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Long ago I lived in the village of Bosley on the edge of the Cheshire/Staffordshire border. To its east is the Peak District National Park and to its west, The Cloud – the village sits in a spectacular setting.  Bosley once boasted a quaint petrol station at the Buxton crossroads, an Italian restaurant, a village shop and post office, but no more. What remains is a church, two pubs, a farm, scattered housing and a reservoir below the nearby hills which feeds the Macclesfield canal. Despite all this you could still speed down the A523, which slices its heart, blink and miss it.

The Macclesfield canal connects the Trent & Mersey at Kidsgrove with the Peak Forest Canal at Marple.  It is at Bosley that the canal crosses the river Dane by Telford’s magnificent single arch aqueduct and then begins the 118 feet, 12 lock ascent to the Macclesfield level.  The mooring on the approach to the bottom lock, high on the embankment above the river and in the shadow of The Cloud is one of the finest on the entire system.  Despite having to cruise through a monsoon, I was determined to moor there overnight – our reward was waking to the most glorious morning we could have wished for – Spring had arrived.

Bosley Bosley Bosley Bosley Bosley

Later that morning we walked down to the river Dane from the Old Driving Lane Bridge No. 57, crossed the fields to Bosley Mill and then climbed up to the church, emerging onto the A523 opposite the Queens Arms.  Three houses along from the pub is where I used to live – far too convenient.  A lady was tending the garden of my old home so I introduced myself. Within a few minutes we were kindly granted a tour of the cottage – being back in those rooms again (much improved) 32 years after I last closed the front door was a strange experience.  As a child Mrs K attended the junior school next door and has now lived in the cottage for 29 years.  Nevertheless, part of me is still there.  “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now”.

(this is how the cottage looked during the addition of a garage – the tractor driver is my eldest son, now somewhat older).

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change II

This second post on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Change is self-indulgent.  Everything passes, everything changes but nothing more so than ourselves.  The challenge is to identify the clowns against their grown-up versions.  This might not go down well with those concerned – at least one of my elder sons took exception to an earlier post so probably will not appreciate this either.  Never trust parents with a camera:

Sons of....Sons of....

The kindness of strangers

“Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”  – Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire.  Blanche Dubois has been committed to a mental institution and utters this signature line to the kindly doctor who leads her away.

It is the kindness of strangers that is the most uplifting and purest form of altruism.  It is this that allows us to take solace from tragic events, stories of the unconditional kindness of strangers that emerged from the victims of 9/11 and 7/7 counteracts our despair.  There is also the nagging doubt, would we, in the same circumstance, find similar courage.

On a more mundane level, it is one of the joys of travelling the Western Highland single track roads, the opportunity to interact with a complete unknown who has taken the opportunity give way, to ease into the passing place, to give you priority, to make your passage, however briefly, that much easier.  You wave your appreciation and most will acknowledge with a wave in return – we proceed, uplifted.

And then there are those who give of their time and energy without even realising.  I feel I owe these two girls a debt of gratitude.  They are street performers on Las Rambla, Barcelona and I have used their image on a whole variety of occasions, even on business cards.  Whoever you are and wherever you are now, thanks for your uplifting bizarre performance.

The lyrics are courtesy of Robert Allen Zimmerman and the observant will appreciate that the words don’t match the song title – poetic licence.  Mr Z, an unlisted passion since I was 12 – from the timeless joys of Blonde on Blonde through to Not Dark Yet and beyond.

And then there are those strangers who ‘like’ my blog or even take time to post kind comments – thanks to you as well.  I proceed, uplifted.