Hmmm hmmm hmmm

Burlton to Acton Bridge

Before we leave the Burlton Inn, which is truly lovely, a thought about the process of leaving and packing. Or rather packing and leaving. The items we carry are essentially clothes, wet weather gear, toiletries and in Keith’s case tools, and in mine medical things, especially the midge bag. Also food. Lots of that. 

So each group of things is in its own plastic bag. And now , following expert advice, all clothing is in one pannier, all others in the other – and money, phone and en route in the bar bag, also known as the pork pie pouch as it holds two pork pies very neatly. 

A place for everything, and everything in its place as they used to say on the narrow boats, and Keith might like the rule to be applied more often at home. 

Leaving Burlton in a rather leisurely manner just after nine we covered the distance to Malpas, through loppington and near wem in remarkable time. 

I went on pack holiday with the brownies in malpas and remember very little of it except I’d told brown owl I loved onions (I even got a record of Julie Christie singing ‘I love onions’ for a birthday  around that time) and was given a massive plate of onions cooked in a different way to mum’s.  they smelt funny. 

Also mum dad and Ruth came to visit during the week. Dad bought a packet of crisps for each brownie. Can you imagine? 

We didn’t pass the hall where we spent the holiday today. But I was amused too see how gentrified Malpas has become. There are no coops, or spar shops. Every business name is a kind of coy twist on a theme. The dog house, (pet shop), the shearing shed (hairdressers) and so forth. Which reminds me of a shop I saw in Chepstow. Mint and mustard. What was that selling for goodness sake? Clothes? I doubt it? Ice cream? Unlikely. 

Back to malpas. The coffee shop was great, lovely to sit outside and chat to two cyclists from Wrexham, the lady of whom had broken her elbow last December but had just returned from cycling the length of Sardinia (hilly and hot).     V impressive. 

I had a thought. One of our afternoon pub stops recently featured a slightly overweight dog, a black Labrador, which languidly waddled to our table. K greeted said dog with the observation ‘ I bet you eat too many peanuts’. On asking why he should make such a comment to a dog, he laughed wryly and muttered something I couldn’t quite catch about taking one to know one. I wondered whether this  jockey we saw in malpas has eaten a lot of peanuts too.   Beeston castle is impressively high standing as it does on a rocky outcrop on the Cheshire plain, matched rather inadequately by peckforton castle , a folly, built at the other end of the ridge. It must have been a tremendous defensive position and I think as I did with Tintern Abbey two days ago what events these silent and decayed yet still awesome buildings must have witnessed. 

For me Beeston  brings memories of Sunday school outings, and trips on the fAmily boat.   Beeston locks were presided over by a wild eyed  bearded lock keeper with sandals tied on with string. The mechanics of the staircase lock defied many a hire boat user, and he was mot above showing his disdain. Beeston castle across the fields. 

A gentle lunch at a canal side pub set us up for the afternoon climbing around Kelsall. A Circuitous route but avoiding some of the very fast traffic that tears around the lanes, exacerbated by roadworks on the Acton Bridge, a main route over the River Weaver, which many people seemed to be trying to avoid. 

Only a mile from our destination we paused to let a couple of MAMILs pass us when one of their chains broke. Guess who had the missing took? Our man in yellow, of course. #proudofyou Keith. 

Whilst  john mended his chain (with Keith’s tools and thoughtfully provided marigold gloves)  Steve regaled us with tales of one of his friends who holds the world record for the end to end. One day 18 hours apparently. Bet he didn’t have half as much fun as us. 

Great evening with Ruth and John at the retro restaurant of the Holly Bush Inn, where Ruth exchanged my bag of xs clothes etc for some antichafing cream. Isn’t that what friends are for? 

North to Lancashire tomorrow. That sounds cold and hilly. 

Smells today were mainly fumes: cars, tractors, boat engines. 

Sounds were mechanical: traffic, hedge trimmers, lawn mowers. And laughter this evening. 

And laughter when we noticed the LGBGT duck. Again, another story. 

Miles: 45 (378.2 cumulative) 

Tantrums: 0

Ascent: 2100

Mechanical issues: -1 (cos we helped others)

Pints: 1

Pages read: you know I’d forgotten I’d got the book with me! (Cumulative 67)

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