Rainy Manchester

‘Consternation today’ – Charlie’s words.  A letter from his friend Tom Idle carried the news that Tom was ill, in fact had been taken ill in North Wales.  So off Charlie goes to visit Tom at his parents home.  But Charlie’s cycling always takes precedence so a direct route is ruled out !  And the day ended in typical August weather.

Cafe or Bunk ?

So his regular cafe stop in Lymm was closed for good.  He managed to find a catering place a few miles further on at Poplar Farm.  He would be really annoyed if he saw Poplar Farm now.  Lying halfway betwixt the South of England and Scotland it is one of the biggest truck stops and bunkhouse in the UK, situated just at Junction 20 of the M6.

From little acorns mighty oaks grow…..

Short but Interesting

A local potter this Saturday, but a prelude for the CTC 24 hour standard ride, which Charlie declined to ride.  We know that he always felt inferior due to his somewhat ancient and heavy bike which he could not afford to change.  I can let you into a secret though – a new lightweight bike was to be his the following year, in April 1925.  Shh !

The French are in Town

Today Charlie has a ‘French Experience’ which sounds good but turns out to be more educational than profound.  Charlie here revels in the steep sided valleys which abound in this area.  The tiny church at Bleasdale comes in for a mention.  The track/path which winds down from the Church to what used to be a very popular cycling cafe (known as Toffee Jack’s in my day) was the location of a cycling accident here, probably in Charlie’s time.

A local farmer’s son was cycling down to the cafe, no doubt at speed, when he came off his bike and banged his head so hard on the pathway that he was instantly blinded.  That boy, unsighted, could not not in later life continue to live on a farm so finished up in a small terraced house in Blackburn, and I used to visit him each month to collect his insurance premiums for my father, who was an insurance agent.  But that blind man used to look forward to my visits, as by then I was old enough to have thoroughly cycled all over the area of his youth, and he would yarn away for hours given a modest audience.  I almost became his social worker.

Shropshire to Bolton

The return leg from yesterday was, he tells us, 5 miles shorter, but he did take a different route, which explains a lot.  If you like half-timbered houses then this days route is an absolute feast, and there is a feeling that in olden times, even up to the Industrial Revolution I should think, Shropshire was more heavily populated per square mile than many other northern Counties, due no doubt to the good growing qualities of Shropshire soil.

Bolton to Bishop’s Castle

This journey took place on the 3rd August 1924, and some of you will know or even remember that the August Bank Holiday used to be held on the first Monday of the month of August.  And thus today saw the appearance of the great ‘Charabanc Army’, much to Charlie’s disgust.  Fortune favoured us in that the need to use the lesser byways more gives us the beauty of the route, instead of the more likely main road ‘blind’.

It’s all Going on Today…

Quite a rough stuff sort of day, admirable in every respect and full of the enthusiasm I used to have !  Plenty of escapades today, and this all happened in the first part of today’s Journal entry.  So absorbing is the story, and its length, I have split the narrative into two parts.  (Patience is still a Virtue!)

Clearing a few things up

I may have mentioned before that Charlie has a habit of referring to Moel Fammou (but always spelt with two m’s) whereas Moel Famou with just the one ‘m’ occurs on current maps  Please allow both spellings.

Today – talk about early starts !  Late home is one thing Charlie, but really really early starts, surely they are only for the racing fraternity, and Charlie never did join their ranks.  Some of everything today, and a great ride.  155 miles.  These guys were fit.