White Coppice indeed. A gem of a hamlet, seldom mentioned, probably because it ends in a track, and in those days it would have involved a track to get there in the first place. But for those of you who enjoy an English game of village cricket, the green is so quaint and restful I can recommend a visit in the cricket playing season. Check the fixtures list beforehand though. A five star recommend this.
Readers of this website and the four published Charlie books will be well aware that Tom Idle is Charlie’s bosom pal. When I started to research Charlie Chadwick’s genealogy over 10 years ago I was very successful in establishing his family background and that of his wife Margaret – referred to in all his writings as Jo and introduced to me after the war as Peggy. I hope you are still with me ! Whenever I tried to research Tom Idle, I always drew a complete blank, as though he never existed. Over this Easter weekend I have had a breakthrough. I have found tucked away in Charlie’s logbook a brief reference to Charlie attending Tom’s wedding. And Charlie had stayed overnight in Llangollen.
I then went investigating and eventually found a record of the marriage between Thomas Idle and Bronwen Meirion Williams which had taken place in a small village up the Dee valley near Llangollen, called Llantysilio, St Tysilio on the 28 September 1931. Very tantalizing, but where do I go from here? I cannot find (to date) any other references to the Idle family, or perhaps the arrival of little Idle’s, and I know that my genealogy research is of the very basic kind. Tom Idle lived with his parents in the middle of Manchester, presumably until he got married, so my wife put to me that I should look there, but I cannot find anything, perhaps I am looking in the wrong place. In those years Manchester was part of Lancashire, but obviously close to Cheshire as well.
Neither did we ever have Charlie refer to Tom’s occupation, so no clues there, but the possibility of a ‘City Lad’ settling in the Welsh Valleys is also unlikely, so I am a bit stumped now. I would dearly like to trace any descendants of Thomas Idle and I know there are lots of amateur sleuths about who could perhaps have a quick way of tracing them. I’d love to know. Anyone wishing to pursue this appeal and wishing for more detail could contact me by email on: firstname.lastname@example.org David Warner
Charlie has always seemed to have set great store by what his stomach tells him, and we can all feel his concerns when he – for some time – cannot find their venue for this much anticipated Blowout of a Christmas Lunch. Eventually, all is well ! Found at last. He says the meal was a success but they were too full to enjoy the gramophone, preferring instead to climb a local hill called ‘The Cloud’. And it must have rankled that they were unable to do their tea ‘full justice’.
There is a special post tomorrow (Monday 28 March 2016) please look for it if you go straight to Tuesday’s release.
This is unspecified bike trouble but one wouldn’t want to speculate what sort of trouble because it would have to be one from a very long list. However, on a very windy day the best decision may well have been to walk to the tea venue as 25% of them did, and certainly to get round the fireside and play games until it was time to go home.
Having truly great views on a wet and slimy day is a great contrast, and Charlie got the best of it, it would seem. Its one of those odd contrasts you get in winter, damp but clear. I know the area well, but even I cannot place all the tracks he traversed. But not much else has changed in the intervening years, the mud is still there, possibly more slimy than ever.
Carbide has many uses, and cyclists seem to be familiar with most ! I cannot imagine how a terrific argument can possibly end with a bent crank, even if skidding played a part. I mean it is not easy to bend a crank, or it wasn’t in my day.
This Bolton CTC Section seems to be very well supported, with membership just about doubling, and very well organised. Electing four Vice Presidents instead of one is also to be praised. The offer to make a set of ‘cases’ to be placed at popular runs meeting places, I can reveal, were some glass showcases in which the forthcoming run details could be publicised. Who needs laptops and internet phones – people managed to organise themselves then, and could still now. Or is it me that is old-fashioned ?
Charlie paints a very vivid picture of the incredibly muddy roads, they sound so bad it is a wonder he actually ventures out. December is never a good month for this sort of thing, and of course what we don’t know is how many roads in those days had still to be sealed with tar or macadam for the very first time. He must have felt vindicated though when he returned to Bolton at night to discover they had had bad weather all day long.
Today was a rather long ride, especially allowing for the time of year and the quality of his bicycle. 140 miles in a day, in winter, is no small ask. These guys were tough. The day seems to have passed without incident, except where he records seeing some ferocious Oxen. I bet, a penny to a pound, that they would be Highland cattle, obviously not seen often in Cheshire!
I have often commented about the poor quality of tyres allowing so many punctures, in those early years, but you see here he makes the comment about a road being best passed over on paper rather than on tyres.
This was the sort of day where Charlie became infatuated with the different views presented to him, you know, the sort of day that is perfect for viewing ! And although he seems to fetch up in Cheshire almost every time he goes out, we seem today to be on parts that have not been visited before.
But times have moved on. The Willington Hall he is smitten with is now a Country House Hotel, specialising in weddings and corporate functions, but it still looks impressive and you can go and get inside without having to pay – well not unless you visit the bar ! Kelsborrow Castle he mentions is not anything to see above ground level, which is in the rear of a nursery, and the website for it has a lot of gossip about Roman roads and how the Romans determined the route. All guess work I’m afraid.