As I left Bewdley I decided to make another major deviation by abandoning the Severn Valley Way and taking instead the canal straight into Wolverhampton. I was particularly keen to see the canal-related relics of the Industrial Revolution and was looking forward to a bit of squalor and urban decay.
The canal to Worcester was a delight with plenty of narrow boat traffic and the odd rambler.
For a while I walked in step with Ian and Sue who’d had their narrow boat for 18 years and spend most of the year on it, though they had a ‘real’ home elsewhere.
Later I fell into step with a vigorous looking walker named Alan, a former male nurse just several months older than me. As we shared views on life in general and particularly for men of our difficult age he mentioned he didn’t have to worry about it for too much longer because of his terminal medical condition.
I followed the canal right through Wolverhampton (with a brief deviation along a former railway) and out the other side without seeing anything other than a peaceful rural canal, punctuated with lovely canal-side pubs and the occasional locks, but not a sign of the Industrial age and barely a sign of Wolverhampton itself apart from the odd well-kept suburb. I wonder all that industry went.
I was met the just north of Wolverhampton at our Motorway junction rendezvous by Gerald, married to the lovely Megan who I’d known as a child growing up in Papua New Guinea, otherwise Australian but now living a life of domesticity in fair Coventry. Even though it was only Thursday Megan had cooked a Sunday roast in my honour (I presume). I don’t think Gerald was so impressed because I’m sure he only gets Sunday roasts on Sunday (if he’s lucky).