Archive for March, 2008
We haven’t been zedding for a while because of the inclement weather (except for an afternoon when we walked down some back streets and discovered what appeared to be a mysterious cult, but that’s a story for another time). But yesterday we decided to brave the weather anyway, as there were bits of sunshine in between the squalls of snow.
We had received a challenge from my friend Liz: she’d picked a page number at random and told us to ‘do’ it. It turned out that page 39 is right out in the wilds beyond the outer ring road, so we decided to cheat and go there by car. But it was a green car from Whizzgo:
It has to be said that page 39 didn’t look very inspiring, except for some rather pleasing place names like Back o’Th’Moss and Captain Fold and Hooley Bridge. (It seems that everywhere in the Rochdale area is on top o’th’ something or next to th’ something. There’s a place called Top o’th’ Dog which we’ll have to visit, but it wasn’t on page 39, alas. Another favourite is ‘Summit’. As in, ‘What’s over there?’ ‘Just summat.’
So we weren’t getting our hopes up too much, and were prepared to pay attention to minor details as we entered Heywood on page 39. Like the fact that many of the houses round there have their end wall covered in slate tiles:
Never seen this anywhere else in the UK. Anyone know why they do it?
And we were taking a picture of a picturesque derelict brewery
when we had an exciting surprise. We heard a whistling noise and discovered, a bit further down the road:
Turns out a steam railway runs right through page 39! On its way to Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall. So we got to photograph a big steam engine in amongst the industrial estates of Heywood.
The station consisted of two Portakabins, but they’d painted them in proper period livery and put up old lamps and clocks and everything:
It even had cobbles, which I found very pleasing although Marie is too Northern to be wowed by them. And also a dog on a wall, which she wasn’t too Northern to be pleased by:
To be fair, we could have gone home then, and Liz and page 39 would still have done us proud. But we ventured on. To our first trespass. OK, Marie kind of invaded an office block that once, but it didn’t have a big sign saying ‘Keep Out’ peppered with what might have been bullet holes:
This was Crimble Mill, on the river Roch to the north of Heywood. A spectacularly grim old building with accompanying industrial wasteland:
The road became so bumpy here that I feared for the little Whizzgo car, so we trespassed on foot to take some photos. Turns out it was a good thing we weren’t in a vehicle:
We liked the idea of confiscating someone’s vehicle without warning. Could be a bit surprising if they did it while you were still riding your bike. Fortunately, we didn’t come back to our little Whizzgo car to find a burly copper making off with it under his arm.
We went driving up and down country lanes after that in search of more interesting stuff. There was a nice old chapel with a pretty Easter cross at Bamford – which we mention here not because it’s interesting, but because we want to tick off the square:
You may be bored by now, but wait, the best is yet to come.
We got very, very lost on the lanes. So lost that – shameful to say – WE LEFT THE A TO Z. We figure we’re still allowed to talk about this because we were just off the top of page 25. We eventually realised we were up on Ashworth Moor, where there were some impressive turbines that we’d been admiring in the distance earlier:
There was a pretty reservoir:
There were so many cars parked next to it that we thought we’d discovered an event – a mass ramble, a race meeting, a whippet-fanciers’ club outing, I don’t know. However, it was a traditional Lancashire burger van. Selling mysterious traditional Lancashire delicacies:
Now Marie lived in Lancaster for years and had never heard of black peas, and I was having disturbing visions of League-of-Gentlemen-style local food for local people. But Marie decided to live on the wild side. (She wants it to be known that she is the Trespasser Extraordinaire and the Eater of Black Peas.) There was an exciting tension in the air as we waited by the van, trying not to let on that we had no idea what exactly it was we’d just ordered, in case people realised we were foreigners. (I was watching the woman prepare them, whispering a commentary to Marie: ‘She’s putting them in the microwave… They come with a spoon…’)
As you can see, Marie ate half of a serving of this van’s renowned peas before she even stopped to photograph them:
Googling afterwards, we found a very learned article on Wikipedia which we can report was accurate in every important detail:
Black peas are commonly found at fairgrounds and mobile food counters. They are traditionally eaten from a cup with salt and vinegar. They can be served hot or cold, the former being especially so in the winter months. At fairgrounds they are served in thick white disposable cups and are eaten with a spoon. Many people fail to re-create the same taste black peas provide when bought at a funfair.
On the way back we stopped at Heaton Park, a very pleasant country park in North Manchester, mainly because we noticed in the A to Z that it had a ‘Papal Monument’ and we wanted to know what one of those looked like. And why it was there. Turns out it’s a big rock marking where the Pope came and did some stuff once:
This was a big Mass as part of JPII’s 1982 UK tour. I didn’t see him (I believe he played Coventry), but I do remember having a commemorative Ladybird book about it.
Heaton Park also has a rather large piece of an old town hall, which the good people of Manchester loved too much to get rid of:
And there was a funfair, which was a little melancholy since not many people had braved the icy wind and snow:
Heaton Hall, at the centre of the park, was also a bit sad:
At this point, the snow became too much for us. We headed for home. As a pleasing postscript, we noticed this graffiti just up the road from where we returned the car in the Northern Quarter:
And then we untipped Marie’s cow and went home for tea.
Location: Heywood, Heaton Park
A to Z:
Heywood: page 39 squares G4, G1, H1, H2, E1, E2
Bamford etc: page 25 squares H6, G5, G6
Heaton Park: page 67 squares H5, page 68 squares A5, A4
Getting there: Whizzgo (or get a tram to Bury and a steam train to Heywood!)
Squares this expedition: 12
Running total: 25