Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Road to Wigan, Here

Here's a Wigan joke:

"What time is it when there's a pie on Wigan Town Hall clock?"

"Summat to eight."

(Translation for Foreign People - by whom I mean anyone who doesn't live Up North and particularly in Wigan - "summat" is something. "Eat" can be pronounced "eight" in a Wigan accent.)

Okay, perhaps the joke lost something in translation.

Anyway, today I was working in Wigan, which I remember chiefly for two things: firstly, George Orwell's book The Road to Wigan Pier which is a fascinating account of working-class life in Northern England in the 1930s. Also, going through Wigan, the Leeds to Liverpool Canal has lots of locks: twenty-one in fact and you can see some photos here.

Stephen and I once spent a slightly damp day going through every single lock in a narrowboat and I have to say I loved every moment. My mother and Olli were with us but Olli probably doesn't remember it too well as he was only thirteen months old, though he did seem to love it at the time.

The obvious way to get to Wigan from Leeds is along the M62 motorway and then up the M6. The very thought filled me with horror, since on previous recent trips along the M62 it has had vast, long sections of nose-to-tail traffic.

So I decided to go a longer way, in a semi-circle nearer to the Arctic Circle (okay, not a lot nearer, since you ask, but a BIT nearer) - - the A65 through Otley and Ilkley, and then to Colne in Lancashire, and then the M65, and then South down the M6.

I got up at half past four. I rather enjoy the challenge of such mad things. It was pitch dark and just above freezing when I left the house an hour or so later. As I drove up into the Yorkshire Dales it remained dark but with a faint light in the sky - - and then, as I crossed the border into deepest Lancashire, the sun was coming up and there was a beautiful dawn over glorious reds and browns of remaining autumn leaves.

I don't think anyone knows about the M65. I've been on it twice and there is hardly any traffic on it. I am telling you about it in strict confidence. Don't tell anyone, please.

On to the M6, which was much busier but nevertheless kept moving. After a nifty little manouevre up one way, across at a junction and down the other way - the only way to leave the M6 for Wigan - there I was, at the doctors' surgery where I was working, before eight in the morning and the first to arrive.

It was a really interesting morning's work with great people.

Back along the M62 as I knew that would be faster at that time of day, and I wanted to get back to work in Leeds. It was fine - - but I actually really enjoyed the other route, and will use it again next time I am heading to the North-West, which is probably going to be in the middle of January when I'm working in Blackpool and Lytham St Anne's. I just hope there's no snow.

And on Friday afternoon this week I'm heading in entirely the opposite direction. Due East, to Hull.


Blogger Jennytc said...

You know what they say, Daphne - 'From hell, Hull and Halifax may the good Lord deliver us.' (Don't tell Yorkshire Pudding that I insulted his home town.) ;)

9:54 pm  
Anonymous Deano... said...

may i suggest if ever you are heading up to the north east or further, via the A1, that you follow a similar path, heading towards harrogate, over blubber houses, through killinghall and out towards ripon to join the A1?
The scenery is stunning, its a great drive and a good way to avoid the motorway boredom.
if you drive past the A1 sliproad it will bring you out in the wonderful villages in and around scarborough.

1:01 am  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Lucky you! Some time in Hull. Yorkshire's true cultural capital. For personal safety reasons, may I suggest you don't tell any Hullensians that you're from Leeds and try to disguise your thick Leeds accent. Also avoid adopting a Wrexham accent for that would give the impression of inbreeding.

1:50 am  
Blogger Jennytc said...

Very funny, YP. Remember - we know where you live! ;)

10:58 am  

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