I think that when the elements are against one, and the going difficult, Charlie is inclined to exaggerate the distances involved. Interestingly he speaks of reaching the ‘main road’ which with my detailed knowledge of the area (living just two miles away) could only have been Georges Lane, which in those days would have been cobbled, being part of the Leverhulme estate.
The Bungalow was a wooden construction burnt down in 1913 by Edith Rigby, a militant suffragette, the wreckage then being replaced by a stone building, but by the date of Charlie’s ‘walk in the snow’ Lord Leverhulmes days were numbered as he died in 1925. After standing empty for many years the bungalow was demolished in 1947.
Incidentally, the wonderful – but overgrown – Japanese gardens at Rivington, left by Lord Leverhulme – he created them – have just received a £3.4 million Lottery Heritage grant to make them more accessible.
Well the two of them out today did their bit for King and Country by observing the 2 minute silence to remember the fallen on the 5th anniversary of the Great War. Little did they or any of the other worshippers anticipate that the Great War to end all wars would be as nothing compared with the aggression of the German Reich a few years later.
But on a much lighter note, they thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the day, which must have included a lot of Autumn sunshine.
It is interesting to see Charlie’s comments that in his opinion Leigh had ‘dirty crowded streets’. Mind you, Charlie couldn’t stand motorcars either, he always tried to avoid them. His trusty ‘two bob Lucas’ front lamp also comes in for comment, which needs I feel a comment also from me. As you will have read, he originally started riding without being a local member of the CTC. It would seem that he ‘upgraded’ if that is the correct word, to an acetylene front lamp, but we don’t know the reasons why. It could have been financial of course, or maybe acetylene gave a better light. I have no idea how the old batteries were priced, because that might have had a bearing on the matter as well.
Now, absolutely nothing to do with Charlie, but my father between the two wars had a small business at one time, using a motor bike and sidecar, the sidecar being a substantial wooden box in which he collected discharged glass sided accumulators (lead acid batteries) by which people without mains electricity – the majority of householders at that time – could power up their radio receivers. He ran a weekly service of collecting discharged batteries, charging them up in a shed, and returning them a week later so that everyone had two batteries per radio, one always away being charged. A history lesson for you !
Charlie complains of the cold on another evening run. As well he might, if you look at the photographs of these intrepid cyclists, and of the clothes they routinely wear, anyone would feel cold, skimpy jackets (no zips to tighten under the chin in those days) and made of alpaca indeed. Those guys were tough, with the emphasis on tough !
He tells us he is mentally back in North Wales on this late night ride in the dark. I think he was.
Incidentally, I have been pondering how they could go paddling last (10th January) time they were on the Wirral. I believe I have the answer. They regularly speak of having a ‘wash and brush-up’ when arriving at cafes and before eating. This I understand, because in those days not all the roads were sealed with tar or macadam, so that there was a lot of dust about. But they would have needed to carry towels, would they not, in order to have a wash.
That brings me to the conclusion that a hasty decision to go paddling would not have left them with feet they could not dry!
Quite an interesting day this, a mixture of churchyards and floods. The churchyards make the best reading in my humble opinion - but the floods seemed quite extensive. As I pen these words at Christmas 2015, flooding almost everywhere in the UK is rampant and we must feel really sorry for all the residents in these flooded locations – it is a truly dreadful business.
Charlie’s occasional references to the house at Turpin Green that the infamous highwayman frequented from time to time, I just wonder whether he had family living there, perhaps even his parents, or more intriguing, perhaps a fair maid who wore a stunning perfume – I don’t suppose we will ever know.
Postscript: I have just looked up the name of Dick Turpin on Wikipedia and Mr Turpin never came near Lancashire. Its all a long tale, you can read it on Wiki for yourselves.
Charlie and his two friends managed to avoid the worst of the storm in the old Army hut doubling as a cafe, in Lymm. Timing is everything on a bike, and this time they get it, and the tailwind to take them home, spot on !
A solo tour today is unusual in itself for Charlie, but he puts the day to good use, racking up 130 miles. Does anyone remember the old steelworks at Carnforth? That must account for the extensive railway sidings there in which some of these heritage railway companies now park their rolling stock. For a time, more recently, it was open to the public as a railway museum, but that closed several years ago.
Now the main claim to fame of Carnforth is that the railway station was the setting for the much mentioned film, Brief Encounter. And Charlie really enjoys his trip to Arnside, a veritable trip down the memory lane of his youth.