Towards the end of July, I spent the day with my friend Sue to celebrate her birthday. Usually we go out for lunch but this time we decided to go for a walk along the canal for a change. As we headed towards our starting point, I noticed this house and just loved how the owners had decorated the doorway.
Our walk started at Parbold and took us along the Leeds-Liverpool canal heading towards Appley Bridge. On the first stretch the canal is lined with houses and a few barges. As we approached the one in the photo, we could see faces in the window...
It's Rosie and Jim!
On the path opposite the barge were some of their little friends :)
More barges and the last of the houses. Some of the barges, like this one nearest the camera, were obviously being used for commercial purposes rather than being lived in.
It was to be a day of brilliant sunshine and showers. It started to rain almost as soon as we set off but it felt quite refreshing in the humid heat so we carried on. By this point in the walk though it was coming down harder so we sheltered under a bridge for a while.
When the rain eased, we carried on and saw this dead tree with its sun-bleached branches highlighted against the dark sky. Is it just me or does the one on the left look like a deer's head?
Pretty wild flowers lined the canal banks. The yellow flower is ragwort but I'm not sure about the white one or this other green umbrella-shaped plant. The pink one is definitely a foxglove though.
While I was taking photos of the flowers, Sue rested on this bench - it's like walking with a combination of David Bellamy and David Bailey, she said! Luckily the magic of the bench meant it came with a smile :)
The cows, however, were unimpressed with my photographic skills.
One thing I like about canals is the reflections you get in the still water.
At times it was difficult to see where the vegetation ended and the water began.
Further along we came across some burdock, though I know it better as sticky bobs. As children we had great fun throwing the bobs at each other trying to make them stick on our clothes.
And I also spotted this lovely blue-flowered Green Alkanet. Surely that should be Blue Alkanet - who thinks up these names??!!
Well, we never did make it all the way to Appley Bridge. We were late setting off anyway and had to get back to pick up Sue's little boy from football camp. It was such a good walk though and we chatted and chatted and laughed and laughed.
This is where we started and finished our walk. The headless windmill is an art gallery. Near the bridge is a cafe which I'd not seen before, selling the most gorgeous ice cream. How could we resist? I had a scoop of sticky toffee pudding and a scoop of blackcurrant and liquorice. Both were divine and tasted just like they should from the description.
Later I sat with Sue on a bench in her garden in the sunshine, a cup of tea in hand, looking out over their vegetable patch, watching her husband and son harvesting potatoes. It was one of those perfect moments of pure contentment that you wish could last forever and I still get a glow thinking about it. Here's hoping we're all blessed with one of those moments this week too :)