Presently I am sitting in ‘The Ferry Boat’ pub having just devoured a roast half chicken, the main item on their regular Wednesday Chicken Club Menu. It was quite delicious, washed down with a pint of lager, as it always is in all the Wetherspoon chain of pubs that I have visited since living on the waterways.
I’ve managed to find myself a quiet spot; well as quiet as is possible in a busy pub at the end of a working day. But the predominant sound of shrill female laughter in one of the booths opposite does not distract me as much as the noiseless flicker of a massive silent television screen would have done, had I not managed to sit at the table directly beneath it looking out in the same direction. However it’s a bit disconcerting each time I look up to find the rest of the room apparently staring at me, till I remember and realise that they too are distracted by Big Brother above me. But it’s a very handy spot since I have directly below me, conveniently placed, a power point should my ailing computer battery need it in a hurry.
I am always amazed that though the outside of every Wetherspoon’s is very individual, the interiors are all so similar. Even the clientele looks the same each time I enter; only the regional accents are different. There are always the lone sad looking drinkers (rather like me I suppose) and the large noisy families with small children. The geeeky looking one’s are there too, content only on what is going on on the inside of their computers (bit like me too as well) and there is always, always the round table by the entrance especially reserved for that distinctive group of single men of various doubtful ages with nothing else to do all day but sit silently staring at their half finished pint, only occasionally getting up to refill only their only, or to pop outside in the freezing weather with their roll-up already rolled and wedged behind their ear. The faces of these men are so familiar that I’m sure the same group follows me all over the country on my travels. ‘Tis uncanny.
We came up on the Anderton Lift during Saturday and moored later on in the afternoon at a wonderful mooring. It was on the site of the 2013 Dutton Breach and had a beautiful view across the Weaver Valley towards the Dutton Railway Viaduct.
Kingfisher on the Runcorn Arm
We could have stayed here for ages but left the following morning arriving at Preston Brook Junction and entering the Runcorn Arm on Sunday afternoon. This canal is wide, remarkably rural and clear of litter considering it is in the heavily urbanised part of Cheshire beside the Manchester Ship Canal. We turned at the end beneath the ornate iron Waterloo Bridge over nowhere and returned back up the canal to the Moorings outside the Runcorn Arts Centre.
The Ornate Waterloo Bridge in front of a brick wall
at the end of the Runcorn Arm
Unfortunately the end of the arm is disappointing as I’ve found the town of Runcorn to be very run down. It’s almost ghostlike in appearance with just Wetherspoon’s to cheer it up of course.