It is quite obvious that Charlie in particular and Tom Idle keep turning down little lanes to see where they lead, not always with any success to record ! But although it was extremely windy, and the clouds were black, the rain stayed away until after tea. But Winter is coming lads, with big boots perhaps ? No lighting problems tonight at least. Just another 90 miles clocked up !
Here is Charlie recording the first reference to things being ‘very cold’ for this coming winter. Mid November Charlie, you are going to have to get used to it for the next few months. But I must say, these guys had a superb amount of patience. After discarding his ‘two Bob Lucas’ front lamp a few weeks ago, he seems to be forever stopping at night to clean his carbide lamp and add more clean water. I was once punished at school as the ink monitor who inadvertently put carbide in the teachers inkwell. Now how on earth could I have made a mistake like that ? I was always in some sort of trouble.
Another one of Charlie’s early illustrations in his Journal for 1924. He depicts the pub at Grappenhall, which is still a pub and by all accounts quite a popular eating spot. It is situated in a little backwater and behind the pub, some little distance perhaps, is the Bridgewater Canal, the precursor to the mighty Manchester Ship Canal which came along about a hundred years later.
A Magic Lantern slide show – by Wayfarer ! On a Saturday night in Bolton the air at that meeting must have been electric. Much better than silent black and white films, the only alternative in town. It is fitting that Charlie should, years later, have been Chairman of the Rough Stuff Fellowship Committee tasked with erecting a monument to the memory of Wayfarer, on one of his famous rough stuff crossings – ‘Over the Top’ – in the Berwyn mountains in North Wales. But that is all to come in the future.
Shock, Horror, a large rat makes an appearance today, not scheduled I am sure. Goodness knows what Charlie made of it we don’t know, not sure that it is the sort of thing that could happen often in one’s life. All you slow puncture sufferers make sure when you use water to test the source of the leak that the stream is clear of other residents ! It does read that a good day was enjoyed by Charlie and Tom. I have to tell you that Tom Idle fades from the picture in future years, he started ‘walking out’ with a certain Blodwen Meirion Williams, presumably someone he met on a cycling run, the wedding was in Llangollen but not till 1931, so Tom is not going anywhere soon, we can all rest easy.
I love this illustration, of nowhere in particular I am sure, but doesn’t it capture the sort of world that Charlie inhabits and which most of us have consigned to memory. I am itching to travel along the path he has drawn, but it will all have changed in the intervening 93 years. Oh gosh !
So he doesn’t set out until 11.30am, and yet he storms around all his favourite places, thoroughly enjoying himself and getting loads of autumn views. The bit I liked was the bit about the several airplanes causing grazing cattle to stampede, nothing like that happens nowadays, the planes would have to land in the field before any cows would even notice. And as Charlie says, he managed to knock out a decent ride, well, he certainly did.
At times Charlie gets unreal. No-one else that I know would describe a 94 mile ride as a ‘potter’. Possibly because he describes the early part of the day as ‘windy and cold’ that he pottered fast enough to get a sweat on ! Anyway he doesn’t elaborate on the day at all, just whizzing round his old haunts.
This is the first of the pages already published earlier in 2016 but in which the sketches by Charlie Chadwick were not included because I didn’t know how to do it. This particular page is the first of 17 which had illustrations missing, and I shall be releasing them on Thursday mornings for the next 17 weeks. But don’t get spoiled, we will be going back to two releases per week after the 17 weeks have passed !
Strangely enough, I attended a works reunion recently which involved travelling along the A5209 and crossing over this bridge, and the old stone fence is still there, exactly as it was way back in 1924. The A5209 runs from Ormskirk to Junction 27 of the M6, and the bridge with these railings lies half a mile to the west of Junction 27, cutting in half a medium sized lake.
As life goes, nothing gets Lancastrians as excited as attending a Lancashire Potato Pie supper, or ‘Do’ as we prefer to call it. It is not as though it is some sort of national dish, for I don’t believe people who live in the south of Britain rave about our love for Potato Pies. Perhaps it is tied up with hard-up times in the past, when things were decidedly difficult for ordinary folks like us. Nothing to do with the cotton trade then ? After all Lancashire was part and parcel of the Industrial Revolution, was it not, and life got very hard for the poor hand loom weavers. Interestingly, one of my cycling friends of very long standing actually lives in an original hand loom weavers cottage, there is no mistaking it, the increased height of one of the rooms was to accommodate the extra height of the loom.