17 days working at Burrs Country Park flew by in the blink of an eye. Having only worked March till November before, I toughed it out and carried on wearing my shorts. Not sure if that was a good idea or not, the weather we’ve had has been inclement to say the least. I suppose skin dries faster than trousers.
One of our first mornings we woke to the most beautiful sunrise, should’ve remembered the saying we made up for the Jellybeans whist sitting in a draughty frame tent 25 years or so ago…
‘Red sky at night, tent packer upperers delight, Red sky at morning, tent packer upperers warning.’
The rain or was it mizzle? Descended later, the fine stuff that wets you through. That was it then, the weather was very changeable from then on. We battled through Storm Arwen, with the wind taking out an awning or two, buffering against the side of our van with extreme gusto. A power cut that lasted 16hrs, snow and Storm Barra. To say we experienced a wealth of knowledge about the site in such a short period of time is an understatement.
Despite having to work we did get some downtime to be able to enjoy being back on familiar ground. A trip over th’ills into Yorkshire saw an overnight stay catching up with friends that The Boss has known since school. Flinging the curtains open the following morning we were greeted with Christmas card views, snow had fallen overnight, making our roads back into Lancashire impassable. Heading back the slow, long way round all evidence of snow flakes left firmly in Yorkshire. Back to grey, damp Lancashire.
We ventured out to Blackpool, leaving a crisp, clear day at Burrs. Even though I saw the sea in Charmouth the other week I still craved chips on the beach. Just less than an hour away the closer we got to the coast the greyer the skies got. Parking was easy, we had pick of the car parks, it felt like there was only going to be us daft enough to be here. Chips on the beach looked like it was going to be difficult as the wind blew the rain horizontally. We’ve always visited Blackpool in the winter, I’m not sure we’ve ever taken the Jellybeans in the good weather. We’ve always preferred it when most things are shut and we have the place to ourselves. Nowt to do with The Boss not wanting to splash the cash on tat and teeth rotting sticks of rock. Just over £2 for a tray of chips and we dashed across to the seafront, arms guarding our chips from the rain and the beady eyed seagulls that can spot a chip a mile away.
Good old Wetherspoons provided refuge and warmth for an hour, 99p for unlimited refills of hot chocolate whilst listening to Slade and Michael Buble belt out the classics, what’s not to like? Even Spoons was quiet. We had reason to kill an hour, I’d realised that it was Illumination season. I’ve not seen the lights for years and I’m a sucker for pretty lights. Just after 5pm and someone, somewhere flicked a switch and section by section the Golden Mile was bathed in colour. Not quite how I remembered it as a child, the traffic flowed freely and the trams weren’t lit up. I remember almost standstill traffic, sticking our heads out of the sun roof gasping as the displays slowly changed. Today, the lights were pretty but the magic wasn’t there, groups of local lads mooching about weren’t quite reminiscent of the crowded pavements of years gone by. Maybe those days still happen, maybe children still stare in wonder, maybe I’ve just gotten old and cynical.
Back at work and the snow came down. Site looked so pretty as we frantically waved at the Santa Train as it chugged past through the winter wonderland whilst chucking shovel fulls of salt on paths and service points, still toughing it out in shorts. I did give in and pull my sweatshirt on though. The Christmas tree outside the office gave me my fix for pretty lights, coupled with the snow it was definitely a recipe for getting you in the mood for the coming festive event that stresses us all out and costs a fortune.
Waking up to this view one morning warmed the cockles of my heart despite the arctic temperatures outside.
We walked the country park, squelching through the mud trying to find ways to cycle off site avoiding the cobbles that would shake anyones giblets that attempted to ride over them.
We made a pilgrimage to the iconic Bury Market, Manchester Tart, black pudding infused cheese and other local delicacies found their way into my bag for life whilst enjoying a cup of vinegar splashed black peas. We sampled the takeaways, we tried the pubs. A new addition to the area since we were last here, The Jersey Girls Ice Cream Outdoor Parlour. Possibly the best ice cream The Boss has ever tasted, now that is saying something, just a hop, skip and a jump from site too. Foods I’d taken for granted for the first 40 years of my life are going to be part of my diet again next year, oh how I’ve missed the heart attack inducing diet of the Bolton/Bury area.
And that’s it, our stint at work done. Until March now our time’s our own. Hopefully we will manage a decent holiday over the winter, we haven’t had a holiday since the pandemic started and I’m starting to feel a little resentful, I spend all my summer trying to make sure everyone has a lovely, safe holiday. Fingers crossed we will get our holiday this winter because we really need it.