Now that I have a new machine, I have no excuse for not turning out on club runs, so I determined to honour (?) them with my presence this afternoon, for only the second time this year. The rendezvous was the ‘Beehive Hotel’, 2.30pm, so off I toddled via Deane and Lostock to the said pub, where was a goodly crowd. After being hailed as the returned prodigal, I was button-holed by a lady member and asked to buy a Rally badge. One can hardly refuse, although I did register a silent vow that at the Rally I should be conspicuous by my absence. I am no lady’s man, and have a horror of crowds, for, as Stevenson wrote:
‘All I ask is the heaven above,
And the road before me…’
Anyway, at 3pm we got started, and slowly wended our way to Horwich, now joining the Chorley road to the Millstone Inn, where we turned uphill to Heath Charnock. The rough setts of Limbrick and Cowling were duly crashed over, then a pretty easy run down to Walton le Dale brought us across the River Ribble and into Preston. I found the road via Moor Park much smoother than the other through suburbia, gaining the North road at Fulwood, from where we kept to the main road for two or three miles until, turning into the pretty bylanes, we soon reached our destination. Before tea we entered the church, which, though old, has been greatly restored until inside, little of its former self remains. In the churchyard, a boulder represents the gravestone of ‘Meg Sheldon’, the last of the Lancashire Witches (grain of salt, please). It is on record that old Meg was buried feet downwards as was the custom with these hags, but she scratched her way out, so she was buried head downwards next time so that should she scratch again, she would go deeper, and the boulder was placed over the spot to ensure her permanent residence there! (a large handful of salt this time!).
After tea, someone produced a football, and a hot game ensued, during which the ball took a morbid delight in going over the hedges. A small party of us started back earlier, reaching the main road at Broughton, and then traversing the usual route via Preston, Walton le Dale and Whittle to Cowling and Heath Charnock, then Horwich and the New Road home.