Abandoning Paradise

Chapter Five     Crossing England

Roaming Around Stockport

Time melts like an ice cream but today lefty has both. He suggested going out to see some places in the area and this was a wonderful idea.  He let me use a walking stick his father had made and that let me walk much more easily so off we went.

I'm not sure if lefty was born in Stockport but he has been here since he was a boy and I'm envious to a point as I have been when I have met people who have lived largely in one place. That permanence makes for tremendous, long-term relationships and I've enjoyed the privilege of moving around a lot but long-term has never meant much because of it.

In case I'm leaving the impression lefty is stodgy and never goes anywhere, ask him about his ouzo-fueled jams in Greece, one of which resulted in inadvertently revealing the lefty backside to most or all of the people in a Greek cafe.

Our objective was Alderley Edge, almost a cliff that was created at the farthest extent of the glaciers from one of the Ice Ages.  The Ice Age is not mentioned in the Wiki but that's the story as lefty told it to me.  There is an ancient history here that goes back at least to Roman times in the Third Century.

Wiki:  Alderley Edge

I can't say specifically what is different about the English countryside from fields and trees anywhere but it is very beautiful to me. It triggers memories I shouldn't have and some must come from books or movies but who knows how much my family wandered around here and how much of that comes down over generations.

We are up a good distance here and just in front me is a sharp vertical drop of maybe twenty or thirty meters to where the trees in the foreground are growing and then it slopes for a good way beyond that. At one time everything in view was covered in ice to some enormous depth and this is where it stopped.

Manchester is in the distance with Liverpool beyond that but it's back here that you'll find the headwaters of the River Mersey which was the subject of a song by Gerry and the Pacemakers in the early sixties. Today Britain is giving us some horrendously-awful boy bands but Liverpool gave us The Beatles and many of the great bands of rock.

Here I am at Alderley Edge. You know by now I don't post many Here I Am pictures but lefty took this one as I seem to have become one damaged motor traveler. There is no new damage but riding the scooter puts almost no strain on my foot so it hasn't been giving much trouble. After I had been putting my weight on it for a while, it stopped cooperating. Apparently something is broken but the walking stick lefty loaned me is very helpful. The damage is annoying but won't stop anything.

From Alderley Edge we went to Bramall Hall, a huge Tudor manor house where Henry VIII is said to have stayed at least once.

Wiki:  Bramall Hall

Bramall Hall is in the Domesday Book so it goes back far enough to have a tremendous history behind it.  For a considerable part of its life, Bramall Hall was owned by the Davenports one of whom was favored by Henry VIII for his attacks on Scotland including being a part of burning Edinburgh.  He was knighted in Scotland for his efforts and this seems a bit unusual but so the history goes.

The view of the estate shows there are large ponds that have been created for fishing and the surrounding forest would have been excellent for hunting pheasant, deer, etc.  There's a road coming across the bridge over part of a pond and it comes all the way up to the manor.

Now visualize Henry VIII and his entourage riding up that road toward Bramall Hall along with all the royal pomp that must have entailed. It's not so difficult to visualize the procession as I stand here and I've felt more history in a few days in England than I've felt in all the rest of my life.

The above is not entirely true as I've felt a great sense of history throughout Europe, particularly in Greece, but here it is more personal and this is extraordinary as I have never really seen any of it before. It's not possible as I was only one year old when we left.

It was charming to see quite a number of schoolchildren hanging about there and these aren't anywhere near the only ones.  Bramall Hall is much more than a museum.

lefty and I wandered about and this was a very pleasant time as it has been very nice and warm. There are great concerns in England over temperatures that are running to 30C and sometimes higher.  Although it's difficult if you're not accustomed to it, I love it.  After Greece, 30C is a warm day and getting close to swimming weather. In England it's a dangerous heat wave.

lefty has said I'm due for a 'landing' and that's more like a crash landing as the temperature will drop and I'll be crying but I'm sure enjoying it now.  I shouldn't say anything and risk jinxing my travels but I haven't got wet yet and I may just make it to Edinburgh without a soaking.  We shall see.

I'm just hanging about for a few days with lefty and Mrs lefty as they're charming people and it's lovely to have this time to spend with them.  After coming nearly three thousand kilometers, it's quite nice to hang about with friends before pushing on with the final segment of the journey.  I had never met Mrs lefty or even knew much about her but she couldn't be nicer and she and lefty have been so wonderfully hospitable.  The only worry here is overstaying my welcome.

Mrs lefty even washed my clothes and I thanked her but she said the washing machine did it.  I told her, well, the washing machine didn't dry them and she said the sun did it.  This is how they are, lovely people.

Right now the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival is taking place and that would have been pretty cool but I wouldn't have missed this time with lefty and Mrs lefty for anything.

From here, near Manchester, it will be two days to get to Edinburgh so I will definitely be there within the week but there is no chance I will be leaving quite yet.

Kevin Farrell / Darren Poyzer - Live at The Ship Inn in Lathom on Sunday

At first I thought my timing was not so good as Kevin and Darren did not have any gigs scheduled so I would miss the opportunity to see them playing out.  But that has just changed and they will be playing tomorrow at The Ship Inn in Lathom which looks to be WNW from Manchester.  They say it's a pub and it looks like a pretty swanky place.  Take a look at The Ship Inn.

Many times I've seen them posting gig announcements online showing where they would be playing and I have thought how cool it would be to attend a performance so here's my chance.  I will probably take the laptop and the iPad as they have WiFi and the iPad can be used to capture video with fairly reasonable audio.  This is one very rare treat and I'm really looking forward to it.

So I'll stay on through Monday morning and roll then for Edinburgh.  It should take two days to cover about three hundred and fifty kilometers but the coverage won't stop there as, at a minimum, I want to bring Edinburgh Castle to you and who knows what else.

The adventure continues.

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