In which they do not discover a boggart
I recently became aware that Rosie, who I used to work with, has an unusual hobby. She goes A to Zedding with her boyfriend Doug.
It appears that they invented this hobby entirely themselves, or at least no one else has a website about it. They describe it pretty well on their site:
‘A-to-Zedding is much more than just a hobby. It’s an intellectual, spiritual and deeply personal pastime. The A-to-Zedder’s dream is to visit and gain a deep understanding of every “square” in their chosen A-Z map.’
Marie and I decided to give it a go, giving us a convenient excuse to explore Manchester a bit more thoroughly. If it doesn’t turn out to be a passing fad for us, we’ll make it a proper blog of its own, but for now I’m hosting the words and she’s hosting the pictures.
So we started last Sunday, by looking through the A to Z for somewhere to visit. (Discovering in the process that my A to Z is 15 years old, and narrowly avoiding heading out in search of a mill on the Mersey that no longer exists. I now have A to Z envy, since Marie’s is both spiral bound and was made in this century.)
From a number of places chosen principally for their amusing names, we narrowed it down to Boggart Hole Clough, a park in Blackley, a northern suburb of Manchester.
It’s a bit of a bus ride out of town, especially on a grey Sunday. On the way, we saw:
Then we found the clough, which is basically a mix of a country park with a city park. Country because it has a ravine running through it. (‘Clough’ is a local word for ravine, the helpful signs told us. They also said it was a ‘semi-wilderness’, which was stretching things somewhat.) City because it also has sports fields and a boating lake and graffiti and stuff.
It’s very pretty and, OK, a bit wild:
Our mission wasn’t just to look at the pretty woods, though. We’d been charged by to take a picture of a boggart. We took the search for signs of boggarts very seriously. (That’s me inspecting a suspected boggart-proof fence up there.)
We found several bridges, which looked like potential boggart holes (”look under the bridges that’s where they hide”):
We looked for boggarts under the first bridge and found none. When we found the bridge on the right, though, we realised no self-respecting boggart would have lived under the first one.
We walked for a while up the clough (well, along the side of it to be fair, but it sounds ruder this way). And we came to a boating lake with pointy-headed ducks on it, and a very ugly building beyond it (Marie thinks it looks like a comprehensive school, but the A to Z disagrees and the A to Z Does Not Lie (or hers doesn’t, anyway)):
We had a little rest and a smackerel of something. Bizarrely, the smackerel came wrapped in a treatise on love:
But this is an A to Zedding blog, not an excuse to join these fine people and start up a quotation marks protection society, so I shall desist. So, walking around the lake, we found a little boathouse, because finding things from the A to Z is the point.
There was even a little babby one!
Someone had put out bits of carrot for them, and once they realised we were just going to make high-pitched cooing noises and take photos from the far side of a fence rather than eating them, they went about their business as normal.
We had a debate over whether it’s best to do some research about a Zedding destination before or after attempting it. We did it afterwards this time, and found some interesting stories about boggarts. And cloughs. And beer:
So, that was our first Zedding trip. Watch this space to see if we can be arsed to do it again. I hope we can.
And do tell us if this is a self-indulgent ramble and we need to restrain ourselves when blogging our Zedding in future.
Location: Boggart Hole Clough, Blackley, Manchester
A to Z: page 83 squares G1, H1, G2, H2
Getting there: bus numbers 17 and 118 from the rochdale road. Use public tranport, plan your journey: www.gmpte.com