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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
This is the long and winding road:
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.