Monday, July 12, 2010

371.2 kms: Chester-Stoak-Boat Museum, Ellesmere Port-Eastham Village-Bromborough-(by bus) Liverpool

What is not to love about canals? Canal boats are beautiful and invoke the imagination into romantic daydreams of a different type of life. Canal paths are flat: no need to explain the benefits of that. After a chatty breakfast (rarity for anti-social me), I headed out on the canal headed north. It was drizzly and grey—but that in fact only seemed to make the canal even more romantic. I must be in a good mood: I'm making rain romantic. What are you saying, rain is romantic!

Stopped for soup and coffee in Stoat, and coffee and Vimto at the Boat Museum in Port Ellesmere. I never know what to have when I stop. It's just an excuse to stop. An excuse to stop that involves buying something you don't really want just for the right to be able to use the bathroom ultimately.

People are funny. I know we all know that, but it bares mentioning again every now and then. I was asking people to direct me around the weird off and on ramps in Port Ellesmere that stood between myself and the way I wanted to go. My plan was to walk as far as I could towards the Ferry ('cross the Mersey) until five pm, and then catch the bus. It was, I suspected, eight or nine miles to the ferry and I had already done eight and a half for the day so was feeling quite confident. But everyone I asked told me that I couldn't possibly walk that far—inconceivable! Lordy, how have I managed to walk two hundred and fifty miles if it is impossible to do nine!

Turned out that I didn't walk all the way to the ferry. Turned out that I didn't actually catch the ferry. I had seen a bus route on a pole I passed that mentioned a five-o-five bus to the Ferry terminal. Close to five I started to try and find a bus stop which showed the same route. No luck. It must turn off somewhere I had already passed. I asked the next bus driver who was showing my destination, he told me that he went the long way and that I should catch the four-o-one. I asked someone where I was while I waited for the bus. As he showed me the bus launched past at three hundred kilometers an hour. No way it was stopping. Felt guilty because the guy I had distracted was waiting for the same bus. The next four-o-one arrived late but the driver told me to take the forty-one as it went closer to the terminal. A hundred number one buses had gone past. They went to Liverpool via the tunnel. At the risk of being told to get a different bus and with the last ferry leaving very soon, I gave in and jumped on a one. I was seated next to the window: double glazed. It had three or four inches of water between the two panes. As we dipped down in the tunnel under the Mersey the water would dip with us. I figured that the water was rain that was precipitated from the Mersey and so water beside me was as good a ferry ride 'cross the Mersey as I needed. The bus dropped me in the middle of town—which was just about when I realised that a bit of research is better for accommodartioin in a city, rather than the drop-in approach I use in villages. Oops. I had no map, no idea of where accommodation would be. I eventually found a labelled hotel (Premier Inn). It is Graduation Week though and lots of the hotels are booked out. They were full but they kindly found me a room on Albert Dock, at the Jury's Inn. It was dearish but less than I thought it would be. I was so footsore though that I actually caught a taxi—bit silly because I got up later and walked a million miles to find dinner two hundred yards from the hotel. My feet were so sore I couldn't even get out of bed to get drugs to deaden the pain. I lay in my fancy bed and watched the Liverpool Eye go round until I fell into a heavenly slumber.


Good night to Liverpool, good night to you.


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