Day 83: Luddenden Foot to Longridge

‘Everybody’s called John at some point in their lives” – Towneley arms, Longridge.

By the law of averages alone, there ought to be at least one nice dry and sunny day in England. Just the odd one to balance out these rainy showers and moody clouds. A peek outside at the steep hills of Luddenden Foot suggests my number’s come up. Over porridge, Kirsty tells me about the histories and landscapes of this area where she’s lived for some twenty years after being priced out of her native Harrogate. There’s much here to explore in these former mill villages on the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire, in an area called Calderdale after the river that flows through it, and so together we venture out in her, off to explore.

At the ‘Foot’ is the Rochdale canal, where once two large mill buildings were situated. One made the velvet covers of bus seats and the like until it was recently demolished. The hills are airy, light, gentle, but at their time of operation this was a ‘dark and gloomy’ landscape. Such pretty properties like these were cheap for a reason, marked in soot, housing families of workers whose vision and hearing were progressively ground away by the nature of textile work.

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Days 76-78: Manchester

‘I was in a world of my own.’ – young man outside Tesco, Piccadilly Gardens.

The morning light slithers under the curtains and into my eyelids, rousing me from a good night’s rest on the most comfortable of beds. I’m being hosted by Jacqui in Trafford in the south of Manchester. We drink coffee and make plans for the day.

The previous night we’d plotted some places to explore together, Jacqui having the day of work and looking forward to venturing across a city she’s still not entirely familiar with. After stopping by her workplace, Siemens, a lego-brick creation on Princess Avenue, we jump on Manchester’s tram system and head towards Salford Quays.

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