Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 62. Knee Deep.

VBW has entered Cheshire, the penultimate county, and tonight we are staying at the home of Big Tone and Mu in Congleton.

I had a last minute change of plan this morning and ditched the idea of walking back to the Trent and Mersey Canal, and continuing northwards by that route. Instead, I walked through the Potteries towns of Fenton, Hanley, Burslem and Tunstall, to Kidsgrove, where I joined the Macclesfield Canal to Congleton.

The statue of the incomparable Stanley Matthews is in the middle of Hanley. The Leopard Hotel is in Burslem.

When I first came to live in the Potteries, Stoke on Trent was celebrating its first 50 years as a city. It was struggling to live up to that title. It was almost impossible to get a meal after 6 pm. Now, the posters are up, proclaiming the 100 years celebration. As Ray Bonneville sings – “Where did it go – the time I mean?” And Hanley in particular seems to be knee-deep in eateries.

I managed to get a haircut at Goldenhill. The young man had been forced out of his business in Congleton by the introduction of parking charges which caused a disappearance of the genus Clientus Barberus. I walked out of the shop and was on my way when he came running after me with my spectacles. I always take these off when having a haircut because of all the little bits of hair which otherwise cling to them. What I don’t understand is how I managed to find my way through the door without them. I hadn’t even noticed they were missing! I am sure that crashing into the first lamp post would have alerted me to the problem.

In Kidsgrove I made a slight diversion to visit my ex brother in law Ray, who I have not seen for well over 20 years. He seemed pleased to see me but neglected to mention the kettle.

On the Macclesfield Canal I met Graham Green, who was fishing for the first time in twenty years. He seemed to be rather hoping he would not catch anything, not wanting to gain his own pleasure at the expense of another creature. He seemed a delightful chap, and I am not just saying that because he gave me a £20 note for the fund.

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