Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here reporting on a sunny afternoon local bimble. I love that word, bimble, bimble, bimble! Sorry, I’ll start again. We went for a short drive to Weaverham, Cheshire. There aren’t any hills in the area but, there is some pretty countryside and a couple of nice villages to investigate. It was a gloriously hot May afternoon and the wind, that battered us two days ago, had subsided. I am desperately in need of a short back and sides. I look like a woolly mammoth, well, a much smaller one but, you know what I mean. Fortunately, I will be paying a visit to the groomers soon when the Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed because I am too hot in the sunny weather. I was hoping that my human would be taking me for a dip somewhere. We shall see!
We arrived in Weaverham and decided to park at the side of the Hanging Gate pub. This pub was famous in the area at one time for not having a bar! It did have a serving hatch and my dad said that it had a bar-billiards table, whatever that may be. It also has a gate hanging from the wall outside inscribed with the following words: ‘This gate hangs well and hinders none, refresh and pay and travel on’. Sadly, for my dad, the pub was shut because of the virus thingamybob so, we crossed over the road and headed into the village.
Can you believe it? The song of the day was ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’. My dad needs to have a word with himself. It was sunny, warm and the month of May! It’s OK for you lot reading this, I have to put up with this sort of thing. Ah well, I just had to block it out of my mind and plod on.
Weaverham dates from the 7th century and is recorded in the Doomsday Book as being ‘one of the most important villages in Cheshire’. The village was originally dedicated to arable farming and apple orchards due to the fertile soil north of the River Weaver. Nowadays, it is predominately a residential area. The Conservation Area in the centre of village contains several old Listed Buildings. The first one that we came to was the Wheatsheaf pub which, my dad said, used to have a sloping bar that meant your pint had to be levelled up with a beer mat to stop it from sliding onto the floor. Sadly, as at the Hanging Gate, he couldn’t check this out first hand.
At this point my human was dragging me back and forth across the road so that he could take photographs. The thatched cottages seemed to be attracting his attention. It was fortunate that I was keeping an eye open for traffic. I can’t see why he likes old buildings with grass roofs so much. What is wrong with breeze block walls and tiled roofs anyway. Ah well, he was happy that he had photographs of Poplar Cottage and numbers 3 and 5 High Street. As he turned to walk toward St. Mary’s Church, I decided that it was time for a pee on the grass by the Wheatsheaf. My dad said that I am uncouth because all I want to do is wee on stuff. Each to their own, I say!
We passed a small cobbled lane, Woodward Street, that led to a few houses tucked away along Church Lane which he also seemed to like. Opposite was another pretty thatched cottage, Raintub Cottage. On the bend of the road stood the Anglican church of St. Mary’s. The red sandstone and Welsh slate Grade I listed building has parts dating to the 15th century. There has been a church on this site since Saxon times. As usual, we had to stop for a photo shoot but, we didn’t linger long because my human had spotted an information board on the roadside. He insists on reading every board that we come across. Now, if they indicated where the muddy puddles, squirrels and peeing posts were, then I would be interested too.
He spotted that there are some walks waymarked in local woods nearby called the Petal Walks. He decided that we should walk one of them, the one in Owley Wood. The ‘semi-natural’ woodland area is on the banks of the River Weaver so, I might get the opportunity to take a cooling dip in the water. Sure enough, the woods provided some shade while the sandy paths dropped down to the banks of the river. A long stretch of the walk is along a boardwalk that takes you through the ash, oak and sycamore trees with the odd birch and sweet chestnut. The banks of the river are lined with reeds with the odd spring leading to the river. I managed to find a shallow area that I could paddle in, still attached to my lead in case I swam out too far. I think that my dad needs to have a bit of trust in me and let me have a good swim around. He is like an old mother hen at times. I managed to get my dip in the water so, I can’t complain.
We left the woodland by walking through Bottom Pitch Meadow which was created for the recreational use of the residents of Owley Wood Housing Estate that was built for ICI workers at the nearby chemical works. This led us to the Northwich Road which we walked along, on the pavement, toward Hartford. After we passed Gibbet Hill and the Grange Primary School we turned right to the village.
Chester Road was crossed from Bradburn’s Lane and we headed along School Lane. Hartford was also mentioned in the Doomsday Book. It was the site of a battle between the Royalists and Parliamentarians in 1644 during the English Civil War. St. John the Baptist Church is enclosed by a triangle of roads in the centre of the village and was built in 1875. My dad wanted to walk along School Lane while he reminisced about his times there in his youth so, we walked along the pavement as we passed School Lane School, Whitehall and on to Hartford Hall Hotel. The school has been an Art School, a primary school and a day nursery. Whitehall was once a privately owned villa but, is now an office suite. Hartford Hall pub and hotel was once a nunnery and is now said to be haunted. You humans will believe any old rubbish! He took his photographs, as usual before we turned around to head back through the village.
The temperature was continuing to rise as there was zero cloud protection so, it was time for a short break. My human gave me some water and a few treats while he ate a banana and a couple of clemantines. As usual, I ate my treats and proceeded to drool while I watched him scoff his treats. He said that I wouldn’t like either of them but, I still gave him the sad eyes. He gave me a piece of banana. I spat it out instantly so, he gave me a segment of the citrus thingy. OMG, it was worse than the banana. What is wrong with you humans? Why can’t you have meaty treats or even biscuits. Yuk!
On our way back we passed by the church on the opposite side where we saw the lyche gate and the War Memorial. We crossed the main road to head back along Bradburn’s Lane, passing the Grange School, before walking back to the car along Northwich Road. By the time that we arrived at the car the temperature had risen to the low 20’s but, there was no wind or cloud cover. It was a relief to get back to air conditioning because my big woolly winter coat was ready for removal. I was booked in for a groom in the next couple of days so, hopefully, if this warm weather continues, I will be a lot cooler. My dad does keep giving me water and walks me in the shade as much as possible and we stay away from hot pavements so I can’t complain. Anyway, as soon as we arrived home I jumped into my paddling pool. Wow, that was good! Till next time!