I first thought I would write a long list of things I miss about the part of the United Kingdom where I was born and brought up. The side of England that seems to catch the weather, which sweeps across the country from the North Atlantic. If truth be told most of the west side of England seems to catch the brunt of the weather that rolls in from the Atlantic, but the North West seems to have a reputation for being the dampest.
Lancashire, the red rose county, nestles itself safely in the back curve of England, just above the great cities of Liverpool and Manchester. Both cities once belonged to the venerable halls of my home county, until many years ago they became authorities in their own right. Perhaps it was thought unfair for one area of the county to contain so many great things all at once. Therefore Liverpool and Manchester were reassigned.
Lancashire proudly enjoys a panoramic view of the north of England, left to the mountains of North Wales, sweeping round and out to the unseen shores of Ireland, then right to the hills of Cumbria and behind to gaze into the Dales of Yorkshire.
So yes I did think I would write a list of things I miss about Lancashire. Then I realised I did not ‘miss’ the place I was born; I held it fondly in my thoughts. Missing is far too negative a word. This is the place of my childhood. This place made me who I am and is woven into the very fabric of the person I have become. It is not missing from my life, because I have carried it with me, as I have moved on to places new. I cherish it and relish the opportunity to think about my times there and when I can – I go back for a visit. As some might say, you can take the girl out of Lancashire, but you cannot take ‘The Lancashire’ out of the girl.
Well then what do I like about Lancashire?
I love the wild moors of Anglezarke, Bleasdale and Beatrix; the flat wide slope of Pendle Hill and the chatting River Hodder on the walk to Whitewell. I love the village green at Dunsop Bridge on a sunny day, when the ducks come running as you sit down. There are an awful lot of ducks!
I love wandering around Clitheroe and finding my way to The Emporium for a coffee or three and strolling along the River Ribble from Eddiford Bridge, where I spend many hot summers as a child playing in the water .
I love going to Southport (I know not strictly Lancashire, but it used to be!) and standing on the beach, hoping today the tide will make an appearance. I have only seen it come in once. I love running down the sand dunes on Ainsdale Beach, where one Christmas Day we took a windy, fresh walk to life the heavy weigh of too much food. I love watching the red squirrels at Formby Point and then slipping round the corner to stand with the men on the beach all one hundred of them, looking out to sea remembering those who left on adventures to different lands and those taken on adventures against their will.
I liked the fact that when I lived in Lancashire, I could reach Ambleside, Cumbria in less than an hour. Rich fruit cake with a slice of Wensleydale cheese ,would be waiting at Lucy’s on a Plate. If I were feeling adventurous, I could head north to Keswick, and then Borrowdale, Buttermere and Crummock. All achieveable in a day!
I love the fact that in my home town Easter Eggs are rolled down the hill in Avenham Park. I love the quizzical look of friends, who are not from Preston and have no idea that that is what you do with your Easter egg on Easter Monday.
In conclusion I will confess that there is one aspect of Lancashire that I have not been able, sadly, to carry with me. Despite where I have travelled, nothing has matched its wonderousness and that would be… Booths Supermarket. Edwin Henry Booth opened his first shop in 1847 in Blackpool and now Booths can be found dotted around the north west of England, but mostly in Lancashire and I miss it!
More on my love for Booths next week and the second part of what I love about Lancashire.