train spotting? As always the photographic memoir is professional. Only a shame there was no passing sheep to take a picture of the weeble effect! I suggest obtaining a selfie stick for such occurrences and resorting to taking the pic on your mobile if indeed you have such a facility! Splendid, keep up the good walks/works.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pat McDonald says:

    I fink I just found it only it says Leave a reply, which doesn’t seem to be attached to the current page – is this it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ian Hutson says:

      This is it, ma’am, this is all that there is, all that there was and all that there will ever be… oh, hang on, were you asking about the page rather than asking the big existential question? Cogito, ergo I’m confused. Damn! Nanny? Nanny? What dose am I currently on? Is it enough, do you think, or should I go back to two tablespoonsful a day? Nanny? What are you doing with that hypodemic nerdle, Nanny? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lilo Huhle-Poelzl says:

    Hurray! It worked. So here is my comment:

    Your walk along this canal is exactly what I needed to lower my blood pressure (and production of gall) after watching the news this morning and seeing our somewhat democratic U.S. being rapidly turned into a fascistic dictatorship with a high probability for a WWIII.

    Let’s enjoy our beautiful earth (even where muddy) as long as we have it. It might soon be left to insects, who, as I understand, are more resilient to radiation than mammals.

    Hail Trump!–Excuse me. We might not be quite there yet for this greeting to be compulsory, but it shouldn’t be long.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ian Hutson says:

      Worry not, for while you were all marching and shouting and wotnot, some of our agents sneaked in and took all of the firing pins out of your nukes… 😉 As you say, we are privileged indeed to live in such interesting times!

      Like

  4. Lilo Huhle-Poelzl says:

    I’d leave a comment if I could get past signing up for WordPress. (Got signed up once, but didn’t seem to work any more.) So this is a test.

    Like

  5. Can’t think why they won’t deliver Ian 😄😄😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ian Hutson says:

      Businesses have no imagination these days – one employee on a company bicycle, it would take them no time at all to deliver veggie burger, chips and mushy peas to me! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’d save a fortune on boot polish 😄

        Liked by 1 person

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