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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, March 27, 2009
    Contrition in concrete beneath the M56

    At the base of a concrete strut supporting the M56 across the River Weaver, five words painted large: CAROL I AM SO SORRY. We are on the Neil Sedaka trail through chemical estuary Cheshire. On the adjoining concrete leg, the words: CAROL I LOVE YOU. The author must have been confident that the lover he had wronged would visit that place and read those words of appeal.

    What sort of Carol would ever venture out through the industrial sheds by Frodsham Bridge (garden centre, transport cafe, switchgear units), beneath the railway viaduct, past the sailing club and through the nasty brambles by Flood Brook, to reach this desolate point, a tatty island between the river and the Weaver Navigation, all slurry and tyre tracks? Probably a Carol like us - Jim, Dave and me - drawn by the romance of being near water beneath a massive chemical plant, directed by the electric cables singing in the wind, running in all directions through giant pylons to converge at the massive substation beneath Weston Point. A Carol, perhaps, who might make this journey by night, when the vast chemical works, illuminated, must seem a Wonder of the World.

    We did four short walks today: the circuit between Sutton Causeway and the electricity substation beneath the rail and motorway arches described above; a crossing of the M56 by Weaver Lane from Ship Street to tour the toxic wastelands around The Lum (sealed soil sample pipes painted bright red, signs warning of 'soft soil': code for 'tread this land at your peril for it will scald your skin', magnificent views up to the dominant chemical works); after an excellent lunch in The Bear's Paw a wander up and down Frodsham's Main Street (wonderful Elizabethan and Georgian houses being elbowed out by rubbish cheap contemporary architecture, a lovely tin tabernacle); and finally the short walk from the car park to the War Memorial on Frodsham Hill, from where we gained some fantastic views across Cheshire, out to Wales, over Merseyside, Winter Hill, Lancashire and lands beyond. Could have sat there for hours, identifying landmarks (Runcorn Bridge, Cammel Lairds, Huyton tower blocks) but with black clouds closing in from Clwyd and Dave's legs starting to go dead from the toes upwards, we gave up and came home. Good walking, Frodsham.

    Forgot to take my camera on today's walk so I'm deeply grateful to those who got there before me.
    Frodsham viaduct: rawmusic's Flickr photostream
    A view from Frodsham Hill: Torl Porl's Flickr photostream