Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 64. Walking Backwards In The Rain.

We are camped next to the Warburton Toll Bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal. I know I have been on a bit of a nostalgia tour diversion for the past few days, but I had just had a nostalgia attack which took me completely by surprise. It was only as I approached the bridge that I made the connection. My first job was as a Radio Officer in the Merchant Navy – in fact I believe I may have been the youngest R/O in that service. My very first trip started in Manchester and, on the way to Canada, the M/V Manchester Spinner passed down the Ship Canal on its way to the sea. Of course the canal was built to link Manchester, then the world capital of cotton – King Cotton, as it was known – to the sea near Liverpool.

Earlier this morning, Gay drove me back to Wilmslow, where I finished yesterday’s walk. My route took me under the runways at Manchester Airport to Hale, where Gay and I once lived. After taking sustenance at Costa’s, and doing some proselytising for the cause, I passed through Dunham Park on the way to Warburton. Dunham Park is a National Trust Property – an old “stately home” in extensive grounds, with deer popping up behind every tree.

In Dunham Park I bumped into Sir James Anderton, the ex-Chief Constable of Manchester. We had a chat about what I am doing. He and his friend were fascinated by the VBW project and he urged me to write a book about it.

The chat took place in a brief interval in what was a pretty wet walk. Most of this week has been wet, in fact. Before that, there had been weeks of hot weather and a hose-pipe ban was instituted in the North-West of England only a few days ago. We are expecting a bonus for having changed things so dramatically. There has previously been some debate on this blog about a suitable theme song for VBW. I have been leaning towards “Walking in the rain.” Sir James Anderton, after I explained that I am walking backwards through my life from where I am now to where I started, reminded me that Spike Milligan sang “I’m walking backwards to Christmas”.

Distance covered was 24 kms. VBW total to date 1741 kms.

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