Bury and Bolton – An Annual Pilgrimage

Goodbye Wales and back to England. The day is dull, damp and grey. Oh the joys of caravanning in the winter. The roads are kind to us and the traffic flows easily. The roads towards the North West display their industry proudly in the mizzly gloom. Roads become familiar very quickly even though we are still miles from our destination. The North West was my home for forty years and still feels welcoming. It’s very different to where we live now, the one thing I don’t miss is the traffic. Wall to wall traffic. Never ending sets of traffic lights, sitting waiting for the green light… Home and work are very different now.

Burrs CAMC Site is to be our home for the next five nights. Not much in the way of sight seeing for this part of the trip, more visiting family and friends and revisiting places that we once knew like the back of our hands. Oh, and we need to start taking pictures of Dennis, the Koala, for Jellybean#2 … something to do with work … School teacher, you see.

Hunger strikes and we head to Pizza Express for tea courtesy of Tesco Clubcard. Sitting right at the back of the restaurant facing out we settle ourselves to do a bit of people watching. Couples, colleagues, friends and families all sit chatting, eating and messing with their phones. Background music struggles to compete with the constant chatter which seems to be amplified by high ceilings, lack of soft furnishings and the general openness of the room. Children from the other side of the restaurant scrape chairs and squeal, laughter from the couple near the window. Meanwhile a family make their way towards us and sit at the next table, a moody looking teenager never takes her eyes off her phone as she trails behind, navigating her way through tables and chairs. She sits right next to me, turns up the volume, orders a coke and food, all without looking up. The Boss said he hoped her food arrives before ours, it did, but alas, she managed to eat one handed whilst skillfully operating her mobile with the hand that should have been holding a knife. We understand it’s not PC to slap your children these days … what about other peoples.

We need a new caravan step, our last one has give up trying to support us. Recalling the shop we always considered our first port of call as tent campers many years ago, we set off towards Radcliffe to regain the sense of wonder it used to generate. After two minutes looking round a drab, damp shop with staff glued to mobiles we decided to ask, “Do you sell the XXX caravan steps”, “No, we have to order them before we can get them”… useful.

On the way back The Boss swings the car onto Gigg Lane. I leave him alone for the next bit. This is the home of his Football team, Bury FC. He supported them home and away for many years and said it was the hardest thing he left behind when we relocated to the South of England in 2006. He still holds a Lifetime Season Ticket to this day, purchased for £2,000 back in the 90s when we were very poor.

After 134 years playing on the very same field, Bury FC have this season been thrown out of the Football League. It’s a long story but he will often say it was, wrong, criminal and premeditated. One person should not be able to ruin a community asset. There is no reason to come here today, oddly, it’s 2.55pm on a Saturday, only, today it isn’t ‘buzzin’. He just wanted to come here one more time, he took some pictures but felt like he was somehow intruding .. on nothing .. and needed to come away.

As stated earlier, this stop on the current tour was to see family and friends. Much love to Annette and Chris who drove all the way down from the other side of Preston just to spend a couple of hours chatting as we walked their dog and had drinks in the local ‘Caff’, thank you. Also, thanks to Oniss and Karen for inviting us over for the evening, hopefully we’ll see both couples next season on site.

So, not really a holiday on this part of the tour. We have caught up with the family, revisited our old haunts and sat at red traffic lights every three or four seconds. Time to move on, over’th’ill into Yorkshire and open space again. We’re back on our holidays tomorrow.

Other blogs related to this trip

Time To Tour

The Lights of Broadway

A Date with Lady Margaret and a Desire to Cuddle People

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