Friday 11 August

Before leaving Swillbrook both boats filled with water and Storm set off ahead of us on foot.

Our destination today was the village of Bilsborrow.  A chap on the towpath had sung its praises when he told me about a ‘thatched village’ up ahead with a lovely pub  called ‘Owd Nell’s’.  It sounded idyllic.

As we approached the village Storm rang me as he’d reached there before us.  He suggested we try to moor before Bridge 44 where it was quieter.  I tried to warn Pip and Mick but their phones both went to answerphone so they witnessed ‘the surprise’ before me.

I moored before the bridge and I could tell from Storm’s face that something was amiss.

It soon became apparent that the ‘thatched village’ was ‘faux’, with walls that had been stressed to look old and the olde worlde shops were nothing more than the back door to the pub’s kitchen.  The whole place was a mini theme park with loud music, an inflatable park beyond for the kids; and not for us.

We set off on foot to look at the other side of the canal.  We walked up the hill to the Church of St Hilda, which had been built in 1926/7 following the tragic death of a wealthy spinster who had left instructions that the monies arising from the residue of her estate should be spent on providing a church for the local residents.

The one thing the villagers obviously cared about was flowers – they were everywhere and were all very well tended, particularly at the church.

The village has three pubs and even though one was closed for refurbishment, the other two didn’t beckon us on.   However, we spotted some chilled medication and this did tempt us.

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