“Where can we go to show my parents some local culture?” asked Sue’s Italian teacher.
“I don’t know”, replied Sue, “I shall have to seek advice from my ‘Culture Secretary’”.
And so it was that I found myself ambling along the Bridgewater Canal on a wet Easter Monday in search of ‘culture’, as recommended by Sue’s unlikely choice of personnel, her ‘Culture Secretary’.
Passing through Broadheath, I noticed with sadness that ‘Malbo Joe’ hadn’t quite made it to the party in Timperley.
“Is the party in Timperley still raving on?” asked the lady with the dog on a boat. “No, you need to turn around” I replied “a ‘Culture Secretary’ says it has moved to ‘The Swan’.”
By and by I reached the Swan, just late enough for Sue (who chose a more sensible mode of transport) to have done the honours at the bar, in the company of a jolly band of Thelwall Morris Dancers. Sadly, neither Sue’s Italian teacher and her family nor Sue’s ‘Culture Secretary’ had been able to make it, so the audience for the Morris Men was, shall we say, ‘limited’.
“We blame you for making us do this” spluttered the drenched dancers after Sue had told them she had come specially to see them. Despite encouragement from the jolly chap at the top of this posting, the diners in the pub couldn’t be persuaded away from their beef dripping and chips.
JJ had put on an ingenious face mask and stilts today, but there was no doubting that this was he, scouting for Italian tourists whilst modeling his new TGO Challenge hat.
The dancing continued. The dancers got soggier.
There were glum looks from below the masks as beer glasses were slowly diluted by the persistent rain.
Sue took a video that will no doubt zoom up YouTube’s chart lists. Or not.
After the third dance the men cleverly diverted their efforts to the bar, where in the absence of
JJ her ‘Culture Secretary’ Sue thanked them for their efforts.
It was still raining, the Swan’s picnic tables were deserted.
Whilst Sue zoomed off on ‘Essential Business’ I tottered back down the slithery towpath, where at least the Forget-me-nots were enjoying the rain.
There was hardly anyone else about on this normally very popular stretch of towpath, just three very muddy ‘mountain’ (sic) bikers and a puzzled looking drenched family that looked as if it has been deposited by an alien spaceship.
I’ve not yet seen any swallows or martins, and it’ll be weeks before the swifts return to share our home for a while, but the mallards have been busy…
“Hello” quacked mum “I’ve heard there’s a party at Malbo Joe’s – is it far away?”
“Not far at all” I whistled, casting my eye a few metres down the canal in the direction of Broadheath.
Nice weather for ducks!